By Ken DeLaat- N3 Sports
Tri County (2-2, 4-3) at Newaygo (1-3, 4-4)
The Lions keep knocking on the door but thus far they have either won big or lost close ones. The defense keeps teams within reach and when the team is hitting their shots they are unstoppable but when it goes cold it seems hard for them to regroup.Still, the team has a lot of talent and should they solve the ongoing 3rd quarter letdown that has plagued them the season should produce a good share of wins.
The Vikings have played two one point games in a row losing to the Coyotes and nipping the Tigers. If TC looks at tape they will focus on shutting off Jaxi Long so Jaylee Long,Goodin, Ruehmeier, Mathis, Frisbie et al. will likely get some scoring opportunities early on. If they can force the Vikes to call off the double team the Lions chances will look a lot better.
Especially if they hold their own coming off intermission.
Grant (3-1, 3-6) at Fremont (4-0, 5-3)
The Tigers haven’t played at home in nearly a month and now they visit a tough, albeit closer,venue in Fremont. Four of their games have been decided by 2 points or less. They stung a good Hornet team, outlasted the Coyotes and ran past the Warriors in their 3 Gold wins before TC knocked them from the conference top spot they shared with the Fremont.Throop, Rider and Longcore are among a bevy of Tigers who can find the hoop with regularity
The Packers are relentless. Shriver and Jamieson are all over the court, Miller does a nice job at the point and Curnett is a defensive demon.
Then there is Vandenberg who is putting together a run of dominant games.
They go deep into the bench and seem to believe in themselves and their teammates. The Pack doesn’t get rattled and twice we’ve seen them shake off early deficits to take control of games.
We said early on the conference race would be wide open and thus far the Packers have taken charge. The Tigers sit alongside BR one game behind. They need this one because a loss would put them 2 games behind a team that doesn’t look to lose many going forward.
Lakeview (0-3, 0-9) at Holton (0-3, 2-5)
Likely to be a low scoring contest. The Red Devils average only 28 points per game.
White Cloud (2-1, 5-3) at Morley Stanwood (2-0, 7-0)
The Cloud is a solid team and they should give the ‘Hawks a good game, but MS is home, undefeated and can light it up while playing good defense. They have taken apart lesser teams and earlier this week outlasted the previously undefeated Trojans of Lake City.
Should Strait,Bowman, the ever scrappy Scarlavai have huge games and the Cloud post players hold their own they might be able to grab one here with Morley having their sights on a trip to the Aerie next week.
But it looks to be an uphill climb in a tough venue.
Hesperia (2-1, 3-5) at Kent City (2-0, 7-1)
The Panthers have improved as the season has progressed.
The Eagles are simply a really good team whose only loss was earlier this week to the Big Reds of Muskegon, a game they nearly won against the co-leader of the OK Black a D1 power conference.
Coach Grodus has done a good job with the Panthers and taking down the Eagles in a conference game on their home court might be a bit too much to expect, but if you want to see perhaps the premier player in the CSAA come to the game take a look at KC’s Kenzie Bowers.
Tri County (1-3, 2-4) at Newaygo (1-3, 2-6)
How do you figure the Lions?
They haven’t won much and the teams they have beaten have only won a single game between them, but outside of the blowout at Morley they have given their opponents all they could handle including nearly pulling off a huge win on Fremont’s home court earlier this week.
Close may not count in the win column but this team seems to be getting to where they want to be. Rios, Mortensen, Magana et al. are scrappy players who can bang it with bigger teams and they have one of the best bench coaches around.
The Vikes can score but seem to struggle when it comes to keeping their opponents from scoring more. They have yielded 162 points in their last 2 games and BR dropped 85 on them in the season opener. Newaygo doesn’t possess that kind of firepower but look for them to put more on the board than the 41 they have averaged the last 3 contests.
Grant (3-1,3-5) at Fremont (4-0, 7-0)
The Tigers have quietly climbed into second place but they have yet to beat any of the top tier teams in the Gold, though they took CM to the wire before losing by a bucket. Chase, Schuitema and Long can rain down the points and the Tigers don’t get cheated in the paint though usually at a height disadvantage.
The Packer express nearly got derailed Tuesday when the Lions found a way to slow down the fast paced Fremont offense. They survived and it may have been a good experience in the long run for a team that has sprinted past a number of opponents enough to empty the bench on more than a few occasions.
Coach Zerfas will want to get his juggernaut offense going early meaning McDonald, Moon, and Campbell putting early numbers in the book or spreading the wealth enough to scatter the Tiger defense.The last thing the Packers want is for the game to be tight at the end given the propensity of the Tigers to hit from distance.
Lakeview (1-2, 2-5) at Holton (2-1, 5-3)
The Red Devils ran their winning streak to 3 on Tuesday and return to Silver play at home against a Wildcat team that has won two in a row but doesn’t score much and struggles against the better teams on their schedule.
Holton is one of those better teams and while they may not pour in the points they score a whole lot more than the ‘Cats and are playing in front of a friendly crowd on their home court.
Holton has Kent City coming in next week, a game that should provide a good gauge of where the Devs are at in terms of possibly challenging for a title, but Coach Houseman will ensure his team doesn’t look past this one.
White Cloud (1-2, 2-4) at Morley Stanwood (2-0, 6-0)
The defense of MS has been outstanding this season. Only the Hornets of CM have scored over 50 and the offense feeds off their play on the other end of the court.
The Cloud is coming off a tough OT loss to Hart. They don’t generally score a lot and are facing a tough defense on the road against a team that is undefeated.
The ‘Hawks have been idle for a week and a half and have a big game coming up Tuesday but a whole lot would have to fall WC’s way for them to have a decent shot against a team that has rolled past some good teams in their last 3 games.
Hesperia (0-3, 0-7) at Kent City (2-0, 3-2)
The Panthers are struggling through a tough year and average under 30 points a game. The Eagles are at home, have a lot of shooters, and have a Saturday contest before hosting co-contender MS on Tuesday.
Look for the Eagle starters to get some rest early on.