Grant story and photos by Mike Gesler
Kent City 65 Grant 53
The Grant Tigers opened up their 2019-2020 season against the Eagles of Kent City and while this was a non-conference matchup, the home fans were hoping to get a glimpse of what on paper appears to be a very competitive team. However, the Eagles wanted to show that they were every bit as competitive, and if the Tigers wanted a win they would have to earn it.
After a few moments of the opening tip-off, the first game jitters wore off and both teams settled into battle mode. Through the first quarter, Grant managed to stay slightly ahead of Kent City, but by the time the half buzzer sounded, Kent City went into the locker room with an eight point lead.
“I felt like we battled pretty well to start the game, and tried to establish that we were going to try to score inside. I thought we got some really good looks, but we didn’t convert. We got into a little bit of early foul trouble with Brett [Long], who is our best defender, and we asked guys to play a little bit differently in who they were defending. Kent City is solid. They pass the ball well, they shoot the ball well, they’re competitive, and they’re smart so they just kept giving themselves good looks. Even though our guys were hustling and moving around, [Kent City] still got some open looks and they knocked them down,” stated Grant’s coach, Joel Schuitema.
Grant came out of the locker room with a determination to turn things around. They kept the Eagles to only six points in the third quarter, and within two minutes of the fourth quarter brought the game within two points.
“I thought we were going to do something special there,” shared Schuitema. However, Kent City did what good teams do. Their lead player, Eli Carlson, drew a foul while putting one in the net. That was enough to swing the momentum back to Kent City as they proceeded to go on a ten point run. And while the Tigers continued to battle hard for an opening night win, in the end, Kent City would take this one from the home team.
“I’m happy for our guys to keep battling. Disappointed that we didn’t shoot the ball very well,” Schuitema shared. “Over all I don’t think that we scored shots that we should have scored so then you have to battle even harder. But that’s our first game, and sometimes that’s how it goes.”
Leading in the Tiger’s effort was Carter Chase with sixteen points followed by Orion Evans and Brett Long each with eleven points. Diesel Rose put up nine points, and Elliot Buchart and Cole Lesley each had four and two points respectively.
The Tigers play at home again on Friday evening at 7:30 against Central Montcalm.
Fremont 81 Shelby 45
The Packers got off to a good start in their opener by shellacking Shelby.
Coach Zerfas: “We jumped out to a big lead early at Shelby 27-16 in the first quarter and led 51-26 at halftime. Chris Kennedy led the way with all 20 of his points in the first half. Braiden McDonald had 10 of his 20 in the first half and Tristan Campbell had 10 of his 12 points in the first half. Our top 6 players sat the 4th quarter and we ended up having every player score. For the game; Chris Kennedy 20 points and 7 steals, Braiden McDonald 20 points and 8 rebounds, Tristan Campbell 12 points and 10 rebounds, Carter Moon 10 points and 5 steals, Joshua Zerfas 11 assists, 7 steals, 5 rebounds, Jaxx Miller 5 steals.”
The Packers will open conference play on the road Friday at Reed City.
Orchard View 80 Newaygo 54
The Cardinals flew past the Lions in the season opener for both teams by jumping out to a ten point lead after one and not allowing the visitors back into the game.
Coac Barrette: "We played hard, but not well. A good Orchard View team did an excellent job turning missed shots and mistakes into points"
The Lions begin conference play Friday when they face Chippewa Hills in Remus.
White Cloud 47 Mason County Eastern 45
The Cloud grabbed an early double digit lead but foul trouble and turnovers let MCE back into the game, only to see WC hold on for the win. Sam Venema led the way with 18 points, Steven Holt finished with 13 points including a pair of clutch triples down the stretch and Dexter Cox added a dozen.
White Cloud welcomes in Kent City on Friday for a Silver matchup.
Sparta 51 Holton 42
The Red Devils were up 14 to 5 after the first quarter but got into some foul trouble early and saw the edge shrink to a single point by intermission,22-21. The Spartans went ahead in the third and hung on to take the season opener for both teams. Drew Trygstad had 14 points, Nathan Slowik had 10, Lukas Ramaekers had 10, Aidan Poling had 7. Chip Wright and Kaleb Kitchka played solid minutes off the bench.
The Devs open league play Friday when they host long time rival Hesperia.