Lions Handle Coyotes On Senior Night
Photos and story by Alexis Mercer
It was senior night for the Lions as they faced off against Reed City to end the regular season for the girls. The evening also led to the crowning of royalty for Snowcoming.
Newaygo 48 Reed City 22
It would have been hard to guess that the Reed City Coyotes had only won 3 conference games before walking in to play the Lions on Friday night. From the first tick of the clock, the Coyotes went hard. They were physical, fast and aggressive. And they stayed that way until the final tick of the clock.
But the Lady Lions were too much despite the effort. Emmerson Goodin was relentless under the basket; grabbing rebounds left and right and earning every point she scored. This was Emme's kind of game. Sophia Frisbie rounded out the half court, draining shots from outside the 3 point line like it was her job. Add Jaxi Long's jump shot and Reed City didn't stand a chance.
Sophia Frisbie led the Lions with 15 points and 4 assists. Emmerson Goodin had 13 points and 7 rebounds. Jaxi Long had 7 points and 8 assists.
"It was a good win to end the season on and for our seniors. Reed City played a physical game and worked hard and made us earn everything we got," said Coach Thomasma.
Newaygo finishes the season 13-7 and 8-6 in conference.
Reed City finishes the season 4-16 and 3-11 in conference.
Newaygo 63 Reed City 47
In a relatively uncharacteristic move for the boys team, the Lions took a significant lead in the first quarter. Generally, this year's team takes a bit to feel out the opponent and get in their groove. But Friday night was special. It was senior night and Snowcoming both. The Lions were ready to make a statement in front of a huge home crowd.
Carlos Magaña has been establishing his position under the basket the last few games. Friday he decided to extend himself and establish that he can also be considered a 3 point shooter.
Seniors Francisco Rios and David Gonzalez poured their hearts out on the floor for their final home game of their careers. And because their hearts pump blood to their incredibly fast legs, it was quite the show of speed. To round off the impressive performances from the seniors, Noah Painter, recently coming back from an injury, and German Pascal Hermann added in solid minutes off the bench.
Up by 7 going into the locker room at halftime, the Lions sealed the Snowcoming win in the third quarter, outscoring the Coyotes by 9.
Coach Barrette said of the win, "Communication was much better tonight leading to much better effort on the defensive end. Guys played with more confidence leading to some made shots. Great team win for us and our Seniors on Senior night."
Carlos Magana ended with 20 points and 8 rebounds while Francisco Rios contributed 8 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds.
Newaygo has one more week of regular season play before facing Fremont in the first round of Districts.
Red Devils Clip Eagle Title Hopes; Packers, Tigers Stay in the Trophy Hunt: Warriors Get a Share; Mohawks Seize Crown
Holton 68 Kent City 56
The first time around the Red Devils were riding a 4 game win streak and the Eagles were alone atop the Silver having just knocked Morley from the top spot. KC went onto the Holton court and blasted the Devs by 25 points.
A month later and all the Eagles needed to do was to end another 4 game winning streak by the Devils to secure a share of the Silver crown.
And this time they had them on their home court.
Not so fast.
The visitors took charge early forging a 5 point lead after one before opening it up with a hot second period to enter the break up 33-19. The Eagles hammered back but the Devils were able to fend off any runs and emerged with the win to knock KC out of the title share
Coach Houseman: “I am proud of my guys. All of them. The guys on the bench played a very important role cheering and encouraging their teammates. Our guys that got minutes executed our game plan.
“Good players make coaches look good. We have some good players. I feel they are starting to believe in themselves and each other. We have won 5 straight now and are gaining more and more confidence going into the state tournament.
“We have Grant on Thursday next week who is having a solid year and a good team in Western Michigan Christian team in the first round of the districts. I am excited to see where we end up!”
Nathan Slowik led the Red Devils with 25 points and Aidan Poling knocked down 20. Drew Trygstad finished with 8 points, Lukas Ramaekers 6, Wyatt Monette 5 and Chip Wright 4.
Eli Carlson paced the Eagle offense with 29 points while Shawn Anderson hit for 13. Will Wright also finished in double figures with10.
Fremont 76 Chippewa Hills 44
As expected the Packers secured a shot at a share of the title with a convincing win over the Warriors in front of a packed house.
The hosts ran off a 22-11 lead after one and followed it up with a dominating 24-2 second quarter performance to hold a 33 point lead by intermission.
The second half saw the Packer bench take charge.
The seniors would shine on Senior Night led by Tristan Campbell’s 18 points. Christian Kennedy dropped in 11, Carter Moon hit for 9, Jacob Visser nailed one from distance and Jaxx Miller grabbed 5 steals while dishing out a quintet of dimes.
Fremont (11-2, 15-4) now heads to Grant on Tuesday for a makeup game that will decide who shares the Gold title with the Hornets of Central Montcalm.
Grant 78 Big Rapids 66
On Senior Night, the Tigers came to play and defeated a tough Big Rapids team, 78-66. Carter Chase and Seth Schuitema led the team in scoring with 27 and 26. Diesel Rose chipped in 10 points and dominated the paint. Orion Evans battled for loose balls all over the court while adding 5 points and Gage Burrows hit 2 3's to help seal the game.
Coach Schuitema: "We're really pleased with the win, the way the guys played against a solid Big Rapids team. It was a fun game!"
Now the focus turns to Tuesday's regular season finale as the Packers come to town with the winner grabbing a share of the Gold crown.
White Cloud 48 Lakeview 36
The Cloud grabbed an early lead, taking a 16-4 advantage after one and kept the Wildcats at bay in the second hitting the break up 22-11.
The hosts got within 7 points entering the final frame but WC turned on the burners in the 4th and took the lead back to double figures to secure the win.
Jake Foster fired in a game high 16 points and Sam Venema hit for 15. Dexter Cox also hit double figures finishing with an even dozen.
White Cloud (4-6, 7-11) visits Tri County on Tuesday
Morley Stanwood 61 Hesperia 21
The Mohawks needed a win to get at least a share of the title and a Holton win over Kent City to take the crown outright.
They got both.
MS ran to an early lead over the Panthers and finished their conference season with the first pace clinching win on their home court.
Coach Worcester: “Morley played great in transition and their coaching staff made respectable rotations.
“Our guys played the best offense I have seen all season as far as fundamentals go. Logan Balkema scored 6 pts, but the highlight of our game was Liam Auw’s 6 points in under a minute in the fourth quarter. The bench and our fans were full of excitement.
“ All I can say is I love this team and I love our fans! “
Hesperia (0-11, 0-19) will finish their regular season schedule by welcoming in Shelby on Tuesday.
WMC 71 Manistee 43
The Warriors earned a share of the Lakes Eight Conference title with a win over the Chips. Going into Friday's games, WMC, Ludington and Orchard View were in a three-way tie atop the conference with 7-2 league records.
The Orioles defeated the Cardinals, 49 to 39, to put WMC and Ludington tied for the title with 8-2 league records while OV slipped to second place at 7-3.
The Warriors ran to a 20-8 lead after one then blew it open with a 13-1 run heading into intermission. The bench saw significant second half minutes for WMC
Kellen Mitchell fired in 21 points to lead the Warrior offense and Brekken Fairfield hit for 11.
All the players on the WMCroster scored.
WMC hosts GR Wellspring Prep on Tuesday in their regular season finale before heading for Ravenna and District play the following week.
Pack Nabs Share of Crown; Bayle Hits 1000; Cards Nip Tigers: Warriors Win While Panthers, Devils Don’t
Fremont 43 Chip Hills 16
It had been a long time since the Packers finished a season in first place. Long before their current players were born and since it was well into the last century (1980) more than likely longer than some of their parents even knew each other. The streak spread across four conferences from the Seaway and WWAC to the Lakes 8 and finally the CSAA -Gold. There were years they came close but each time the title eluded their grasp
Not this year.
Outside of splitting their contests with co-champion Big Rapids, the Packer girls team swept through the conference schedule to earn a share of the CSAA Gold crown and capped the regular season off with a convincing win over the Warriors Friday night.
The Packers were able to celebrate Senior Night in style, as they built an early lead and continued to increase that lead through the first three quarters. It was 12-3 after one quarter, and 24-5 at the half. Fremont extended that lead to 37-13 after three quarters.
Coach Zerlaut: “ I am extremely proud of this group of girls. They have shown a great will and passion to succeed all season. I am very happy for them that they were to be able to leave their mark with a conference championship.
“They have played with the pressure to win for the past three weeks. We fully expected Big Rapids to keep winning, and knew that we couldn’t afford to make any mistakes.
“Now we turn our attention to District play. There are no guarantees beyond the next game. We will give our best effort to keep things rolling.”
Calla Miller led the Packers in scoring with 13 points. Paige Vandenberg had 9 points and 9 rebounds, while Natalie Jamieson scored 8 points and pulled down 6 rebounds. The win put the Packers overall regular season record at 15-5, 13-1 in the CSAA Gold conference.
Fremont hosts district play beginning Monday They will face Newaygo in the second game following the Comstock Park/Tri County 6pm opener.
Big Rapids 41 Grant 35
The Tigers came close to handing the title to Fremont but the Cards withstood a fourth quarter run by the hosts to secure the win and a share of the CSaAA Gold title.
The teams got off to a slow start and scoring was a premium as they hit the locker rooms with BR holding a 16-6 lead.
Coach Paulsen:”We had our chances late. We cut the lead to 4 but it seemed everytime we got within striking distance we would miss an open shot or turn it over. We just could not get out of our own way.
“I know our record would not indicate it, but we are playing our best basketball right now. We need to finish some easy plays and be ready to make jumpers.”
Kirstyn Throop led the Tigers with 11 points and Kassidy Doornbos hit for 10.
Grant (5-9, 5-15) will take to the court for tournament play on Wednesday when they face the winner of Monday’s Newaygo/Fremont clash. The game is at Fremont and is scheduled for 7:30pm or after the conclusion of the 6pm game.
Morley Stanwood 52 Hesperia 28
The ‘Hawks won the regular season finale for both teams by racing past the Panthers in the second quarter with a 19-2 run to balloon their 8 point lead to a 39-14 advantage at the break.
Meanwhile with another year left to pull on the Panther jersey Emily Bayle hit the 1000 point mark for Hesperia part of the 25 points poured in to go with a dominant performance on the glass that saw her haul down 22 boards.
Hesperia (4-6, 8-12) will travel to Kent City on Wednesday to take on the winner of Monday’s Kent City/Ravenna game. Gametime 7:30pm or after the 6pm game.
Kent City 68 Holton 12
The Eagles tuned up for the tournament and finished the conference season undefeated with the win over the Red Devils. KC had all the offense they needed in a first quarter that ended with the Eagles holding a 30-5 edge.
Gianna Reed and Madi Bosset each scored 3 points for the Devs.
Kent City was led by Jenna Harrison who fired in 21 points, Kenzie Bowers who hit for 15 and Mikayla Loew who finished with 8.
Things won’t get any easier for Holton (1-9, 5-15) as they take on Morley Stanwood (17-3) in the opener of the Kent City District Monday at 6pm.
WMC 52 Manistee 31
The Warriors secured second place in the Lakes 8 with a convincing win over Manistee.
WMC ran off to a 19-7 lead after one and doubled up their hosts by halftime 44-22.
Taylor Folkema paced the Warriors with 24 points 6 boards and 6 steals while Kyla Wiersema knocked down a dozen points and Greta Vanderheide hit for 9.
The win ends the regular season for the Warriors (8-2, 14-6) who will host Fennville in the opening game of the WMC District Monday at 7pm.
White Cloud 62 Lakeview 20
Olivia Bowman popped in 16 points to lead the Cloud to their regular season finale win over the Wildcats. Bowman aslo grabbed 4 resbounds and dished out a quartet of assists. Carsyn Scarlavai snared 6 steals on defense to go with her 9 points, Cassie Watson took down 10 boards and added 6 points and Alexis Straight handed out 5 assists and hit for 7 points.
Coach Brown: "Dominant performance from start to finish. Everybody played, everybody scored. Great confidence builder before district play next week."
White Cloud (6-4, 13-7) will begin post season play Wednesday when they face the winner of Monday's Holton/Morley contest
Kent City/Holton photos by Sue Harrison
These are the final games of the regular season and teams are looking to head into postseason play on a high note.
Oh and there’s a title to be won or shared depending on the outcome of a couple of Gold games. The Eagles wrapped up the Silver last week to the surprise of no one.
Chippewa Hills (0-13, 3-16) at Fremont (12-1, 14-5)
The Packers have put together a great season. Outside of a pre Christmas smackdown by a tenacious and physical Oriole squad they have been close at the end in every game they have lost.
And they haven’t lost many.
They have a shot at their first title in many years,albeit likely a shared one, and the Warriors don't have the talent to keep pace with Shriver, Vandenberg Miller, Jamieson, and the rest.
First time around they bested CH by 35 points with everyone seeing a lot of floor time and that was in Remus.
A tuneup for the Monday matchup with Newaygo
Big Rapids (12-1, 18-1) at Grant (5-8, 5-14)
The Cardinals have wreaked havoc mowing though their schedule with the exception of that stumble in Fremont.
The stumble that will cost them an outright title.
The Tigers are a game group with some gritty players who aren’t going to back down from anyone.
But the Cards want their share of the Gold crown and their defense held the Tig’s to 15 points last time out.
Sure it was in Big Rapids but it was still 15 points and while Grant will score more points, probably a lot more this time around, it would be a huge upset if BR doesn't pour in enough to win.
Reed City (3-0, 4-15) at Newaygo (7-6, 12-7)
The Lions took the Coyotes apart in Reed City last month and they want to head to Monday’s tourney game with some major momentum.
Outside of an inexplicable win over TC early in the season the Yotes haven’t beaten anyone with more than 3 wins on the season.
White Cloud (5-4,12-7) at Lakeview (1-8, 1-17)
The Cloud will win this one by as many points as they wish to. The ‘Cats have been over 35 just once and the WC defense won’t let them get near that many on Friday.
Holton (1-8, 5-14) at Kent City (9-0, 18-1)
The Eagle starters will be well rested for their tourney opener at home Monday.
Hesperia (4-5, 8-11) at Morley Stanwood (7-2, 16-3)
The Panthers have put together a nice season. The 'Hawks are looking to see if three times is the charm as they strive to work toward a possible rematch with Kent City in the district finals, but they won’t look past this one.
There will likely be a shared title in the Gold as well as the Silver. Question is, who will the teams be in the Gold?
Should Grant get by BR they have Fremont on Tuesday with the winner guaranteed a co-championship.. The Hornets who have won 5 in a row just need a win over the reeling Vikings who've lost 5 in a row to grab a share. Should Grant stumble against the Cards then beat Fremont, CM gets the top spot by themselves.
Chippewa Hills (1-12, 3-14) at Fremont (10-2, 14-4)
Not even close.
Big Rapids (8-5, 11-6) at Grant (10-2, 10-7)
The Tigers will need to come up big here but even with a possible share of the title on the line and the fact that they took BR down by 17 points first time they met this one shapes up to be a battle royal as the Cards have won 6 of 7 since that loss and will come in with everything they’ve got.
Reed City (5-8, 5-13) at Newaygo (4-9, 5-12)
Lions lost in Reed City and they can be a bit of a mystery but should they put their A game on the floor at home they should be able to avenge that loss.
White Cloud (3-6, 6-11) at Lakeview (2-7, 5-12)
The Cloud has a good chance to end their 4 game skid here.
Holton (6-3, 12-6) at Kent City (8-1, 10-7)
The Eagles want a share of the title and the Devils stand in the way. The Aerie is a tough place to play.
Hesperia (0-9, 0-18) at Morley Stanwood (8-1, 16-2)
The ‘Hawks bench gets a workout and MS gets at least a share of the Silver title.
Girls: Strait Paces Scoring in Win #12
Boys: Bulldogs Stay Undefeated
White Cloud 41 Ravenna 28
The WC Girls team slapped on their patented tough defense and rode it to victory behind a 16 point, 4 assist, and 4 steal night for Alexis Strait and a 12 point performance by Olivia Bowman who added 4 boards.
Cassie Watson took down a team high 5 rebounds while dropping in 6 points.
The team faces Lakeview on the road Friday in their regular season and conference finale. A win secures them third place in the Silver.
WC begins tourney play in Kent City next Wednesday, March 4th when they face the winner of Monday’s Morley Stanwood/Holton game. Game time is scheduled for 6pm
Ravenna 63 White Cloud 51
The Bulldogs came in undefeated having dispatched the opposition in 17 straight games.
Make it 18.
The Cloud played them tough but the WMC champs were not going to lose any momentum heading into the tournament they will host beginning March 9.
Coach Jones: “Very proud of how hard the team played tonight. We had it down to 9 late in the fourth and the ball. A few critical plays and the outcome could have been a little different. Ravenna is a very good and well coached team. Should be a fun district.”
Scoring was spread pretty evenly with Sam Venema connecting for 12 and Steven Holt hitting for 10, while Dexter Cox (9), Alex Elder (8),Taylor Bode (7) and Jake Foster (5) each contributed to the cause. Tom Feldpausch and Cameron Wolters also put in valuable minutes.
The team will wrap up conference play at Lakeview Friday and next week play a pair of cross conference games against Tri County and Central Montcalm before heading to Ravenna for tournament play
The thing about a rivalry is that it usually does not disappoint. Regardless of record or how the season is going, a rivalry can bring out the best in teams. This was absolutely the case with both the boys and girls Newaygo/Grant games on Tuesday night.
Girls Score - Newaygo 45 Grant 38
The Lions came out on fire in the first half of the game. Sophia Frisbie took advantage of the Tigers' need to more closely guard the Long sisters and lit up the net with aggressive shooting. At the half, Newaygo was up 25-15.
But as the rivalry goes, Grant wasn't about to walk away not having given it their all. By the end of the 3rd quarter, Grant had cut the lead to 4 points. Grant's Kirstyn Throop and Kassidy Doornbos were both particularly dominant on both ends of the floor. The Lions held strong, however, and came out on top when the final buzzer sounded.
Jaxi Long led the Lions with 14 points. Emmerson Goodin had 13 points and 10 rebounds. Jaylee Long had 4 points and 6 assists. Coach Thomasma said "It always is a battle either way against Grant. They're well coached and play tough. I am happy with the intensity that we played with tonight, especially after last Friday's game."
Newaygo improves to 12-7 (7-6 in conference)
Grant drops to 5-13 (5-7 in conference)
Boys Score - Grant 65 Newaygo 56
In nearly exactly opposite fashion from the girls game, the Tigers came out on fire in the first quarter against the Lions. Robert Rose scored the first point of the game with a free throw and then Carter Chase took over. No matter what the Lions tried on defense, Chase was able to overcome the challenge. At the end of the first quarter the Lions were down 7-15.
The second quarter, Newaygo proved much more effective in finding a way to the bottom of the net, mostly thanks to Carlos Magaña's hard work under the basket. This quarter the Tigers outscored the Lions only by 1 point.
Coming out of the locker room, the Lions had a spring in their step and were ready to attack the next 16 minutes of play. By the end of the battle of the 3rd quarter, the Lions had scored 15 to the Tigers 14. It wasn't enough, however. The Tigers continually found a way to fight off the charging Lions. Every time Newaygo got within 3 points, Grant would shut them down offensively for two or three plays.
Coach Barrette said of the game "We gave up too many second chance points". Carlos Magaña ended the game with 22 points and 12 rebounds.
Girls: Shriver, Vandenberg Pace Pack; NM Nip PanthersTuesday
Boys: Packers Empty Bench; Devs Make in 4 in a Row
Fremont 53 Tri County 32
A 6 game Viking winning streak slammed to a halt in Fremont Tuesday as the Packer defense led by Chloe Shriver’s 5 steals choked off the TC scoring to stay deadlocked with Big Rapids atop the Gold standings with one game to play.
The Packers got off to a quick start jumping to a 17-8 lead after one but the gritty Vikings fought their way back and by the break they had pulled within a point at 21-20 canning a trio of triples in the process. The first few minutes of the third quarter remained close, but then the tide turned in the favor of the Packers as the defense created a sas of turnovers that led to Packer points.With a 12 point lead entering the final frame the Packers stretched their lead finishing with a 14-5 run.
Paige Vandenberg ruled the paint with 17 points, 13 rebounds, and 4 blocked shots and Shriver added 12 points to her most effective thievery.
Tri County was led by Alicia Bowen with 15 points and Ashley Bialek with 13.
The win improves the Packers overall record to 14-5, 12-1 in the conference.and they can secure at least a share of the title Friday when they face Chippewa Hills (0-13, 3-16) at home.
North Muskegon 44 Hesperia 42
The Norse edged the Panthers outscoring their visitors by 3 points in the 4th to capture the win.
Coach Grodus: “It was a close game the entire night. They scored a layup at the buzzer to win.”
Down by a point at the break the Panthers kept with NM pulling in front by a point heading into the 4th.
But the hosts were able to finish the seesaw battle on top and Hesperia dropped their third in a row.
Emily Bayle continues to pour in the Panther points as she hit for 23 while taking down 8 boards dishing out 6 assists and snaring 7 steals.
Emmi Tinkham provided glass support finishing with 7 rebounds.
Fremont 78 Tri-County 41
Coach Zerfas:” This one was not close from the beginning as we came out with great focus and energy. Everyone got lots of playing time in both halves of this game. Our starters only played 11 minutes in the game and a running clock(40 point lead) was instituted with 3 minutes to go in the 3rd quarter(70-30).
We led 33-16 after the first and 57-25 at halftime. 11 Packers scored led by Braiden McDonald with 18, Martin Curiel with 14, Chris Kennedy with 12, Tristan Campbell with 11, Joshua Zerfas and Carter Moon both had 5, Jacob Visser had 2 and Lane Converse, Jaxx Miller and Adam Ward all had 2. We are 14-4 overall and 10-2 in the conference and play host to Chippewa Hills on Friday for Senior Night.”
Holton 59 Shelby 34
The Red Devils went on the road to Shelby and took home their 4th win in a row to match their longest winning streak of the season.
Coach Houseman:”It was a total team effort. Everyone got playing time. Nathan Slowik had a great game scoring 22 points, Aidan Poling had 19, Drew Trygstad had 9, Lukas Ramaekers had 5, Wyatt Monette had 3 and Anthony Crabtree had 2.”
Holton is now 12-6 overall will play Silver co-leader Kent City on the Eagle court Friday to wrap up conference play.
Grant at Newaygo
The Tigers are hopefully healing from the flu bug that cancelled their much awaited rematch with Fremont last week (they play each other next Tuesday in the regular season finale 6 days before meeting in the District).
The Lions lost by 20 a month ago and while they can score in bunches and play intermittently strong against good teams they can be inconsistent and Grant will run away should the Lions have a scoring lapse.
Tri County at Fremont
The Packers need to recapture their early season offensive mojo and they hung 102 on the Vikes last time around.Depending on how much time Coach Zerfas wants to give his starters there should be a lot of bench scoring tonight.
Holton at Shelby
The Tigers have won 2 games, both against Hart.
Holton isn’t Hart.
Grant at Newaygo
What’s with the Lions? They have dropped three in a row and the first two they held a 4th quarter lead and could not finish.They didn’t play well last time out and though they handled Grant easily the first time out they cannot go to sleep on the Tigers because they will make it 4 in a row if they do.
They need to head into the postseason on a high note and they have two winnable games before the tipoff of the tourney. It’s time for their talent to emerge and do what this team is capable of.
Tri County at Fremont
The Vikes have quietly out together a 6 game win streak and Coach Alger has them playing their best ball of the season as they head for a postseason matchup with the powerhouse Panthers of Comstock Park.
First time around the Packers stifled their scoring, holding them to just 23 points. Since then they have averaged well over 50 and while the Pack is fighting for a title share the Vikes are looking for some mo going into tourney play
Holton at Ravenna
Coach Mason has done a good job and while it hasn’t translated into many postings in the W column this is a much improved team in the second half. They may not be able to stay with the Bulldogs who have posted a couple of wins against quality teams and their first round game in the tourney is Morley but we’ve noted the improvement.
Hesperia at North Muskegon
They’re on the road against the Norsemen but the Panthers are 7-1 against teams with a losing record and NM has a losing record
Four Grant Wrestlers traveled to Lakewood High School for Individual Regionals. Senior Billy Ostyn finished in 2nd Place at 125lbs to qualify for the State Tournament for his school record 4th time. Billy suffered his first loss of the season in the championship to his Williamston opponent 0-4. Sophomore Brady Jacobs finished in 3rd Place at 135lbs to qualify for the first time for State defeating his Portland opponent 9-6. Senior Joe Millett came up just short losing in the "blood round" to his highly ranked Alma opponent. Sophomore Jaden Rewa lost two close matches in his first time qualifying for Regionals. The 2 Tigers travel to Ford Field March 6th.
Story and photos by Mike Gesler
Fremont 44 Grant 37
If Fremont wants the CSAA Gold Conference title, or at least a share of the title, then they cannot afford to concede a game through the remainder of the season. Tonight the Packers would travel to Grant to face a Tiger team that has displayed a never-say-die spirit, and will fight and scrape through each minute of game time. The last time these two teams faced each other back in mid-January, the Packers had no problems easily defeating the Tigers 62-29. But tonight, as Fremont’s coach, Wes Zerlaut, stated, “Paige had his kids really ready to play, and they definitely played hard.”
The first quarter would open in Grant’s favor as Kirstyn Throop pulled up to drain a three point bucket to put the Tigers on the board. But then the Packers would close ranks and frustrate Grant’s efforts for the remainder of the quarter. The Packers also had a difficult time against the aggressive play of the Tigers. While Fremont might have kept Grant to only those initial points from Throop, Grant managed to hold Fremont to only eight.
The second quarter opened with a set of fouls that sent both teams to the line before Fremont found their groove. Briana Webber hit for three and Calla Miller put up five before Grant’s Jaycee Rider found the Tigers only field goal of the quarter. The fast, physical play of Fremont exasperated much of Grant’s efforts. It appeared that Fremont would once again take an easy one from Grant as the teams headed into the locker rooms at half with the Packers up by twelve.
Adjustments were made during the half, and the Tigers certainly came out of the locker room dialed in for the second half. Like déjà vu, Grant’s Jaycee Rider hit for three to start the second half. And just like the first, Fremont then went on a six point run. But that is where the déjà vu ended, and a battle ensued with both teams digging into the trenches and refusing to concede any ground. By the time the dust settled on the third quarter, each team had six field goals. The difference was Rider’s three at the start which only allowed the Tigers to chip away at Fremont’s lead by one.
Grant’s indomitable spirit continued into the fourth as did the battle of the trenches. Both teams swapped points for points until suddenly a three point bucket from Throop followed by another from Rider with two and half minutes remaining found the Tigers within six points of tying up the game. Unfortunately for the Tigers, or fortunately for the Packers, this would be the closest Grant would come to stunning the Packers. The Tigers did everything they could within their arsenal of weapons but Fremont dodged each bullet, and escaped to continue their pursuit of a conference title.
“Really good game tonight by both teams. I thought it was a competitive, tough, physical game. Kudos to Fremont,” stated Grant’s coach, Paige Paulsen. “I was really proud of our girls for getting down, and staying with what we do and fighting back. I thought we had some chances. Some untimely turnovers took that real scare out of our hands, but we certainly didn’t give up.”
“A lot of credit to Grant,” shared Coach Zerlaut. “I thought they really played hard tonight. We obviously struggled to put the ball in the basket early, and then struggled to guard them late.”
Calla Miller had double digits for Fremont tonight with sixteen points. Natalie Jamieson shot for eight, and Briana Webber and Paige VandenBerg each had five. Chloe Shriver and Haley Zerlaut each put up four, and Kaitlynn Bennett contributed with two. The Packers will next face Tri County on Tuesday evening in Fremont.
The Tigers had two in double digits; Kirstyn Throop with fifteen and Jaycee Rider with fourteen. Also contributing was Savannah Passage putting up four, and Samantha Wolff and Ashley Longcore each with two. The Tigers will be on the road Tuesday evening facing near north rival Newaygo.