Watervliet Press Box by John Oliphant
It came down to the wire on Monday night, but the Lady Panthers played their best in the closing seconds to beat Berrien Springs 38-36. The entire fourth quarter was close, with the Panthers leading by just a few points throughout. The key series of the game began when Victoria Smith took a pass and got trapped by the Shamrock defense at the half-court line with 34 seconds remaining and the Panthers clinging to a 36-35 lead. Coach Ken Dietz quickly called his last timeout to prevent a turnover.
During the timeout Coach Dietz drew up what would become the game winning basket. On the ensuing inbounds play Emma Yazel lofted the ball to Smith who was running towards the basket, her defender in pursuit. Smith caught the pass, dribbled once and made the layup off the glass, putting the Panthers up by three with 30 seconds to play. The Shamrocks would manage one more point in the game as the Panther defense played their best and prevented any good looks at the basket as the clock expired.
Neither team was able to get a comfortable lead, as the evenly-matched teams tried to work their offenses against hard-working defenses. The first quarter saw five different Panthers score, and ended with the Panthers on top 9-4. That would be the biggest lead of the night for either team.
Elaine Koshar dominated under the basket in the first half, collecting 10 rebounds and scoring 8 points. The Shamrocks used their outside shooting to pull within one point at halftime, and the Panthers led 17-16 thanks to their 23-8 rebounding advantage.
Both teams cleaned up their turnovers in the second half, but the Panthers were able to get the Shamrocks in foul trouble, the bonus creating nine trips to the line. Their free throw shooting was just 13 for 23 in the game, but it was enough considering the Shamrocks were 4 for 11.
Outstanding defense was played for most of the night to keep the game close. Coach Dietz said Smith drew the assignment against the top Shamrock player and was superb, holding her to just two points. He also said Celina Klimkiewicz did a great job of distributing the basketball on the offensive end. She was pretty good on the defense too, leading the team with two blocked shots.
Elaine Koshar led the scoring for the Panthers, finishing with 17 points. Point guard Klimkiewicz scored 11, including a big three-pointer in the 4th quarter. Smith finished with 5 points, Ally Pazera with 3 points, and Emma Yazel scored 2 points. Koshar ended the game with 13 rebounds, seven of those on the offensive side. Smith had 13 rebounds including four in offense in the second half. Pazera also collected six rebounds. The Panthers dominated under the basket, winning the rebound battle 41-20.
The 1-0 Lady Panthers travel to Fennville on Friday night for their first conference matchup.
Panther Boys Basketball falls to Schoolcraft
The Panther boys’ basketball team travelled to Schoolcraft on Friday, November 30. With just eight players dressed for the game, the depleted Panthers fell to a strong Schoolcraft Eagles team, 67-30.
Andrew Chisek led the team, scoring 13, including two three-pointers. Dylan Lawson scored 7, Kade Van Niel added 5, Kenneth Russell scored 3, and Kris Lenox scored 2. The Panthers fall to 0-2.
The boys play their next game Friday night at Fennville.
Season opener for Panther Boys Basketball
The Panther boys opened their season on the road in snowy Berrien Springs on Tuesday, November 27. The final outcome wasn’t what Coach Josh Beckmann had in mind, as the Panthers fell to the Shamrocks 84-46.
WHS Student Council Food Drive for the Holidays
The Watervliet High School Student Council is sponsoring a food drive to stock a local food pantry for the holidays!
On Thursday, Dec. 13 residents are encouraged to bring five canned or non-perishable food items to the JV basketball games and get in free. Junior Varsity Girls and Boys Basketball games against Gobles are held in the high school gym at 5:30 and 7:00 p.m.
Items being suggested include canned goods, boxed cake mixes and baking items, cereal, granola bars, etc
Hartford Prress Box By Jerrod Birmele
For Hartford student-athletes, competition in winter sports began this past weekend, with the Competitive Cheerleading team competing in their first meet of the season. And while games for boys’ basketball begin this week, we will continue taking an in-depth look at the Indian teams that will be competing on the courts and mats this year and give you an idea on how our teams will be shaping up.
HAIR-RAISING ROUTINE… The Coloma varsity competitive cheer team took to the mat Saturday, December 1 at the Lawton Cheer Blackout and performed a hair-raising leap in the second round of competition. The Comets finished third out of nine varsity squads. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)
So, this week, readers will be treated to a double dose of excitement. In addition to finding out how our competitive cheerleading team did last Saturday, they will also get their first look at the girls’ basketball team for 2018-2019.
Hartford Girls Basketball tips off with high expectations
Over the past couple of weeks, the Hartford Girls Basketball team has been practicing hard for the season that lies ahead. Last season was a very successful year for the ladies wearing the green and white. The Lady Indians are coming off of a 2017-2018 season that saw them finish at 18-4 overall and 16-2 in Southwest 10 Conference play, which resulted in a second place finish in the league standings behind conference champion, Centreville. The team also won their district semifinal game in a thriller against Cassopolis, 39-37. That win advanced Hartford to the district final, where they would ultimately fall to Niles Brandywine, a team that advanced all the way to the regional final. Despite having such a successful year last winter, this season might pose a little more of a challenge for second year Head Coach Kailee Friday. The Lady Indians lost four very key members of their team to graduation, including three players that were penciled in the starting five almost every game: Jessica Cortes, AJ Jackson and Angela Saldana, while Cora Wesaw came in off the bench with key minutes and timely shots.
However, all is not lost for Hartford, as the team will be relying on three key returning players to be leaders on the court this season. The list is headed by senior Mikenzie Chambers, who will be essential down low to score at the rim and rebound in the trenches. Coach Friday added by saying, “Chambers is going to be key for us this year.” Also returning to the team will be junior Megan Nelson and sophomore Nautica Covington, both players that will be tasked with getting the ball up the court from their guard positions.
The second team under Coach Friday’s watch will be very young however, as this year’s roster will feature five freshmen when the season starts. The fact that the team is so young might deter some coaches from being overly optimistic, but Coach Friday is feeling the exact opposite. While being cautious and keeping a lid on expectations, Coach Friday still says, “We will be a young team this year, with having five freshmen on our team. But, I do not see why we still could not compete for a conference or district title.” When asked about who might stand in the way of winning the conference title, Coach Friday did not hesitate to mention Centreville. The Bulldogs swept the season series last year, but this time around, the Lady Indians will look to return the favor.
The girls’ basketball team is set to tip-off their 2018-2019 campaign with a pair of conference tilts the week of December 10. On Tuesday, Dec. 11, they will travel to Mendon to take on the Hornets and on Friday, Dec. 14, they will begin their home slate by welcoming the Marcellus Wildcats to Indian Gymnasium. Good luck to the Hartford Girls Basketball team this season!
Hartford Competitive Cheerleading cheers to eighth place finish
The Hartford Competitive Cheerleading team took to the mats for the first time this season on Saturday, Dec. 1, when they traveled to Lawton to take part in the Blue Devil Blackout Cheerleading Invitational. The team came into 2018-2019 fresh off a record-setting season last year, in which they finished fourth place in the bigger Southwest Michigan Competitive Cheer Conference (SMCCC), finished third place at districts and made an appearance in the regional competition. This year, however, could be a challenge for the ladies after losing five seniors and enduring a change in the coaching staff. This first meet would challenge the new-look team and be the first building block to rebuilding the program.
PRIDE PUNCH… The Hartford Indian varsity competitive cheer team participated in the Lawton Black Out competition Saturday morning. Teammates pictured (from the left) included Destiny Chacon, Alora Gatties, and Elana Bailey perfecting a powerful punch during their Round 2 performance. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)
Hartford would end up placing eighth out of nine teams on this Saturday morning. The ladies finished with a total score of 397.58. Breaking down each of the three rounds individually, the team scored 138.40 points in round one, but incurred an 8-point deduction to finish with a revised score of 130.40 points. Round two saw the team score just 97.68 points, but a huge deduction of 32 points led to a revised score of 65.68 points, giving them a total of 196.08 points through round two. The third and final round saw the Indians clean it up a bit, with the team scoring 209.50 points. After incurring an 8-point deduction, they finished round three with a total of 201.50 points, bringing us to their grand total of 397.58 points for the meet.
The meet was won by the host Blue Devils, who finished with a total of 647.18 points. The rest of the finishing order was led by Kalamazoo Central in 2nd place, followed by Parchment, Saint Joseph Lake Michigan Catholic, South Haven, Coloma, Dowagiac, Hartford and Schoolcraft. The ladies will have a couple of weeks in between meets to freshen up their routine, as they will not return to the mats until Wednesday, Dec. 19, when they travel to Lawrence to compete in the 10-team Tiger Rumble Invitational.
Coloma Press Box By Dave Vollrath
Coloma boys fall in basketball home opener against Portage Northern
The Comet Boys Basketball team came up a little short in their home opener against the Portage Northern Huskies and lost by a score of 71-66. The Comets who lost nine seniors from last year’s team that went 18-3 on the season, opened at home Tuesday, Nov. 27 against a much larger school in Portage Northern. PN High School according to recent stats has over 1,000 students more than there is at CHS, but the Comet squad gave the Huskies all they wanted and then some, as they had to come from behind in the last two minutes after a really hot start, to defeat the Comets.
Northern jumped out to an early 10-1 lead after 2:30 of the first quarter, but thanks to Zach Goodline leading the offense, the Comets actually pulled to within two points, but a late Northern three, put the Huskies on top by five at the end of the first quarter.
OH! Coloma boys’ varsity basketball season kicked off November 28 as the Comets welcomed Portage Northern to the court. Here, Kenny Crowder goes up for a layup in the second period. Although a three-pointer by Drew Goodline put the Comets in the lead at the half, Coloma dropped the contest 71-66. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)
The Comet squad took their first lead of the game at the 5:20 mark in the second quarter on a deep three by Z. Goodline, which brought the crowd to its feet. The game stayed close the balance of the half, with Drew Goodline hitting a 3-pointer just before the buzzer sending the teams to the locker rooms, with the Comets leading 36-35. Drew the younger brother of Zach, is a sophomore playing in his first varsity game, and first with his brother.
The Huskies tried slowing the Comets down by coming out in a zone to start the second half, but Zach Goodline shot them out of that strategy by hitting a couple of early 3-pointers.
The second half was very entertaining, with each team knocking down a number of three’s, and Coloma led by six after the 3rd quarter. Coloma held a 5-point lead late in the game which they ultimately could not hold. With about two minutes remaining Coloma led by three, but committed a foul on Cameron French on a successful 3-pointer and after adding the free throw, the Huskies led by one, and the Comets never got the lead back. After the game Coloma Coach Paul Marfia said, “It was a good first game that we will grow from and build on.”
Coloma was led on offense by Zach Goodline who scored 38 points including six three-pointers, brother Drew knocked down three from long range and finished with nine points, and Michael Dancer added eight points.
Comets lose again, to Kalamazoo Hackett
The Coloma boys’ varsity basketball team hit the road on Friday night and fell behind big early and could never really recover as they lost to Kzoo Hackett by a score of 79-67.
Coach Paul Marfia stated that, “We dug a big hole early, and I was proud of how hard we fought back to get it within nine points, when at one point we were down by 26.”
The Comets were playing aggressively and as a result were whistled for quite a few fouls, which put Hackett in early bonus situations and were able to knock down their free throws to keep Coloma at bay. The Comets rattled out several 3-pointers on top of that, which kept them from realistically threatening any more than they did. Coach Marfia saying, “Hackett is a very balanced team and played well, and we will have to grow as a team to get there. We have to learn how to adjust when our outside shot is not falling.” The coach also stated that he has plenty of confidence in his team, and knows they will keep working and good things will happen.
Once again the Comets were led on offense by the scoring of Zach Goodline who scored 37 points, including two 3-pointers and nine of 10 from the charity stripe. Phillip Caldwell added 13 points, knocking down three from long range, and Mike Dancer added six points. For the game Coloma committed 27 team fouls to only 14 for Kzoo, and now have a record of 0-2 on the young season.
The Comets next game was Tuesday, December 4 at Buchanan. (Results of that game were not available at press time.)
Coloma Comet Girl Bowlers open new season with a win
The Coloma girls’ bowling team got the season started off on the right foot on Monday afternoon, by beating Bronson on their home lanes by a score of 20-10.
The Comet keglers coached by Carley Burrell were led by Morgan Hosbein who rolled a 205, 181 for a 386 total; Lainey Meader added 164, 198 for 362. They shot team games of 818 and 792 for a 1610 total.
The Comets next match is Wednesday, December 5 at home at Kelley’s Bowl.
Pressbox Player of the Week
By Jerrod Birmele
Evan De La Rosa, a senior at Hartford High School, is this week’s Tri-City Record Press Box Player of the Week.
This fall, Evan returned to the football field after a hiatus due to injury and was a welcome addition to the Hartford Indian football team on both offense and defense. On offense, Evan pitched in by making nine receptions for 163 yards and a touchdown catch. On defense, he recorded 26 total tackles from his defensive back position, which included one sack and three tackles for a loss. Because of his performance on the field this year, Evan received Honorable Mention all-conference honors from the Southwest 10 Conference.
Evan’s biggest offensive games came early in the season, when he recorded receiving totals of 34 yards against Gobles (on one reception), 54 yards against Bangor (on one reception, along with a touchdown) and 32 yards against Mendon (on two receptions). His biggest defensive games came against Bangor (seven tackles, including a sack and two tackles for a loss) and in the season finale against Bloomingdale (eight tackles).
Outside of playing football, Evan can be found playing basketball in the winter for the Indians. When not on the football field or basketball court, he can be found on the lake fishing. He competed in bass fishing tournaments this past summer under the Hartford name. In the classroom, he carries a 3.5 GPA and is involved in the National Honor Society and recently organized a blood drive at the High School. He also gives back to his community and the youth by volunteering his time umpiring baseball and softball games for the Hartford Council for Recreation.
Congratulations on this great honor, Evan!