Pack and Lions Split
Lion Girls all alone in first, Packer boys tied with BR for top spot
Fremont 65 Newaygo 48
The Packers came in riding a 7 game win streak and keeping pace with Gold co-leader Big Rapids. The Lions were looking to get back in the win column after a tough loss to TC snapped their 2 game run on Monday.
The first quarter the teams stayed close with the visitors edging in front 18-14 with the help of Peyton Mansfield who was cleaning up the glass and muscling in shots when not going to the stripe. He posted half of the Packer points in the period.
The second saw the Lions claw back and take the lead behind a pair of baskets by Ashton Stephens and a couple of triples by McGowen. Midway through the second Fremont ran off 9 points in a row to go up 6 but the Lions got 2 more scores from Stephens driving the lane and a Decker bucket to trim the lead to 3 at intermission.
Then came the third.
Newaygo scored first to pull within point but it was the closest they would be for the rest of the game. The Lions struggled to get the ball inside and the outside game was coming up short. Meanwhile The Packers were getting help from a number of sources as they built a 15 point lead in the quarter.
The teams exchanged blows in the 4th as the Packers took the air out of the ball and ate up clock while finding opportune scoring chances.
Coach Long: “"The kids played hard all night and Fremont just hit shots in the third quarter and we did not.”Fremont played hard and they hit some big shots. They are a good team and play good together."
Brayden McDonald fired in 21 points with some acrobatic moves under the hoop and Mansfield dropped 17 for the Pack.
Bryce Decker continues to provide some power in the paint and led the Lions with 11 points while Josiah Long, Stephens and Wyatt Mortenson finished with 8 apiece.
Newaygo 53 Fremont 25
It was a quiet first quarter as the teams both struggled to find the bottom of the net and the Packers were fighting a case of the turnover blues. When the dust cleared and a Kaitluyn Bennet shot found paydirt the Lions were holding a slim 7-4 edge.
The second saw Anna Brummel hit from the wing, Jaylee Long drive for a pair and Grace painter finding it from long range and the lead ballooned to 10 before Abby VandenBerg stopped the bleeding with a bucket but not for long. Jaxi Long scored followed by a Brummell triple that was answered by Haley Zerlaut the Lily Swinehart dropped in 2 and the Lions went to their locker room up 21-9.
Things didn’t improve for the Pack after the break. Emmi Gooden, Jaylee Long and Kayla Fisk forged a 19-4 third and the hosts went on to take the conference matchup.
Goodin had a huge game on defense while leading the team in scoring with 19. Jaylee Long drained 11 tough points mostly with cuts to the paint and Fisk finished with 8 while slapping down some pretty effective defense on her often frustrated opponents. Brummel and Swinehart both hit for 5.
Mia Witte stuck a pair from beyond the arc to lead the Pack with a half dozen points. Zerlaut finished with 5 and Kaitlyn Bennett popped in 4.
Newaygo will host Grant Friday and Fremont will welcome in Tri County
Viking Buzzer Beater Tames Tigers, Warriors Cool Off Devils, Panthers Crush Crusaders, Eagles Alone Atop Silver After Clipping ‘Hawks
Photos by Sue Harrison
Tri County 67 Grant 64
Blake Nelson canned a three pointer at the buzzer to deliver the win for the visiting Vikings.
Grant took the lead early holding a 7 point lead after one and holding the same advantage at the break 31-24. TC came out of intermission strong and fought their way into a tie entering the final frame. Down 2 in the final minute Seth Schuitema drained a pair at the charity stripe to forge a tie and a possible overtime before Nelson hit his game winner.
Schuitema led the Tigers with 27 points with Orion Evans notching 10, Gage Burrows scoring 8 and Elliott Butchart dropping in a half dozen.
Grant (5-4, 5-6) will saunter up ‘37 Friday to face Newaygo
West Mich Christian 44 Holton 31
The Warriors and Red Devils played pretty even in the first half but the hosts couldn’t find the basket in the third as WMC stretched a 4 point lead into an even dozen heading into the fourth and held back the Devs for the win.
Coach Swanson: ”I thought we played well defensively. WMC did a great job of keeping us out of the paint, and I think their length bothered us at times. We will look at the tape and find ways to come out of this game stronger.”
Brodrick Fialek led the RD’s with 10 points while grabbing 3 rebounds and Aidan Poling scored 9 to go with 4 boards and 3 assists.
Holton (9-2, 6-0) will host Kent City Friday with a chance to put distance between themselves and the Eagles in the Silver race.
Hesperia 56 Muskegon Catholic 33
The Panthers took charge early with a 14-5 lead after one and by halftime cruised to a 32-18 edge.
Coach Grodus :” We got balanced scoring from 5 players. It was a scrappy game the whole way.”
Emily Bayle (18), Emmi Tinkham (12) Alison Homfield (10) Emma Joppich (8) and Rachel Romero (8) [provided that balanced offense while Tinkham added 7 boards, Bayle notched 7 steals and Romero dished out 4 assists.
Hesperia (3-4, 1-4) returns to conference play Friday when they host Morley Stanwood.
Kent City 43 Morley Stanwood 32
The Mohawks came into the Nest riding a 5 game winning streak and poised to take on their co-leader in the Silver in a battle for the top spot heading into the home stretch of the season.
A 9 point Eagle lead helped along by a pair of triples by Taryn Preston eva[orated quickly as the visitors climbed back to within 3 by the end of the first. MS took a one point lead in the second but a pair of Maddie Geers buckets put the Eagles back on top by the break.
The teams continued to battle for the lead in the 3rd but late in the third Maddie Geers dropped in another layup and Jenna Harrison found the nets from long range and the Eagles took a lead they would hold the remainder of the contest.
Harrison led the Eagle scoring attack with 15 points while Kenzie Bowers knocked down a dozen. Maddie Geers finished with 8 key points for KC.
Kent City (11-0, 6-0) will take their undefeated record to OK White powerhouse East Grand Rapids for a Saturday afternoon contest.
Tri County 47 Grant 32
Holton 64 Lakeview 36
In a game that resembled their matchup in Holton 2 ½ weeks ago the Devs took charge early and never let the ‘Cats back contention.
Coach Swanson: I really liked our defensive rotations tonight and we’re happy to get an important league win.”
The victory kept the Red Devils alone atop the Silver with a huge rematch coming up Friday when Kent City comes to town. In between Holton will be facing off with West Michigan Christian on Wednesday.
Brodrick Fialek, paced the Devs with 5 points adding t5 rebounds and 3 steals
Wyatt Monette hit for 13 points and Aidan Poling fired in 11 to go with 6 steals.
Carter Brant finished with 8 points, Kevin Erickson drained 7 and Austin Fowler matched his 6 boards with 6 points.
Holton 40 Lakeview 31
Madi Bosset let loose with 16 points to lead the Red Devils to their first back to back wins of the season in a conference matchup with the Wildcats.
Holton grabbed an early 12-4 lead after one and stretched the advantage to 26-12 by the half. The hosts rallied in the final frame to pull within 4 but the Devs hung on to seal the win
Coach Mason: “The team had a hard fought game. We saw some resiliency from our team tonight, we sort of had our backs against the wall but the girls didn’t give up or back down.. Defensively Courtney Boes had some very big rebounds and contested shots late.
“Proud of the girls for not giving up and believing in each other late in the game.”
Ryann Robins hit for 7 points and Jasmine Vriesman scored 6.
Morley Stanwood 64 White Cloud 44
Coach Jones: “We hung pretty tough in the first half, down just 9 at halftime.The second half we just simply got out played.”
Same Venema led the Indians with 19 points while Jaren Watson added 8 and Dexter Cox scored 5.
Morley Stanwood 50 White Cloud 33
The ‘Hawks stayed undefeated in the Silver and headed for a Wednesday night clash with co-leader Kent City as they handed their visitors from WC their second loss in a row..
After falling behind early the Indians got within 4 at the break but MS broke away in the third entering the 4th with a solid 19 point lead.
Alexis Strait dropped in 19 points, Carsyn Scarlavai finished with 6 points and 3 assists and Cassie Watson added 5 points and 7 rebounds.
White Cloud will look to get back on track when Lakeview visits on Friday.
Lions Finish Game Strong to Beat Aggressive Vikings
By Alexis Mercer
Newaygo 56 Tri-County 48
Going into the fourth quarter the Newaygo Lions were down by 4 points. One player was not at the game, meaning only 7 players were sharing time. Kayla Fisk, one of the Lions key defensive players, was sitting the bench due to having racked up 4 fouls.
Instead of playing scared or backing down against an extremely aggressive and determined Viking team, the Lions stepped up their game and made sure to drain their free throws. Newaygo was not about to allow a Conference loss now with only a few weeks left in the season.
Tri County put themselves in a position to win right from the beginning of the 1st quarter. They were playing aggressively on defense, not allowing any Lions anywhere near the basket uncontested and taking advantage of the shots they were able to take on offense.
Newaygo, on the other hand, was having a hard time seeing the bottom of the net offensively and was getting called for fouls on defense. Anna Brummel was the shining light, dropping three 3 pointers smooth as silk for the Lions, keeping them in the game multiple times.
As the time clicked off the clock, the Lions stepped up. They made opportunities for themselves inside and handled the ball well, forcing the Vikings to foul Jaxi Long, who proved her calm confidence by making 9 of 10 free throws.
Jaxi Long led the Lions with 21 points, 4 assists and 4 rebounds. Emmerson Goodin had a double double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Anna Brummel had 11 points and 4 rebounds.
Coach Nate Thomasma said "The girls showed some toughness tonight. Tri-County came out and really handed us our lunch in the 1st quarter. The girls responded and were able to battle back in the 4th quarter to get the win. I am proud of their resilience.”
Newaygo improves to 8-1 (7-0 in conference)
Tri-County falls to 3-4 (3-4 in conference)
Three in a Row For Packer Girls; Vikings Nip Lions; Cloud Clips Cards; Eagles Fly Past Panthers
Fremont 48 Grant 35
The Packers began the second half of the conference season with a goal of improving on the first time through. So far, so good.
Fremont avenged an 8 point loss to the Grant Tigers just a few weeks ago with a 48-35 victory on Monday night. In contrast to the first time the two played and combined for only 5 points in the first quarter, both teams started better this time and combined for 25 points in the opening quarter, with Fremont holding a 16-9 edge. The second quarter saw a 9-6 Packer advantage, and a halftime score of 25-15. The second half saw a Grant surge that got the lead down to as few as 6 points but the Packers still held a 35-26 edge at the end of the third, and they then outscored the Tigers 13-9 in the final quarter to set the final score.
Fremont was led by Calla Miller's 22 points, 6 rebounds, 5 steals, and 5 assists. Bri Webber scored 8 points, including two triples. Kaitlynn Bennett added 8 rebounds for the Packers. Grant was led by Sara Arends' 9 points. The win was the third in a row for Fremont, and improves them to 3-6 overall, 3-5 in the conference.
Coach Zerlaut: "The girls continue to improve every day. I said it two weeks ago, and still believe it, we can be a good basketball team. It took us a while to get it figured out, but I like how we are playing together right now. We will try to get better at practice tomorrow to get ready for a very good opponent in Newaygo on Wednesday."
Tri County 58 Newaygo 55
The Lions and Vikes went at it Monday in a hard fought game that went the way of the hosts.
Coach Long: "Both teams competed hard and Tri County found a way to pull it out in the end."
Bryce Decker had a big night for the Lions knocking down a team high 18 points while peeling 14 off the glass. Ashton Stephens provided support in the paint with 8 boards to go with his 14 points and Wyatt Mortenson also hit for double figures finishing with 11.
The Vikings were paced by Blake Nelson who scored 20 points. Ty Merlington added a dozen and Nate Lovell tallied 10.
Newaygo hosts Fremont Wednesday.
Kent City 61 Hesperia 19
The Panthers have struggled getting the ball in the basket thus far this season and Monday’s game in The Nest didn’t improve those fortunes.
Coach Worcester: “We came into our second meeting with intentions of having a better turn out offensively than the first meeting. We had opportunities for shots from our offensive sets, but again our poor shooting hurt us.”
The Eagles ran off 20 unanswered points in the first and cruised to the conference victory.
Armando Escobedo scored 10 points for the Panthers.
“We have a game against Crossroads tomorrow in Big Rapids.,” added Coach W. “We hope to use what we have learned tonight and improve.”
White Cloud 48 Mason County Eastern 42
Looking to snap a 2 game losing skid, Cloud traveled to Custer to face MCE and came away with the non-con win.
Coach Jones: ”Balanced scoring and good defense were the keys to tonight's victory.”
Three WC players reached double figures led by Sam Venema’s 12 points. Mason Ruether hit for 11 and Taylor Bode netted 10 while Alex Elder posted 7 points and Dexter Cox finished with a half dozen.
White Cloud (2-3, 3-5) will resume conference play Tuesday at Morley Stanwood.
Story and photos by Mike Gesler
Fremont 58 Grant 55
Even though the pandemic has severely limited attendance and almost silenced the atmosphere at our Newaygo County rivalry games, on the court one would be hard pressed to feel any impact at all. When Grant and Fremont get together, you know, pandemic or not, it’s going to be a battle. These two teams will dig in, exploit their opponent’s weaknesses, and fight to the bitter end. So while the first half of tonight’s game gave Grant fan’s little to cheer about, the second half had Fremont fan’s holding the collective breath with fingers and toes crossed.
“I thought our kids did a really good job early, but at Grant they are never going to go away,” shared Fremont’s coach, Peter Zerfas. From the start, the Packers were patient with the ball, passing, not rushing shots, waiting for Grant to make a mistake and then capitalizing. That patience gave Fremont a slight four point edge at the end of the first. But then the second quarter came. Fremont created turn over after turn over. The Tigers found themselves flat-footed, leaving their inside open, and watching a four point deficit grow to fifteen by the time the half buzzer sounded.
Now to a casual fan, at this point, this game appeared to be an easy one for Fremont. But Grant came out of the locker room determined to prove that fifteen points were but a mere flesh wound rather than the death blow Fremont fans hoped for. During the third, the Tigers frustrated the Packers by not allowing Fremont the looks from behind the arc and shutting down the inside lanes. It was the only quarter where one of the teams was held to single digits which allowed Grant, who still wasn’t quite firing on all cylinders, to chisel the lead down to a ten point difference. And then came the fourth quarter.
With ten points separating the two teams, Fremont and Grant locked into the battle going toe-to-toe. If Grant hit a three, Fremont answered with a three. If Grant put two on the board, Fremont answered with two. But then the bane of Fremont’s weakness reared its ugly head. Rather than having the chance to slow the pace down with their patient ball handling, Fremont suddenly found themselves at the line and the line was not the Packer’s happy place tonight. They had already missed seven straight free-throws in a row. Grant took full advantage of this weakness scoring ten to Fremont’s three, and with thirty seconds left in the game brought the defect to within one. The Packers then turned over the ball which gave the Tigers an easy two and found themselves in the lead for the first time.
Unfortunately, the Tigers were then called for a technical with twenty-three seconds left. Fremont hit three of their four free-throws plus got the ball back. Another trip to the line with nine seconds left gave Fremont one more point to make their lead by three which would hold for a Packer victory.
“We’ll take any win that we get here,” added Zerfas. “We talk about three things all the time to win basketball games and that’s take care of the ball, limited the other team’s offensive rebounds, and make free-throws. And tonight we had a fifteen point lead, and missed seven straight free-throws. I mean I really think we could have bumped that over twenty, and then it doesn’t get close. Credit to Grant. We missed our free-throws. They came down. They made a lot of shots, and a lot of different kids made shots to get them back into the game.”
Well, a typical Grant Fremont game down to the end. I wish we would be the ones on the victorious side,” Grant’s coach, Joe Schuitema, disappointingly shared. “I thought our guys really competed hard in the second half to erase a fifteen point deficit. I felt like it was a good effort in the last thirty-five seconds to try to for a couple of jump balls. I think our guys competed, and got after it, and it’s unfortunate but we’ll move on.”
Fremont was led by Braiden McDonald with twenty-two points, and Joshua Zerfas with seventeen. Also contributing to the Packer’s victory was Jordon McDonald (8), Lane Converse, Payton Mansfield, and Logan Nelson each with three, and Chase Rasmussen with two.
The Tigers were led tonight by Seth Schuitema with nineteen, and Orion Evans with sixteen. Elliot Butchart (8), Gage Burrows (6), Cole Lesley (4), and Brett Long (2) also contributed.
Kent City 62 Hesperia 30
The Panthers ran into the scoring machine that is Kent City Monday night as the Eagles took charge early scoring 22 in each of the first 2 quarters to take a 44-12 lead by the break and cruise to their 10th straight win.
Coach Grodus: “ Kent City is a well coached, talented team. We played hard tonight but against a team as good as Kent City there is no margin for error.
Emily Bayle accounted for much of the Panther offense hitting for 18 points while Emmi Tinkham managed to pull down 8 rebounds with some determined play in the paint.
Hesperia (2-4, 1-4) visits Muskegon Catholic Wednesday while Kent City (10-0, 5-0) hosts Morley Stanwood who share the top spot in the Silver with the Eagles.
Holton 47 Pentwater 32
The Devs took an 11-5 lead after one then increased the lead in every quarter on the way to the non-con road win over the Falcons.
Coach Mason: “The Offense started taking shape tonight we had better ball movement and rebounded better as well. Seniors Madi Bosset and Jasmine Vriesman stepped up big for Holton tonight!”
Bosset finished with a game high 18 points while Ryann Robins hit for 9. Vriesman and Abbie Fowler each dropped in 8
Holton (3-6, 1-4) resumes conference play Tuesday when they travel to Lakeview to face the Wildcats.
If you love the sights and sounds of basketball being played in our local gyms you also are aware of the hard work and perseverance that goes into wearing those unis on winter evenings.
Whether a starter, a role player or one of the players who primarily provide preparation during practices, these cagers all need to be recognized for their efforts.
N3 will be selecting a Player of the Week from both the Girls and Boys teams. Whether nominated by a coach or chosen by our contributors we will strive to highlight some of the hoop heroics that fill those local gyms we mentioned.
This week's honorees:
Aidan Poling, Holton
The Red Devils are having themselves quite the season and Poling is the heart of this team putting up numbers while slapping down some tough defense. His high teens scoring average took a hit in their last game when he finished with just 13 points but they were all scored in the first quarter in a rout that saw him give way to the bench players.
Coach Keith Swanson: "Aidan is an absolute talent. A selfless player who leads our team in every way imaginable on and off the court. Some college would be incredible smart to give him some money to play basketball for them next year.”
Calla Miller, Fremont
When Miller first hit the floor as a freshman what struck us the most was her confidence. If she was nervous it didn’t show and hasn’t since. She plays with a sense of fearlessness and she makes the players around her better.
Calla's 10 points down the stretch iced their recent win over Reed City.
Coach Zerlaut: “Calla gives great effort on both ends of the floor in games, as well as in practice. She leads us in many statistical categories, but also leads by example in how she plays the game. She is a fierce competitor that leaves everything she has got on the court.”
Thome notches #100 on a pin as Pack barely edged by state ranked CH
The Fremont Packers were at Chippewa Hills for their first night of CSAA Conference competition.
The first dual was against the Grant Tigers, and the Packers won 57-10. Posting victories were:
Cody Visscher, RJ Thome, Tee Ward, Eli Beasley, Braulio Gomez, Trey Myers, Gage Montague,
Matt Lucas, Jager Kibart, Trey Breuker and Michael Romero.
Next up for the Packers were the Vikings of Tri-County. The Packers won 10 of the 14 weight classes and came away with a victory of 60-19. Winners were: Thome, Ward, Beasley, Daniel Romero, Myers, Alex Gleason, Kibart, Breuker, M. Romero and Colby Wright.
The final showdown of the night was against state-ranked Chippewa Hills. It was a tough battle with both teams winning 7 weight classes apiece, but the Warriors of Chip Hills edged the Packers 34-33. The 7 Packers that won were: Ward, Beasley, D. Romero, Montague, Kibart, Breuker and Thome.
The highlight of the evening was RJ Thome (103) winning his 100th career victory against Robert VanVleet of Chippewa Hills with a pin in 27 seconds.
Devs keep it going; Lions, Tigers, Pack post wins; Eagles outlast Cloud
WC/KC photos by Sue Harrison
Holton 69 Hesperia 21
Holton made it 6 straight while maintaining a stranglehold on the top spot in the Silver as they visited their rivals from the north and game away with a resounding victory over the Panthers.
Coach Swanson: ”I’m pleased with how the guys came out focused and aggressive.”
Coach Worcester: “We had a hard time defending the perimeter against Holton tonight; they put up 9 three pointers tonight. We improved tremendously on breaking the press tonight, however we still need improvement on shooting and capitalizing on our shot opportunities. Turnovers still remain an issue but we will continue to stress fundamentals and patients on the offense of end instead of rushing..”
Aidan Poling dropped in 13 points before taking a seat after one and Bret Hosmer hit for a game high 18.
Austin Fowler and Carter Brant each hit for 9 while Kevin Erickson and Brodrick Fialek finished with 8 apiece. Erickson added 9 boards and 4 steals and Fowler collected 4 rebounds and also tallied 4 steals.
Holton (5-0, 8-1) will visit Lakeview Tuesday as they embark on the second half of their conference schedule. Hesperia (0-5, 0-7) will visit Kent City.
Newaygo 58 Chip Hills 51
In a back and forth battle on the road the Lions managed to pull away at the end for the win led by a trio of players reaching double figures in scoring. Ashton Stephens canned 17 points, Bryce Decker dropped in 14 and Wyatt Mortensen added another 10 as Newaygo won their second straight and evened their conference mark at 3-3
Stephens filled the stat sheet adding 13 boards and a half dozen assists to his points.
Hayden Mackenna was a demon on defense creating 3 steals and forcing the tempo.
Coach Long: "The team played hard and responded well to the pressure from Chippewa Hills. I thought tonight was a team win as everyone contributed."
Newaygo (3-3, 3-4) continues conference play Monday when they travel to Tri County Monday to take on the Vikings.
Grant 74 Central Montcalm 68
The Tigers took a 10 point lead after one and had their hosts down 37-20 by intermission enroute to the conference win
Coach Schuitema: “ Balanced scoring with 8 players contributing and solid defense for 3 quarters were the keys to the game.”
Seth Schuitema paced the Tigers with 28 points , followed by Gage Burrows who hit for 13. Cole Lesley and Brett Long added 9 points each.
Grant (4-2, 4-4) was to face Chip Hills Saturday before a Monday rematch with conference co-leader Fremont Monday.
Fremont 64 Reed City 37
The Packers notched their 6th straight win up in Reed City in a game that looked to be much closer.
Reed City has played down to the wire with every team and came into the contest with a 3-2 league record including delivering Big Rapids their only loss of the season. Fremont jumped out to a 16-6 lead after the first quarter and extended it to 40-21 at halftime behind very balanced scoring with 8 players entering the scoring column in the first half.
After the half the Pack built up a 27 point lead before Reed City scored a few buckets to make it 51-31 entering the 4th.
That was the closest the Coyotes got for the remainder of the contest.
Braiden McDonald led a balanced scoring attack with 20 points and 10 rebounds while Jordon McDonald knocked down 10 points and grabbed 7 rebounds. Joshua Zerfas finished with 7 points, 10 assists and 5 steals and Lane Converse added 9 points and 3 steals. Logan Nelson hit for 7 points and Chase Rasmussen scored 5.
Fremont (7-2, 6-12) will visit Grant Monday to take on the Tigers.
Kent City 53 White Cloud 41
The Cloud came out strong holding back the Eagles long enough to take a 4 point halftime edge into the locker room but the hosts came out of the break on a mission. The Eagles dominated the third holding their visitors to just 7 points while dropping 23 on them to take a 12 point lead, a margin that would hold up for the remainder of the contest
Kyler Larson led the KC offense with 16 points, Hayden Carlson finished with and Casen Armstrong knocked down 11.
White Cloud (2-3, 2-5) will visit Mason County Eastern on Monday.