Photos by Alexis Mercer
Story by Ken DeLaat
Newaygo 75 Big Rapids 68 OT
“We took a step forward tonight.”
Those were the words from Coach Barrette after his team fought back time and again to grab a well earned victory over a relentless Cardinal squad.
This was a physical match from the get-go as the lead seesawed back and forth through four tough quarters and an extra frame to determine the victor.
Kade Bhuyan began the scoring to give the Lions their first lead. He was answered by a bucket from Jake Martinson, the first of his 35 points on the night. Ryan Brummel and Francisco Rios both hit for 2 before the Cards went on an 8-0 run to move into the lead. Noah Cantu popped one in from outside to edge the Lions within a point but the visitors went on another run to end the first quarter with a 19-11 advantage.
The 8 point spread lasted less than 2 minutes as Connor Swinehart hit, Bhuyan picked a steal and scored, Cantu laced another from beyond the arc and Swinehart scored off a stop. Suddenly the Lions were back on top.
From there the teams exchanged blows as the lead changed hands 8 times in the second, finally reaching the halftime buzzer with the Cardinals holding a slim 31-30 edge.
Big Rapids came out of the locker room strong and pushed the lead to 39-32 before the Lions regrouped again and fired off 10 straight points to go back in front and edged their advantage to 48-43 entering the fourth. From there the scoring took on a Martinson vs. Swinehart look as the BR senior poured in a dozen points in the quarter while his senior counterpart from Newaygo wrestled in 10 improbable points by battling his way in the paint with 2-3 defenders seemingly helpless to stop him.
The hosts held a 3 point lead with seconds to go but Martinson fired in another triple and the teams went to OT.
In the extra session the Lions inched out to a 63-62 lead , then Cantu hit for 3, drew a charge then lit it up again from downtown to make it a 7 point game..
The Cardinals were forced to send the Lions to the line where they went 1-6 before Brummel hit 3 out of 4 and Swinehart aced a pair to secure the win.
“We played tougher than we have,” added Coach Barrette. “And it paid off down the stretch.”
Swinehart finished with a hard fought 28 points to go with 12 rebounds and Cantu rifled in 21 while grabbing a half dozen boards.
The Lions are now 5-1 on the season and 2-1 in conference play.
Fremont 67 Central Montcalm 54
The visiting Hornets stayed with the Pack for half a game, taking advantage of foul trouble that sent Logan Karnemaat to the bench for much of the half.
Coming out of intermission the Packers picked up the tempo and ran the lead to a dozen by the fourth before holding the Bees back and securing the win.
Braiden McDonald and Logan Karnemaat both had 6 points in that pivotal 3rd quarter.
Nine Pplayers made the scorers column for the Pack led by Karnemaat, McDonald and Carter Moon who finished with 14 points apiece. Joshua Zerfas dished out 5 assists and Tristan Campbell led the team on the glass pulling down 9 boards.
The Packers are now 6-1 overall and hold a 2-1 record in the Gold.
Grant 58 Chippewa Hills 56
The host Tigers battled back from a double digit deficit in the 2nd half against Chippewa Hills to earn the league win.
Grant cut the deficit to 37-46 to end the 3rd quarter and battled on both ends of the floor in the 4th. Brett Long and Diesel Rose competed intensely the whole game against two quality post players. Connor Vanderwilt led the scoring with 22, followed by Seth Schuitema with 18. Carter Chase scored all 11 of the Tiger's 3rd quarter points and finished with 13.
Jack Frebes scored 19 to lead Chip Hills with Mitch Kuzma adding 15.
Grant is now 4-3 overall with a 2-1 conference record.
Reed City 68 Tri County 45
The Vikings played the league leading Coyotes even for a half as they entered the locker room holding a one point edge.
“Then we ran out of steam,” said Coach Matt McCorkle . “Tired legs led to turnovers and missed shots which allowed Reed City to open up a 14 point lead going into the fourth quarter.
“We did not have anything left to make another run and close the gap to single digits. Poor free throw shooting hindered us all night as well. “
The Vikes were just 9 of 20 from the charity stripe
Cam Friend led the Vikings with 15 points while Zac Saez and Anthony Pelton had game high honors with 16 points a piece for Reed City.
The Vikings now stand at 1-7 on the season and 0-3 in conference play.
Lakeview 45 Hesperia 33
The Panthers shorthanded 6 man squad battled their way to a tie at the half but with few substitution options the team finally fell to the visiting Wildcats.
“They gave me everything they had, we just came up short in the second half,” said Coach Bolles.
Leading the Panthers in scoring was senior guard, Jacob Klemundt who knocked down a quartet of triples on his way to a game high 18 points. Logan Balkema proved to be an inside presence for the Panthers a finishing with a dozen rebounds and 3 blocked shots.
With the loss the Panthers fall to 0-7 overall and 0-3 in the CSAA Silver.
Holton 61 White Cloud 31
The Red Devils snapped a 3 game skid with the home win over White Cloud.
Holton is now 2-4 with a 2-1 conference record. White Cloud falls to 1-7 with a 1-2 mark in the Silver.
Panthers fall in OT; Tigers, Vikes post wins
Newaygo 51 Big Rapids 32
If you’re a basketball fan particularly if you have followed the local girls game over the years you need to come out and see this current Lion squad. It is without a doubt one of the most entertaining shows around these days. This gritty and talented group of young women have forged a defensive alliance aimed at energizing their quick strike offense and creating a buzz of excitement when they take to the floor.
On Friday they put that defense on display as they blanketed the Cardinals, helped force many of the 35 BR turnovers, and ran away with a 19 point win.
Coach Nate Thomasma :
"Really happy with the defensive effort tonight for us. It was a good team win.
"Overall, pretty happy with the game tonight. I think both teams were a little sluggish coming off of Christmas Break but both played a hard, clean game.”
In the first quarter with the Cards in front 5-4, Jaxi Long hit a shot to give the hosts the lead. Jaylee Long then tapped the ball away from the defender and while hitting the floor swiped the ball to sister Jaxi who nocked one in while getting fouled. After she converted, Sophie Frisbie caused a turnover on the press leading to a Jessica Sanchez basket and the quarter ended with the Lions up a half dozen .
An 11 point halftime lead exploded after intermission. Lily Ruehmeier zipped a pass to Frisbie for a bucket, a favor Frisbie returned soon after when she rifled a cross court to Ruehmeier for two. Ruehmeier drew a charging foul, one of her two on the night, and the Lions responded with an 11-0 run to ice the contest.
One could safely bet they are no treat to go up against the way they swarm at the ball and possess the quickness to feast on mistakes. It’s the part of their game that makes them fun to watch.
The Lions are still pretty young as a team and it’s a long season and teams are going to have off nights on occasion, but win or lose the teams taking the floor against this group are going to know they were in a game.
Jaxi Long led all scorers with 19 points while pulling in 10 rebounds, Ruehmeier knocked down 9 points and Frisbie dished out 7 assists.
Jaylee Long seemed to be everywhere on the court as she filled the boxscore with 7 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals while putting on a defensive clinic.
Mckenna Rose led the Cardinals with 12 points.
Newaygo improves to 4-1 overall (2-1 in conference)
Big Rapids drops to 2-4 overall (0-3 in conference).
Central Montcalm 69 Fremont 39
The Hornets put their high octane offense on display as they blasted out to a 19-3 lead after one then expanded the gap to two dozen (37-13) by intermission.
Libby Ledford fired in a quintet of triples for CM and led all scorers with 20 points.
Paige Vandenberg paced the Packer scoring dropping in 11 points while Natalie Jamieson hit for 8.
Fremont is now 4-3 overall with a 2-1 conference record while the Hornets remain undefeated at 6-0 on the season and 3-0 in league play.
Tri County 44 Reed City 37
The Vikings remained undefeated in conference play and ties atop the standings with Central Montcalm at 3-0 with a 4-1 overall mark.
Grant 49 Chippewa Hills 44
The Tigers moved to 2-1 in conference play and 2-4 overall with the home win over the Warriors.
Haley Mercer had 13 points for visiting CH and Taylor Neeb added 10.
Lakeview 58 Hesperia 56 (OT)
The Panthers fell in overtime to the Wildcats.
Hesperia drops to 1-2 in the Silver and 4-2 overall while Lakeview moves to 3-3 on the season and matches the Panther league mark at 1-2.
Photo gallery of Lions vs Cardinals by Alexis Mercer