A Family Affair?
Jaxi Long joins Mom and sister in Newaygo’s 1000 point club
By Ken De Laat
Photos by Alexis Mercer
Julie Long’s basketball made it into the trophy case when she was canning them from distance for the Lions in the 90’s. Back then Ottinger was the name on her warm-ups. More recently, (as in earlier this year recently) Jaylee Long fired in the basket that allowed her to join her Mom in the exclusive Lion club and case.
And now they have been joined by Jaxi Long, the sharpshooting senior with ice in her veins who has knocked down game winners with startling frequency during her time on Varsity. Time and again Long has shot her team back into games or put the brakes on an opponent's run with deadly accuracy and a fearless demeanor.
My most vivid memory of her on the court was the win over GR Christian in what turned out to be the last game of the 19-20 season. The Eagles were among the top teams in the state and try as they might they could not put away the rugged Lions who kept it close with a dazzling display of defense against the much taller team.
With time expiring and her team down 2, Jaxi launched a shot from distance that silenced a packed gym until it splashed into the bottom of the net for the win.
And the Lion fans in the Sparta gym absolutely erupted.
Last March her team marched to the state finals besting a bevy of ranked teams along the way. This season they began with 4 wins in a row before losing for the first time in the Cornerstone Holiday tournament.
To the Eagles of GR Christian.
In the consolation game win over Forest Hills Eastern Jaxi scored 35 points.
Number 20 was also number 1000.
After the game Lion Coach Nate Thomasma had high praise for his 4 year varsity veteran:
“Very proud of her. She has a great basketball IQ and is tough to defend because she can score in so many different ways."
We caught up with Ms. Long to pose a few questions.
N3-You came up as a freshman and made an immediate impact. Was scoring 1000 and joining a pretty elite group of players in the trophy case a personal goal?
JL-Yes! I have always wanted to score 1000 points and get my name on one of the basketballs in the trophy case. Seeing my mom accomplish this, and later my sister, made me also want to be a part of this club.
N3-Your first year your team lost in the district finals. Since then you've lost just 1 post season game in 2 years. What do you believe has created this winning culture?
JL-Since my freshman year, my goal has always been to win a state championship. Many on my team shared this goal, so after reaching the district finals that year we wanted more. I think that getting a taste of winning opened our eyes to what could be. So, each year we got closer we wanted it more and it eventually just became second nature.
N3-How does this year's team compare with the state final team?
JL-This year's team is definitely different from last years but the mindset is still the same. We have a lot of younger girls that are stepping up in a big way to fill the spots of our three seniors that we lost last year.
N3-You have one of the sweetest shots I've seen. I understand you spend a lot of time in the gym. Do you have a workout regimen? How do you prepare for the season? For games?
JL-When I go to the gym I try to get as many shots up as I can. This is also what I do to prepare for games. I just try to get in a good groove before the game so I’m comfortable shooting anything.
N3-Your team has created quite a buzz the past few years. I see a lot of younger girls at the games. What kind of advice would you give them if they want to play basketball?
JL-My advice to all younger girls that want to play basketball is to work hard. By getting in the gym you can only improve your game. So become a gym rat and never listen to doubters because they usually end up being wrong.
Thank you Ms. Long.
We hope the season finds your team playing deep into March once again.
Pre Break Basketball Roundup
Boys: Cloud, Pack Fall
Girls: Same As Above & Lions Split
Sparta 61 Fremont 51
Coach Bowen: We played hard but came up short against a good Sparta team. The difference in the game was shooting. They shot really well from outside all night and we struggled to make shots. I thought our effort was really good and that's what kept us in the game. We did a lot of positive things, we just have to shoot better if we're going to beat good teams. Jordon McDonald had a great game for us with 25 points, 10 rebounds and 3 steals.
The Packers fell to 2-3 on the season with the non-con loss to the Spartans. They resume play January b4th when they travel to Ludington.
Reed City 74 White Cloud 44
This cross conference matchup went to the Coyotes who have opened the season with 4 straight wins.
Coach Jones:”We lost to a good and well Coached Reed City team tonight. 7 Their size and outstanding three point shooting was just too much for us tonight.
Jared Watson led the Cloud with 12points, while Tray Brunson hit for 11, Mason Ruether notched 8 and KJ Strait added 6.
Newaygo 60 Forest Hills Eastern 44
Jaxi Long led the Lions with 35 points including a near perfect 13-14 from the stripe while pulling down 4 rebounds and dishing 4 assists. Kayla Fisk dropped in 8 points and collected 6 rebounds while rejecting a pair of Hawk attempts. Emmerson Goodin tallied 7 rebounds, 7 points and 3 steals while being limited by foul trouble.
Holding a 21-19 lead, the Lions erupted in the third outscoring FHE 23-9.
Coach Thomasma: "Good bounceback win for the girls. Our defensive pressure allowed us to get some easy buckets in the third quarter and helped us go on our run. I also thought we had a lot of people step up tonight to help us get the victory. Forest Hills is a solid team that has played some great competition so far this year."
"Jaxi went over the 1,000 point threshold tonight (Currently at 1,015). Very proud of her. She has a great basketball IQ and is tough to defend because she can score in so many different ways."
Newaygo improves to 5-1 and will return to the court on January 4th when they go on the road to face West Michigan Christian
While Forest Hills Eastern falls to 0-5 those losses have come against teams with a cumulative record of 23-1
Sparta 53 Fremont 9
The Packers were overwhelmed by the Sparta Spartans at home on Tuesday night, losing 53-9. It looked like a good start when the Packers opened the scoring with a Haley Zerlaut driving basket and ensuing free throw to take a 3-0 lead. However, those would be the only Packer points of the entire first half. Sparta led 23-3 after one and 39-3 at halftime. They out-rebounded the Packers 18-7 in the opening half and shot 9-32 from the field, compared to the Packers' 1-16. Fremont also turned it over 17 times in the opening half.
Sparta held an 8-2 scoring advantage in the third quarter, and a 6-3 advantage in the fourth. Sparta had a trio of players score in double figures, with Peot scoring 17, Vallone 16, and Hatchew 13. The Packers are now off until January 7th.
Coach Zerlaut: "We expected Sparta to come out in a physical and aggressive fashion, but we did not handle it well. Kudos to them. They play the game the right way. They dressed 7 players, but they got after it. They were aggressive on both ends of the floor and we didn't match their intensity, either mentally or physically. We all need to do a better job, coaches and players alike. We were short-handed tonight, but we did not play well. We are better than what we put on display tonight, and I need to figure out how to get more out of the girls."
Reed City 60 White Cloud 33
Coach Wilk: ”Tonight we went and played Reed City. At the end of the first quarter they held a 5 to 7 lead. I was really happy with our start, but they exploded for 25 in the second quarter. We made too many simple mistakes in the second quarter, and we could not climb out of the hole we dug ourselves into. We were led by Kiara Edwards who had the hot hand tonight. She hit four triples and totaled 14 points. Gaby Reeve has been very consistent for us, and tonight she had 11 points. Jaden Gomez has continued to be our defensive anchor while Carsyn Scarlavai is out, and Kyleah Baker also put in some valuable minutes off the bench tonight. I was really happy with how she went into the game, and she did everything I asked her to do. Over the next few weeks we are hoping to heal up so that we can be at full strength after the holidays.”
GR Christian 48 Newaygo 37
Newaygo was down 11 at the half and was able to cut the lead to 4 with three minutes to play but couldn't get any closer.
Coach Thomasma: "Definitely was not our night offensively but a lot of that had to do with GR Christian's length. They are a good defensive team and we didn't make enough outside shots to keep them honest. Loved the effort from the girls but the comeback wasn't meant to be today. We'll get at it at practice tomorrow and look to improve."
Cards Top Lions With Late Game Rally
Cards Top Lions With Late Game Rally
Story by Ken DeLaat photos by Alexis Mercer
Big Rapids 69 Newaygo 65
In a classic back and forth battle the Cardinals outlasted the Lions Friday night in a game filled with physical play, a lot of emotion and, as those in attendance would attest, some truly intriguing officiating.
Setting aside the occasional striped shirt confusion, these teams put on an exciting show of talent from the get-go.
Josiah Long opened the scoring with a bomb from long range and was answered by Dawson Dunn who also ripped one from beyond the arc. After a Dyllan Bazzett bucket Bryce Decker scored but the Cards tied it up with 2 from the stripe and a basket. The teams exchanged blows to finish the first knotted at 18.
BR scored the first 9 points of the second but behind the scoring prowess of Decker and Long along with a tightening defense the teams hit halftime with the hosts trailing by just 2 at 37-35.
After the break Gabe Schillman tied it up and Dyllan Bazzett made a thunderous block of a Cardinal attempt. The lead went back and forth and as the third was ending Mason Dunn hit a three that Remy Wells answered then Owen Gammons hit for 2 to put the Cardinals ahead. Just at the buzzer Decker let loose a missile from the top of the key and it got all net, putting his team up 52-51 entering the final frame.
The fourth was wild as Decker seemingly could not miss while Dyllan Bazzett and Jaden Osawabine contributed key buckets. After Zander Prince hit a 2, the score was 62-60 Newaygo with a littleover 3 minutes left.
A minute later Decker fouled out followed soon after by Long and while the Lion bench held their own the Cardinals were able to make the shots as time wound down and secure a hard fought conference win.
“I think we’re on the upswing of where we need to be,” said Coach Long. “We have a lot of players new to varsity ball who are stepping up and filling some key roles.”
Bryce Decker had a monster night as he poured in 30 points including his 3 point barrage evoking memories of Bill Laimbeer the Pistons big man who could also can it from distance. Decker also pulled down a dozen boards. Long finished with 16, including 15 in the first half, and Dyllan Bazzett added 7.
Newaygo (1-1, 2-2) will resume play after Christmas break when they travel to White Cloud January 4th.
Everyone Scores As Schuitema Hits 1000
Story and photos by Mike Gesler
Grant 75 Chippewa Hills 21
The Tigers returned home tonight after losing two on the road to Reed City and Muskegon Oakridge. Grant was desperate for a win going into winter break to keep their season at .500, and to give them something positive to build upon. But needing a win was not the only monkey on the Tiger’s back. Seth Schuitema was fifteen points shy of hitting the one thousand career point milestone; an accomplishment that few players realize. The Tiger faithful had gathered in mass. The Chippewa Hills Warriors though could play the spoiler to both of Grant’s hopes.
The first quarter, to be perfectly honest, was brutal. Neither the Tigers nor the Warriors could get anything going. Call it nerves. Call it jitters. Call it whatever you like. Just don’t call it good ball. It was awful. It took four minutes before Lucas Swanson found the net for Grant. For Chip Hills it would be six minutes. And Schuitema was throwing nothing but bricks. At the end of the quarter, Grant had scored six to Chippewa Hills two, and Schuitema had only two to his name. Eight long minutes of play, and the score was 6-2.
Thankfully, there is more than one quarter of play in high school basketball. Coach Schuitema must have had some ammonia inhalants ready at the break and woke his team up…either that or it was Seth Schuitema’s first break-away dunk that finally got the Tigers back on track and finding their rhythm. But according to Schuitema, “Some would say the dunk definitely hyped us up.”
Grant roared back to life putting up twenty-eight while holding Chippewa Hills to three. The second quarter also saw Schuitema hit his one thousand career point achievement. “I’m happy for Seth to accomplish that goal of scoring a thousand,” shared Coach Schuitema. “We kind of got that monkey off the back. Now we can move on.” And move on they did. Grant dominated at the half 34-5.
The energy now flowing through the Tiger players was electrifying. By the time the fourth quarter rolled around, the starters were on the bench, and the bench was playing like they were the starters. The Tigers had complete dominance over the Warriors. “Really excited about getting back at home, and overcoming a really cold shooting first quarter, and playing defense, and getting steals, and sharing the ball, and having good energy,” stated Coach Schuitema. “I thought everybody that stepped in played the role that makes sense for them. That’s one of our goals; do what you do. We got to watch that for the last three quarters of the game today. Really proud of our young guys that haven’t had a lot of varsity experience that they were able to take care of business tonight in a way that was respectful to the game and the opponent.”
While Schuitema may have led with eighteen points, what’s more impressive is that each player of Grant’s team scored tonight. “We’re excited,” shared Coach Schuitema. “The guys all work hard. We’re looking at who we put in next, or who do we want to get on the floor, or maybe who needs to come off the floor. We have a lot of choices. I think everybody that stepped in made a contribution that makes sense to them in the fact that they got to score too is just extra special.”
Not to be overshadowed, Lucas Swanson also had double digits with twelve. Then the list goes Austin Whitney (9), Giovanni Follador (8), Mason Woodard (7), Chase Geers (6), Zach Barnhart (5), Gage Cronk (4), and Isaac Higgens, Jaxon Gragg, and Sawyer Carr each with two.
I asked Seth what his one thousand career point milestone meant to him. “I’m happy. I’m speechless to be honest. It’s such a special moment. My goal for like, all of high school.”
The Tigers enter winter break at .500 and 1-1 in the conference. They will return to play on January 4 at home against Sparta before tackling a challenging conference run.
Tigers Make A Statement
Story and photos by Mike Gesler
Grant 77 Chippewa Hills 36
The Chippewa Hills Warriors came onto Grant’s court tonight needing a win to bring their season to .500 before going into the winter break. The Tigers, on the other hand, were looking to show the Warriors that they are not the same team they were last year, and they were prepared to send out that statement to the rest of the CSAA Gold Conference.
“Coming into this game, we had the opportunity to go up above .500 two games going into break, 2-0 in the conference which is, for this program, huge,” stated Grant’s coach, Josh Delamater. “We been talking about the last few days sending a statement, and the first half, you saw that statement.”
And what a statement it was. The first half is all you need to know about this game. The Tigers came out aggressive and dictating the tempo of the game. Within three minutes and twenty seconds, Grant was up 12-1 before Chip Hills called a time out. Little good did that time out do. Grant continued to have their way against the Warriors going into the half with a 61-19 lead.
The girls wanted to break one hundred points against their battered opponents, but coaches often know better as Coach Delamater retracted the Tiger’s claws for the second half. But even that didn’t quite go as planned. “Kind of tough for us,” shared Delamater. “Our game is the tempo. We want the tempo to be in our favor all the time so the second half to come out, not being able to be up. We purposely put it all the way back. They were allowed to come down, kind of go through stuff slowly, and take advantage of their size a little bit. We are so not used to that that for the first few minutes it kind of shell shocked us a little bit, but then we got our composure and back into it.”
By the time the game clock hit zero, the Tigers put up an additional sixteen points while holding the Warriors to seventeen and a final score of 77-36.
Two Tigers saw double digits tonight. Chloee Chase led with thirty (twenty-one of those from above the arc), and Sara Arends with fourteen. “Chloee Chase, fantastic game for us,” shared Coach Delamater. “We’ve been waiting for her to get hot, and she definitely did. The senior starters, Sara and Jaycee, played very well tonight. Jaycee had six assists. Not sure with Sara, but she got going offensively tonight too.”
Also helping in the Tiger’s statement tonight was Jaycee Rider and Jayci Hance each with nine. Jocelyn Kruitoff put up seven. Julie Ashbaugh had four, and Makayla Zerlaut and Jocee Pleune each had two.
The Tigers look good going into the break, and have some real positives to build on. They will need those positives when play resumes as they will face a tough conference stretch starting with Tri County on January 7.
Friday Basketball Roundup
Packers Win A Pair, Panthers Lose A Pair, Red Devil Girls Drop Cloud
Photos by Renee Hanshue
Fremont 66 Central Montcalm 24
“We had great energy from the start against a short-handed Central Montcalm team. Our defense was outstanding, and we were very aggressive on both ends. When we play with that kind of effort, we are a dangerous team. Logan Nelson spearheaded our attack with his best all around game of the season, finishing with 8 points, 4 assists, and 5 steals. Jordon McDonald led the team with 14 points and also added 6 rebounds and 4 blocks. Chaz Miller chipped in with 5 points, 5 assists, and 4 steals in his first varsity game. It was a great team win and hopefully something we can build on.’
Lakeview 49 Hesperia 37
The Wildcats took a 31-21 lead into the locker room then held back the Panthers to post a 14-2 advantage in the 3rd to ice the conference win.
Coach Worcester: Discipline on our press break, turnovers, and depth on our bench certainly hurt us tonight. The second and third quarter’s we experienced quite a bit of matchup issues. However, I was certainly impressed with our two freshmen's abilities to step in and fill in and own their roles. My hats off to Coach Perez and his team.’
Zach Glenn led the Panther scoring with 13.
Hesperia (0-2, 1-3) will resume play after the break with a visit to Kent City.
Holton & White Cloud Postponed due to COVID concerns
Fremont 45 Central Montcalm 32
Fremont hosted Central Montcalm on Friday night and picked up the win 45-32. An 18 point opening quarter put Fremont in front 18-13. They then extended that lead to 30-18 at the half. The second half saw less scoring with the Packers holding an 8-3 advantage in the third quarter, before Central Montcalm set the final score with an 11-7 advantage in the fourth quarter.
Haley Zerlaut led the Packers' early scoring with 9 first quarter points, and finished with 17 points and 3 assists. Mia Witte added 10 points and 7 rebounds. Jessica Bennett tallied 8 points and 8 rebounds, while Lily VandenBerg also chipped in 8 points. The Hornets were led by Courtney Guelzo's 13 points.
Coach Zerlaut: "What a difference it makes when the ball goes in the basket. The girls played hard tonight, but the biggest difference tonight was that they made shots. We have been struggling to make shots, even close ones. We were 14-30 in the first half tonight, including 11-17 in the paint. We did a great job of getting those shots and the girls made them."
The Packers (1-1, 1-4) host Sparta on Tuesday before the holiday break.
Holton 44 White Cloud 37
The Red Devils snapped a 3 game win streak by the Cloud and evened their conference mark in a come from behind road win.
Coach Jordan: “We got down 8 in the first but had a 10-2 2nd quarter. This was a big win for us, Holton hasn’t beaten White cloud at the varsity level in 5 years.
So many girls stepped up for us tonight, ryann Robins who has been our foundation offensively was in foul trouble all night and picked up her 4th 1 min into the 3rd quarter and sat on bench until 6 minutes left in 4th
"Layla Cannady came off the bench and filled in for her very well in our zone for never running that position before.
"Very happy for June Newell. She has been struggling to hit her shots so far this year, but she came up with 2 huge 3's late in the 4th, as well as a couple. I've been telling her all week to just keep shooting and that they will eventually fall, tonight they did
Courtney Boes had 9 rebounds, but Abby Fowler really paced us well on both ends of the floor and had her best game of the year so far. She made a bunch of great passes tonight and set her teammates up well. She has been doing that all season to be honest.
"I've been preaching growth all season and this game we gutted it out, it was an intense game with high emotions."
This was a tough loss for sure, but I am proud of my team for fighting. Tonight a lot of our shots did not fall. Gaby Reeve had a huge game for us by scoring 22. Some positives to take away from the game was our free throw percentage was 80%, and our defensive intensity. We travel up to Reed City on Tuesday.
Lakeview 37 Hesperia 36
The Panthers came close to their first win clawing thorn way back in a road game but came up just short in the conference matchup.
Coach Grodus: Down 13-2 at the end of the first quarter and 19-8 at halftime we played a furious second half and had a 3 point lead with a minute to play. Lakeview hit the winning free throw with 2 seconds left. Our team never gave up. That will pay off as we gain experience.
Emmet Tinkham hit for 16 points to go with her team high 9 boards while Emma Joppich connected for 14 points.
Hesperia (0-2, 0-3)n return to action after the break at Kent City
Lions Defense Clips Cards
Lions Defense Clips Cards
Newaygo 52 Big Rapids 38
Story by Ken DeLaat photos by Alexis Mercer
The Lions came out hitting on all cylinders as they combined great ball movement and a smothering defense to stake a 15-4 lead after one. The Cardinals regrouped a bit in the second pulling within 6 midway through the period but their hosts possess a lot of firepower and after Lily Swinehart split a pair from the line Grace Painter, Isabella Welch and Jaxi Long canned consecutive triples answered by a single BR basket at the buzzer and intermission arrived with Newaygo holding a 27-15 lead.
The Cardinals weren't going to roll over though. There is a lot of talent on the Cardinal team and they came out of the locker room and were not about to make it easy for the Lions. Though the lead rarely got under 10 points the intensity on the floor made it seem like a seesaw battle in overtime. The Cardinals were getting some big buckets from Rylie Haist, Makenna Rautio and Jenna Williams but it wasn’t going to be enough. Emmerson Goodin stole a pass and ran the court for a pair, Swinehart fought for a rebound putting it back up for 2, drew a foul then drained the free throw and after a stop Goodin snared a rebound to score again. The Lions were heading into the 4th up by 15.
But again, the lead seemed irrelevant as the two teams played with stark intensity in the 4th. The game got physical and trips to the charity stripe were frequent. By games end two exhausted teams went down the line with the post game show of sportsmanship. It was interesting to see the way they looked at each other. Both teams knew they had been in a tough fight and both knew they would one day soon meet again and that next matchup would be on the Cardinal home court.
Goodin’s work in the paint continues to deliver for the Lions. Long is a stealth weapon who shook off the tough defense she faced whenever her team needed points and responded with nothing but net. Kayla Fisk is a defensive demon who has refined her game and learned to avoid fouls without losing her aggressive style of play.
Then there are this year’s newcomers to the lineup. Painter’s defense, Swinehart's nose for the ball and the sweet shot of Welch have added elements to the Lion game and complimented the impressive talents of the three returning starters.
And kudos to the Lion bench who spend their week preparing the starters and stand at the ready to come in when needed.
"Great team effort tonight for us. Big Rapids is a very well coached and a great defensive team and our secondary scorers like Painter, Swinehart and Welch stepped up with some big buckets for us. Also, I thought we played pretty well defensively. Painter and Fisk played really solid defensive basketball. All ten girls had a great week of practice and it showed."
Long led the Lions with 14 points, 5 assists, and 4 rebounds. Goodin dropped 13 points, grabbed 7 off the glass and nabbed 4 steals. Lily Swinehart and Grace Painter hit for 8 points apiece.
The Lions (2-0, 4-0) will take part in the Cornerstone Holiday Tournament Monday at 4:45. They will face GR Christian (0-1, 3-1) with the winner to face the survivor of Kent City and Forest Hills Eastern on Wednesday.
Friday Hoops: A Basketball Preview
By Ken De Laat
Big Rapids (3-2, 1-0) at Newaygo (3-0, 1-0)
The Cards are looking to derail the Lions hopes of repeating and they have a team worthy of a lot of respect. They lost a close one to a good Sparta team and had the wind knocked out of them by Kent City, as do most teams that face the Eagles. Haist can score as well as rebound and Gorczewicz and Langworthy should draw attention from the Lion defense. The Cards struggle against the press and Newaygo has a good one, led by Fisk who doggedly drives opponents into mistakes.
The Lions are at home, Goodin, Long and Fisk seem to be coming into full stride and Painter and Swinehart are fitting in well. That being said the hosts need to ignite the offense early. The Cards don’t have the firepower of the Lions but you don’t want to have them hanging around at games end.
Chippewa Hills (1-2, 0-1) at Grant (3-2, 1-0)
The Tigers have gone through a few growing pains already this season but they shook off a beating by Kent City to post 2 wins in a row. Against C. Park they let a lead slip away but rallied to wrest control back from the Panthers and notch the win. Ashbaugh has been the centerpiece of a pretty deep squad, but Arends, Pleune Hance, Chase, Rider and J. Kruithof can all find the bottom of the basket at any time. They will consistently score 50 or more points and while that won’t win every game, it should win this one.
Central Montcalm (0-3, 0-1) at Fremont (0-4, 0-1)
Tough call. One will get off the schneid after the buzzer but these teams are both better than their record. The Hornets ran into the Lions and perennial powerhouse Pewamo Westphalia for 2 of their losses but stayed close in the opener against Greenville. The Packers have struggled to stay in games and have been falling behind early. Averaging about 34 points a game, my hunch is they’ll need more to beat CM. Zerlaut and Witte can light it up when they get going and the Bennett sisters can score but the Packers need to avoid the cold streaks that have plagued them and forced the team to play from behind.
Holton (2-2, 0-1) at White Cloud (3-1, 1-0)
This one should be interesting. The Devils have some talented players but they don’t have a deep bench. Their losses were against a pair of pretty good teams who both play a physical style. Robins and Fowler are players in every sense of the word and when they get help the Devs can be pretty tough.
The Cloud has improved a lot since they were smothered by Grant in their opener. Three wins in a row and beginning to see some offense from Reeve, Derks, and Edwards while Scarlavai flashes her defensive prowess and scores when needed.
Hesperia (0-2, 0-1) at Lakeview (0-5, 0-1)
Again we have two teams searching for W #1.
The Panthers need to score more points. They know that, but someone needs to emerge beyond Tinkham and Joppich if they are to do so.
The Wildcats have similar scoring issues.
Neither team has been in a close game yet.
This one looks to be close and whoever can get to 40 will likely win.
Big Rapids (1-1, 1-0) at Newaygo (2-1,1-0)
The Cards seemed to be preseason favorites to defend their title but they have looked vulnerable with a loss to OV and a near loss to Fremont.
The Lions have Decker in the paint and Long is developing the kind of confidence in that sweet shot of his to be able to take over a game, ala sister Jaxi. The Lions would likely have to put together a game where all the elements meld together if they’re to win. Either way this game should tell us a lot about both teams.
Chippewa Hills (1-1, 0-1) at Grant (1-2, 0-1)
The Tigers need to score more points.
And as Mr. Obvious as that sounds, they are a team that will rise or fall on the production of their offense. Their game is fast paced and most times they will yield a lot of points so they need to outscore opponents.
And when they're cold, they’re in trouble.
The Warriors won’t light up the scoreboard so that falls in Grant’s favor.
But if the shooting begins to chill Schuitema or Follodar or Whitney will need to step up.
Central Montcalm (0-3, 0-1) at Fremont (1-2, 0-1)
Sandwiched between a win over Shelby and a loss to Whitehall was an overtime loss to a strong Big Rapids team. A team that looked to be well stocked with the talent needed to defend their title were almost taken down by the retooled Fremont lineup. Are the Packers that good? Did the Cards have an off night on the road? Had McDonald been on the floor in the final minutes…?
The Hornets have begun the season with 3 home games. They were edged by Newaygo and lost the other 2 games by double figures.
If the Packers are to be a contender they need to win this one.
Holton (2-0, 1-0) at White Cloud (2-1, 1-0)
The Red Devils have a team focused on repeating last year's success with another conference crown. Monette is having a banner season and Fowler, Brant & Co. are looking like a pretty cohesive group.
Reuther, Watson, and Bode have stuffed the WC stat sheet and Coach Jones has others who can get in the book as well.
The Cloud has one of it’s better teams in recent years but the Devils will be a tough hill to climb.
Hesperia (1-1, 0-1) at Lakeview (0-3, 0-1)
Two teams in search of more offense.
After dropping 51 on a struggling Walkerville team the Panther offense has been declawed, managing just 45 points in their last 2 games combined.
Those numbers won’t win many games.
The Wildcats can score from time to time but they can’t keep anyone else from scoring.
Might see some breakout offense from the players on Coach Worcester’s squad.
Red Devil Bowling
The Holton Keglers have been taking to the alleys as the bowling season has begun rolling. Coach Wagenmaker’s teams began the season Dec. 11 competing in a pair of matches at Lakeview as both teams split their matches on the day.
On Wednesday a league match with Orchard View saw the RD girls edge the Cards while the Holton boys were handled easily by OV.
CSAA Bowling results for Holton at Lakeview Alley Cat Saturday Dec. 11
Kent City defeated Holton 27-3
Samantha Tardani 138
EmmaLee Fox 107
Kent City defeated Holton 28-2
Tuff Scott 186
Chase Albright 182
Holton defeated Morley-Starwood 24.5-5.5
May Newell 122 and 105
Holton defeated Morley-Starwood 26.5-3.5
Tuff Scott 158
Chase Albright 155.
Holton vs Orchard View Wednesday December 15
Holton Def Orchard View 16-14
Leaders for Holton
Samantha Tardani 134 and 126
Orchard View Def Holton 29-1
Leaders for Holton
Chase Albright 143
Eli Crosby 138.
Girls: Devs, Cloud Post Wins; Pack, Panthers Fall Short
Boys: Lions Stop Wolves; Tigers, Packers, Panthers & Cloud Tagged With Losses
Cedar Springs 44 Fremont 37
The Packers traveled to Cedar Springs on Tuesday night looking for their first win of the young season, but were turned away in the end with a 44-37 defeat. Things looked good early for Fremont, as they jumped out to an 8-2 lead 3 minutes into the game. However, a 12-0 run to end the quarter put Cedar Springs on top 14-8 after one quarter of play. Cedar Springs held an 8-6 advantage in the 2nd quarter to lead 22-14 at the half. Fremont cut the lead to 28-22 after three quarters. Cedar Springs went on a run to increase the lead to double digits, before the Packers put their own string of offense together to get within 4 points midway through the fourth. However, they could get no closer and the 16-15 fourth quarter advantage for Cedar Springs set the final score.
Jessica Bennett and Haley Zerlaut each had 11 points for Fremont, while Kaitlynn Bennett had 8 points and 9 rebounds. The Packers were hurt by empty possessions in the fourth quarter due to turnovers, and the Red Hawks controlled the defensive glass late in the game.
Cedar Springs was led by Jesse Patin's 14 points, while Darrah Miller added 10.
The Packers host Central Montcalm on Friday.
Holton 32 Holland Black River 9
The Red Devils shook off last week’s pair of losses and evened their season record at 2-1 with a convincing road win over the Rats. The visitors dominated play from the opening tip flying to a 19-1 lead after the first quarter and went cruising into intermission up 24-2.
Coach Jordan: “After two tough losses getting this win and back to even on the season at 2-2 is something we needed to do. We made a few small strides tonight, we moved better on defense and executed at times on offense well, we just missed a ton of shots, but we were getting good looks and we will take that, shots will eventually fall.
“Big game for us on Friday against White Cloud, I know our best basketball is still ahead of us... we just need to build off of this win and keep improving.”
Fruitport Calvary 43 Hesperia 31
Emmet Tinkham knocked down 18 points and took down 8 rebounds but it wasn’t enough to overcome a determined Eagle squad who went on a dominating fourth quarter run to capture the win.
Down 27-21 entering the final frame the Eagle offense kicked into high gear scoring more in the 4th than their offense produced in the first 3 quarters.
And the Panthers could not stop them.
Coach Grodus: “Our young team continues to experience growing pains. The 4th quarter proved to be the difference.”
Emma Joppich finished with 9 points for the Panthers, now 0-2 on the young season.
Whitehall 63 Fremont 48
“Whitehall came out hot and shot the ball well in the first half. Our defense was not good in the first half, especially the first quarter. We made it close in the third quarter but we just could not make enough shots against their zone.
“Jordon McDonald had another strong game with 22 points, 8 rebounds and 3 steals. Gavin Richards had his second good game in a row with 9 points and 10 rebounds.”
Oakridge 66 Grant 45.
The cold shooting Tigers lost to Oakridge, 45-66. The Tigers stayed within striking distance at half, trailing 27-32 and at the end of the 3rd, 39-46. But, the host pulled away in the fourth.
Eight players scored with Seth Schuitema leading with 20. Mason Woodard added 6, Zak Barnhart and Giovanni Follador chipped in 5 each.
Mason County Central 57 White Cloud 33
The Spartans put an end to the Cloud’s 2 game win streak with a solid win over the hosts
Coach Smith:“We took one on the chin tonight. We just couldn't get on track tonight and struggled from the opening tip.”
Taylor Bode scored 12 points, Sal Saavedra-mena added 6,while Tray Brunson contributed 5 and Wes Penland 4.
Fruitport Calvary 70 Hesperia 19
The Eagles outscored the visiting Panthers 50-10 in the first half and coasted to the win
Coach Worcester: “Fruitport Calvary has a great team. We knew coming into this game it would be tough. Our guys committed to giving our team everything they had and I’m happy with that. Once we get our 2 starters back in the line up who missed tonight's game we can get back on track.
Gabe Gould led the Panthers in scoring with 5 points
Newaygo 71 Wellspring Prep 61
Newaygo pulled out a 10 point victory over visiting Wellspring Prep. The Wolves fell behind but continued to battle until the buzzer sounded. Newaygo played solid defense and used timely runs to pull out the win. The Lions (2-1) played a steady game and spread the scoring out between several players. Josiah Long led the team with 26 points (14/15 from the line) and added 4 assists and 5 rebounds, Bryce Decker) added 17 points and 11 rebounds and 3 assists, Jaden Osawabin had 10 points, Dyllan Bazzett netted 9 points and Grant Harkness recorded 5 rebounds.
White Cloud 51 Walkerville 10
Coach Wilk: "Tonight we put together our best game yet. Defensively we were sound. On offense almost everyone scored. Leading the way with 15 points was Abby Derks. Gaby Reeve added 11 points, and Jaden Gomez chipped in 8.
"As a coach it makes me happy that when we emphasize something in practice it carries over to the game. With that being said we will get back to the drawing board and prepare for Holton on Friday."
Packer photos by Renee Hanshue