By Ken De Laat
A rugged week awaits White Cloud. They control their own destiny when it comes to a share of the conference crown but it’s a steep climb requiring a tough road win and following it 2 days later with a home victory over the league leader to do it.
The Cloud has been a remarkable team all season long. Just an early stumble in Shelby and a loss at home to Big Rapids keep them from being undefeated. Undefeated like the first of the 3 formidable opponents they will be facing this week, North Muskegon. The host Norsemen have burned through their schedule using a stifling defense. Teams are averaging under 40 points a game against them. Their D will match up with a potent WC offense that has been averaging 68 a game during their 11 game win streak. These teams could likely meet again in the Districts.
The Monday NM game is just the start for Coach Jones’ team. On Wednesday they travel to Grant to face the Tigers, an explosive team with Obenauf, Phillips, DeLong, Swanson and more on the floor who can pile up points. Should Grant come away from their Monday game with Central Montcalm with a win, the teams will be playing for sole possession of second place and a shot at a share of the title.
Either way that share of the title will go through White Cloud who wrap up the week Friday with what could be one of the biggest games in recent school history. The Coyotes have dominated teams but there have been a few close calls along the way. If they get off to a quick lead they’re hard to come back on. A couple of teams have been able to hold down their scoring and stay close but they can light it up in a hurry. They want the outright title and will more than likely need to win in White Cloud to get it.
The senior laden White Cloud squad has a lot of players who can score. Noah and Jayden Robinson, Strait, and Watson can all heat up and Reuther has a sharpshooter mentality when he is canning the distance shots with regularity. McGowen is a force on defense and Coach Jones has no fear when going to his bench with Mason and Coleson Cruzan and others providing some vital minutes. The team plays with confidence in each other and a lot of heart. They also have a large and loud following as witnessed recently in the Newaygo gym. They will need to dig deep this week as they face perhaps the toughest 3 games on their schedule ,
Before the season began we asked around the league about what teams folks thought would be title contenders. Most named defending champ Big Rapids and Reed City got a lot of attention. Grant was mentioned as was Newaygo.
And while not many believed the Cloud would be here…
And they are.