By Ken DeLaat
In the half bath at N3 World Headquarters and Cloistering Camp one will find a bit of a shrine (as well as a throne of course).Visitors to this sanctum see a lot of baseball related paraphernalia scattered about the one room I was given to decorate all by myself. A glance around the room finds it rife with relics like a bat, a mitt and ball, several photos, player cards, and other items that reveal a keen focus on one particular player.
The announcement of his passing today was the latest in the ever growing roster of famous people from my youth leaving us. Al was an icon and though not Willie Mays Hank Aaron or Mickey Mantle he was ours.
And he was damn good.
Always a baseball fan but more importantly always a Tiger fan. I recall starting in earnest to follow the game as soon as I could read and decipher the sports pages. This was circa ‘57 or so and the beloved Tigs weren’t exactly at their best during those early years. Prior to ‘57 they had a ’6 year run of failing to finish in the top half of the 8 team American League and that first year of my baseball reckoning they finished a lofty 4th They hovered around the .500 mark mostly those years. And it was during that time a deep and personal loathing of the Yankees flourished. The Yanks crushed the Tiger hopes each year running away with the majority of the pennants and a good share of the World Series titles.
Bulldog Frant Lary was a known Yankee Killer from the mound and Don Mossi gave them fits but they hammered on Jim Bunning and Paul Foytack and most of the rest of the American League those days. Even in 1961 when the Tigs ran off 101 victories their 3rd most wins ever, the Yankees finished the season 8 games in front of them. My favorite non-Tiger World Series was the ‘60 version when the Pirates upset the Bronx Bombers. Not because I was fond of Pittsburgh but because I loved seeing the Yanks lose.
But I digress.
Throughout those years of pennant futility there was one constant.
Kaline brought respectability to a team that was often staffed on the field with a good dose of mediocrity .Lou Berberet, Milt Bolling, Steve Bilko and Coot Veal aren’t exactly household names but they were the kind of players one would see filling out a lineup that always had Big Al batting third and playing right field.
When they finally got it together in the latter part of the 60’s coming oh so close in ‘67 and culminating in the ‘68 season when they won it all, Kaline was a huge part of their success. Then finally, after a decade and a half of ‘near misses’ and many ‘not even close’ seasons, he had the chance to play in his one and only World Series where he hit .379 belted two homer and two doubles scored 6 times and drove in 8 runs.
Later he would move to the broadcasting booth teaming with George Kell as the two swapped stories while pointing out what was happening on the diamond below for just over 20 seasons.. TheTigers haven’t even come close in their efforts to replace the two since they departed.
I’ve written before about meeting Ernie Harwell during an interview when he spoke in Fremont years ago. Ernie was the voice of my youth and he often used that voice to speak of Kaline’s accomplishments.
But I never got to sit down with Kaline…though I did have a chance encounter with him once.
Back around the early 70’s the Lions and Cleveland Browns held an exhibition game at U-M stadium. My friend Jim wangled a pair of great seats about 45 yard line maybe 10-15 rows back. It was a hot August day and we had somehow brought copious amounts of beer into the stadium which we imbibed in frequently (like I said it was pretty hot) which led to a most necessary trip to the Men’s facility.
My chosen destination had an unusual set up with urinals kind of facing each other in long rows. Then, right in the middle of my...uh...action, I guess, I glanced down the aisle and about 6 spots over facing the other way was Kaline. Al Freaking Kaline.
I threw my free hand up and yelled “AL!”
He looked over and put his hand up slightly in one of those ‘duly acknowledged but keep it down’ kind of gestures.
I stared down toward him as he completed the task and walked away, then once finished I returned to my seat.
I told Jim, ‘Hey, I just ran into Al Kaline in the bathroom”
“Really? Did you guys talk?”
“What do you mean 'kind of'?”
“Well... he waved at me."
Back row (l to r): Assistant Coach Jason Long, Manager Trevir Kral, Assistant Coach Dan Maki, Anna Brummel, Madison Berwald, Sophia Frisbie, Jessica Sanchez, Riley Goff, Kendall Mathis, Kyla Rounds, Amaya Nelson, Coach Nate Thomasma Front row (l to r): Lily Ruehmeier, Emmerson Goodin, Kayla Fisk, Jaxi Long, Jaylee Long
The basketball season was cancelled and the magical run by the Newaygo Lions came to an end not as a loss to a team but to a virus that shut down the season and has altered the lives of all of us.
In covering local basketball over the years there have been a select few teams that have held a special place in my heart. Teams that just seemed to have the kind of personality designed to make you want to root for them.
This was one.
As a gift to the Lady Lions for the courtside thrills they produced it seemed fitting to speculate on what may have happened had the team been allowed to take on the highly regarded West Catholic squad in the Regional Final.
And thanks again, girls. Fun ride.
It was a classic.
The West Cathloic victory machine that had rolled through their schedule with but one loss an early season stumble against a strong Reeths Puffer squad came into Sparta teeming with confidence after seeing the team they had long set their sights on lose to upstart Newaygo.
Instead of a battle of basketball titans, a final featuring the #2 and #3 teams in D2, the Falcons would be taking on a team that finished 5 games behind their conference co-leaders. A team no one expected to be playing in the Regional finals.
Except for the players themselves and their coaches.
After getting past the Packers in the district opener, a team that had twice beaten them during the season they got it going with a pair of convincing wins to head to the Regionals.
There they would be looking at GR Christian, the team that seemed destined for a finals matchup with WC.
But Jaxi Long capped an epic performance by her team when she canned a three pointer from way way downtown and a shocked Eagle squad left the court wondering what had happened.
But now they were up against a team featuring Falcon #1, sophomore sensation and D1 recruit Abbey Kimball, along with all conference teammates Maddie Smith who could light it up from outside, Chrysta Daetwiler, Mia Mileski and freshman phenom Cadence Dykstra.
A lot of talent to overcome as well as a distinct advantage in size for the scrappy Lion girls.
After WC’s Smith ripped a triple off the opening tip and a steal and bucket by Kimball, the Lions broke the Falcon press and got the ball into the hands of Lily Reuhmeier who got the basket and a trip to the free throw line where she converted to make it a 5-3 game.
The next few minutes saw the teams going at it with wild abandon, as Kimball and Jaylee Long battled for breathing room and Mileski tossed a blanket on Jaxi Long denying her possession at every turn.
In the meantime, it was Emmerson Goodin who was battling for boards and finding her way to the hoop for 6 of the Lions 15 first quarter points. Sophia Frisbie seeing the Longs tied up kept feeding Goodin and Reuhmeier to keep pace with a Falcon squad that seemed to score at will.
The opening period ended with WC holding an 18-15 lead.
A slow start to the second saw the Falcons jump out to an 8 point advantage and Coach Nate Thomasma called time and inserted sophomore Kayla Fisk.
Fisk responded with a steal and sent a pass to a wide open Jaxi, who fired it in for three, followed by a Jaylee steal that led to her going to the line where she converted a pair and Newaygo was back in the game trailing by just 3.
Falcon Coach Jill VanderEnde, who had been a member of West’s state runner-up team in ‘95, called time and her team came out employing a trapping defense once again. A couple of quick turnovers extended their lead but Frisbie buried a pair of triples and Fisk played havoc with the Falcon backcourt leading to a pair of stops.
The teams hit the break with West holding a 3 point edge and the look in their eyes told it all. They knew this was a good team they were up against but the Falcons had dominated the OK Blue and were capable of holding teams down with their rugged defense. This was a Lion team that kept getting up off the canvas whenever a punch was delivered. A team that never conceded a single point and fought for everything they got.
The Lions came out of intermission to the roar of a substantially pro Newaygo crowd. Their fans, particularly the student section, bellowed their approval for this team of underdogs who went through their warmups with fire in their eyes and exuding a confidence that seemed to transcend the talent of the Falcon team.
The second half began like the first except this time it was the Lions who jumped ahead. Frisbie found Kendall Mathis open for a pair of quick buckets and when Fisk deflected a pass it was picked up by Jaylee who ripped a three.
Jaxi and Smith twice traded a pair of triples and Goodin fought off a double team to score and draw the foul which she converted and suddenly the Lions had taken charge.
Then Kimball caught fire.
She scored, forced a turnover and scored again. After Mathis split a pair at the other end Kimball drove for a basket and foul, stole an inbound pass and hit again drawing yet another foul and the Falcons moved in front taking a 2 point lead into the final frame.
The 4th was an all-out free for all. Scoring was a premium as the two squads were battling fatigue and yet bringing everything they had to the action taking place on the court.
As time wound down Kimball fired a pass to Smith who hit a three to give WC a one point lead with less than a minute left. The Lions called time and the air in the Sparta gym grew thick with tension and apprehension.
The Falcons drew back, picking up Frisbie at the half court line. She and Jaylee worked the clock down to just under 20 seconds before finding Mathis who spun to the outside and pushed it out to Jaxi. As time slipped to the 10 second mark Jaxi took the shot but a streaking Kimball leapt to deflect the shot.
That’s when the ball found its way into Frisbie’s hands. The senior gathered the ball and let it fly knowing the shot would determine if she had played her final game as a Lion.
The off balance toss found the backboard and banked in at the buzzer to give the Lions their 2nd major upset in three days.
The Lions were heading for the quarterfinals. The team who gave up size, depth, and everything else to the teams they had just vanquished.
Everything, that is, but heart.
This was a team of destiny. A team that was molded on the practice floor from day one with a bench consisting of Anna Brummel, Madison Berwald, Jessica Sanchez, Riley Goff, Kyla Rounds, and Amaya Nelson more than willing to give the starters all they could handle in practice to prepare them for the games as well as standing ready when called on to take the court.
A team that could overcome adversity and stare failure in the face refusing to yield to it.
A team that flat out would refuse to lose.
As they drank in the sweetness of victory surrounded by the fans who have embraced them this season the smiles on their faces told it all.
After the game in a group interview they joked and teased each other about the game.They gave the Falcon girls a lot of credit and did the same with their coaches.
Then one of them said ‘Who do we play next?”
And another answered. “Doesn’t really matter does it?”
And they laughed again.
Ken DeLaat- N3 Sports
The All Conference Wrestlers including Honorable Mention Grapplers from our coverage schools.
RJ Thome Fremont
Joe Perez Lakeview
Aydan Rosely Hesperia
Kaiden Pascoe Grant
Gavin Miller Chippewa Hills
Blake Peak Central Montcalm
Billy Ostyn Grant
Gage Breuker Fremont
Carson Hayes Chippewa Hills
River Roberson Hesperia
Mack Baird Hesperia
Brady Jacobs Grant
Craig Wernette Chippewa Hills
Matthew Halasinski Fremont
Brenden Kurtze Lakeview
Brock Ryan Central Montcalm
Austin Hancock Lakeview
Jager Kibart Fremont
Trey Breuker Fremont
Kellen Haney Reed City
Gabe Petoskey Chippewa Hills
Chase Knudsen Fremont
Clayton Wiggins Chippewa Hills
Michael Romero Fremont
Carl Whipple Chippewa Hills
Caleb Thompon Grant
Colby Roosa Chippewa Hills
Nick Prater Tri County
112 Riley Moore Holton
119 Graham Resterhouse Holton
125 Rice Robins Holton
130 Joe Millett Grant
140 Korbin Klaus Hesperia
145 Jayden Joseph Newaygo
160 Nolan Corvers Grant
171 Joseph Crowell Holton
215 David Yoder Newaygo
215 Kyler Kolk Fremont
285 Cody Visscher Fremont
2019-2020 BOYS BASKETBALL
Gunner Hill (12) Central Montcalm
Trenton Shaffer (12) Central Montcalm
Asher Vissman (12) Central Montcalm
Carter Chase (12) Grant
Diesel Rose (12) Grant
Seth Schuitema (10) Grant
Chris Kennedy (12) Fremont
DJ Lee (10) Big Rapids
Carlos Magana (12) Newaygo
Zac Saez (12) Reed City
Cam Friend (11) Tri County
Trey Chapin (11) Central Montcalm
Orion Evans (11) Grant
Braiden McDonald (11) Fremont
Trevor Woodard (12) Big Rapids
Wyatt Mortensen (11) Newaygo
Payton Hansen (11) Reed City
Nick Braunschneider (12) Tri County
Levi Rogers (11) Chippewa Hills
2019-2020 BOYS BASKETBALL
Axel Woolworth (12) Morley Stanwood
Aiden McLaughlin (12) Morley Stanwood
Carter Veldkamp (11) Morley Stanwood
Eli Carlson (12) Kent City
Max Hudson (12) Kent City
Nathan Slowik (12) Holton
Sam Venema (11) White Cloud
Hayden Rentschler (12) Lakeview
Logan Balkema (12) Hesperia
Jason Bialik (12) Morley Stanwood
Shawn Anderson (12) Kent City
Aidan Poling (11) Holton
Jake Foster (12) White Cloud
Noah Ritchey (12) Lakeview
Kaiden Robbins (12) Hesperia
The players selected as All Conference and Honorable Mention
Holly McKenna (12) Big Rapids
Megan Mackall (11) Big Rapids
Rylie Haist (9) Big Rapids
Calla Miller (11) Fremont
Paige Vandenberg (12) Fremont
Chloe Shriver (12) Fremont
Jaxi Long (10) Newaygo
Bailey Vissman (11) Central Montcalm
Ashley Bialek (11) Tri County
Kirstyn Throop (12) Grant
Taylor Harrison (12) Reed City
Taylor Neeb (12) Chippewa Hills
Ariana Costie (11) Big Rapids
Natalie Jamieson (12) Fremont
Jaylee Long (11) Newaygo
London Eldridge (11) Central Montcalm
Alicia Bowen (11) Tri County
Kassidy Doornbos (12) Grant
Paige Lofquist (10) Reed City
Sydni Nelson (12) Chippewa Hills
Kenzie Bowers (11) Kent City
Jenna Harrison (11) Kent City
Mikayla Loew (12) Kent City
Brooke Brauher (11) Morley Stanwood
Breanna Berry (12) Morley Stanwood
Alexis Strait (11) White Cloud
Emily Bayle (11) Hesperia
Madison Hart (10) Lakeview
Ally Seiber (11) Holton
Taryn Preston (10) Kent City
Kalee Ramsey (12) Morley Stanwood
Olivia Bowman (12) White Cloud
Rachel Romero (11) Hesperia
Natalie Parsons (9) Lakeview
Madison Bosset (11) Holton
McDonald knocks down 27; Defense shines in Packer win.
Photos by Mike Gesler
Fremont 65 Coopersville 52
The Packers came to play.
Facing a physical Bronco squad and with a chance to make it to the District finals Fremont came up big behind a strong defensive effort that led to an outpouring of transition scoring.
The Pack jumped out early taking an 11-2 lead before a Coopersville timeout and held an 18-6 advantage after one but the Broncos would not go away and hung around the 10 point margin occasionally making a few mini runs to cut into the lead. Fortunately the Packers answered each run and the defense was able to hold Coopersville at bay for the rest of the game to secure the win.
Coach Zerfas: ”They were pressing hard and double teaming but we were able to find the open man and score in transition often in the 4th. When we did not score in transition I thought we ran a very patient and efficient offense which made it hard for Coopersville to come back.
“I really liked our defense tonight. They came in with 3 good scorers capable of putting up 30 points and we were able to contain them. Our offense was as efficient as I’ve seen them all year.”
And now the Packers move on to face Comstock Park, the team that knocked the 19-1 Fremont team out of the tournament in the opening game last season coming back from a 7 point deficit in the last 2 minutes to win in overtime.
The game still stings some of the Packer players who were on that squad last year.
And now is their chance to avenge that loss.
Braiden McDonald led the Packers with 27 points and 13 rebounds. Tristan Campbell hit for 11 points and 9 rebounds, and Chris Kennedy dropped in 11 points. Joshua Zerfas dished 9 assists to go with his 4 points and Carter Moon had another all around game with 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 points. Martin Curiel once again provided a big boost of the bench with 8 points.
District Finals: Fremont vs, Comstock Park @ Grant. Friday 7pm.
Photos by Alexis Mercer
Story by Ken DeLaat
They simply refuse to lose.
After a grueling and heart pounding 31 minutes and 50+ seconds of defensive wizardry at its best, a back and forth game that left players and fans emotionally spent, the Lions found themselves down 2. They needed a bucket to send the game into overtime.
Jaxi Long who moments before kept her team in the game with a triple took the ball down court and launched a high arcing shot from several feet behind the three point line as time seemed to stop and the gym fell silent for a split second.
And she burned it.
The game winning blast from downtown produced a roar from the Newaygo crowd including a substantial and spirited student section.
The Lions took down a GR Christian team that arrived in Sparta with an impressive resume and a huge height advantage they tried to exploit all night.
But the Lions were having none of it.
Mathis, Goodin and Ruehmeier worked on the towering presence of Evie Doezema with help from their teammates and contained the Eagle efforts to take the ball inside. Frisbie popped in a couple of key threes during the game and provided relentless defense in the backcourt. There were heroes stepping up all night for the Lions.
The lead changed hands 9 times in the first half alone. The second half saw it seesaw another 8 times, but when the Eagles press forced a couple of late stops and they built a 4 point lead matching the biggest span of the night between the teams it looked grim for the Lions. Just
1:24 remained and they had gone cold the past 2 minutes as Christian outscored them 7-1 in that span.
But Jaylee Long was fouled on a three pointer and cooly went to the line to drain them 1-2-3.
Up by a point, Eagle Rory Pruis drew a foul and converted both to stretch the lead to 3 but Jaxi fired it in from the corner for a tie. Then it was Emma Witte’s turn at the stripe and she also sank both.
2 point lead and the clock ticking down with the Eagles vaunted defense tossing out their best, it might have been a curtain call for many teams.
But not this team.
And not Jaxi Long.
The young woman with ice in her veins knew she was going to take the shot as soon as the ball was in her hands.
And she wasn’t about to fail.
”I don't think as coaches we'll ever get an ending like that ever again.
“In the timeouts, we told them to stay focused. We always talk in the tournament about the momentum swings. Just stay locked in and confident.
“The girls stayed focused. Even at the end of the game when we got called for a foul with 8 seconds left and they hit free throws. Kudos to them.
“Jaxi had 19 points and 3 assists. Jaylee had 9 points and 4 rebounds. Emmerson had 8 points and 12 rebounds. Obviously they had a great game but all those other girls stepped up. Sophia had two big 3's that kept us hanging around. Kendall and Lily battled and more than held their own against Doezema and Fisk came in a wreaked havoc and played really hard as always. The bench kept everyone positive, stayed focused and provided great energy to everyone."
"Just a great win for these kids. It was close all game. The kids really believe and kept battling until the end obviously.
“We will enjoy the win tonight and try and come up with something to slow down a very talented and well-coached West Catholic team on Thursday. They are very good. We will have to play our best game of the year to beat them."
So now this incredible group of players who just knocked off the #3 team in the state will face their next opponent on Thursday.
#2 West Catholic.
As Coach Thomasma said, the Falcons are an extremely strong, talented and well coached team.
But hey, so are these Lions.
Story and photos by Mike Gesler
Fremont 93 Grant 70
The gym in the Grant Middle School was a packed house in this much anticipated, opening round of district play, rubber match of the Grant Tigers and Fremont Packers. Last week, the Tigers swiped a share of the conference title for themselves and away from the Packers. The Packers, for their part, felt they didn’t put their best foot forward, and were looking to kill any hope the Tigers may have had at a district title to add to their season. With the energy and drama cranked all away up to ten, a showdown percolating, the opening tipoff couldn’t come soon enough.
The first half of play was everything this game billed itself out to be. “In the game last week, we didn’t necessarily have very good spacing or patience and we scored seventy-seven. We looked at that on film, and I thought if we space the floor better, ran our sets, that we talked before we might put up eighty-five or ninety if we were able to play with spacing. And it happened,” stated Fremont’s coach, Peter Zerfas.
Fremont came out hot, mainly due to three 3s put up by Joshua Zerfas, and went up fifteen points to Grant’s four. But Grant didn’t hit the panic button, and continued to play their game. With a boost from Gage Burrows, who shot five 3s, Grant pulled within two by the end of the half. And even though Fremont went into the locker room with a 45-43 lead, this game felt like it would go down to the final buzzer.
The second half however was solely Fremont’s alone. The Tigers went colder than a block of ice sitting on a frozen pond. “The second half felt like it got away when we had empty offensive trips in the third, and then it was kind of a runaway train. We just tried to do a little bit of desperation shoot and foul, and that didn’t work either,” stated Grant’s coach, Joel Schuitema. With 2:35 left in the game and Grant down by twenty-two, Schuitema finally threw in the towel, pulled his starters, and both coaches allowed their bench personnel to finish the game as the Tiger faithful sat in stunned silence and the Packer fans roared.
“Carter Moon played tremendous on Seth Schuitema. He’s such a good player, and Carter really brought it defensively,” shared Coach Zerfas. “Chris [Kennedy] did too on Carter Chase. I’m a little biased, but I thought my son [Joshua Zerfas] had a pretty good game just getting us off to a good start with those three 3s. And it was really all five of us because Tristin [Campbell] in the post every time they took Rose off of him just did really well. I don’t know how many Braiden [McDonald] had, but he had to have twenty or more. So it was a really good team effort I thought.”
“Hats off to Pete and the Fremont Packers,” shared Coach Schuitema. “Good luck to them in the district. Our kids are sad right now, and so am I.”
Braiden McDonald led tonight for the Packers with twenty-nine points. Tristan Campbell nearly matched McDonald with twenty-eight. Joshua Zerfas also put up double digits with fifteen. Adding to Fremont’s effort was Carter Moon (8), Jacob Visser (6), Martin Curiel (3), and Lane Converse with two.
Gage Burrows led for the Tigers tonight with twenty-one. Seth Schuitema and Carter Chase also had double digits with fourteen and ten respectively. Also helping in Grant’s efforts was Diesel Rose (9), Cole Lesley (8), Elliot Butchart and Eli Bradley each with three, and Jed Vanderweide with two.
Fremont will next take on Coopersville on Wednesday evening at the Grant Middle School gym for the 5:30 district game.
Newaygo (16-7) vs. GR Christian (20-3) 5:30pm
The smart money on the Sparta Regional says the final will be a classic matchup between the dominating Eagles and the juggernaut known as the West Catholic Falcons.
After all, competing in the vaunted OK Gold GRC brought back nearly everyone from an 11-11 season to defeat all but 2 teams. There was the puzzling loss to Middleville to open the New Year after a 2 ½ week layoff and 2 defeats at the hands of OK Gold champ East GR. Other than that they have employed a tough defense to amass 20 wins including blowing their way through the Districts.
But now they face the lone survivor of another Gold division...this one from the CSAA.
Newaygo has had an interesting season to say the least. With just one senior starter they nonetheless have a lot of varsity experience on the floor. The Lions lost a couple of close ones and went 6-5 against teams with a winning record. They recovered from one of their few poor showings against Tri County to put together 5 straight wins including a magical district tournament run.
The Lions are a team that puts it all on the court and when they are hitting their outside attempts they are a formidable opponent and tough to beat.
The passion of Jaylee Long, the intensity of sister Jaxi, Sophia Frisbie’s quiet leadership, the focus of Emmerson Goodin, the clutch play of Lily Ruehmeier, the intuitive positioning of Kendall Mathis and the sheer energy provided by varsity newcomer Kayla Fisk make them an entertaining watch to be sure.
They will need to find a way to get open shots against the smothering defense of the Eagles and then they’ll have to hit those shots and do it early because GRC has a way of running away with a lead once they get in a groove. The Eagles find a way to get to the free throw line frequently and they don’t miss much once they get there.
It’s an uphill climb to be sure but one thing this season has shown is to never count the Lions out. Their sheer will to win is impressive and they seem to be one of those teams who feel like they run out of time rather than lose.
The Lions won’t have the height of the Eagles, nor likely the depth of the senior laden team.
But they have heart.
Miles and miles and miles of heart.
Spring Lake (8-13) vs. West Catholic (22-1) 7pm
I don’t know what it would take for the Lakers to top the Falcons but I know it is not likely to happen. WC is really really good.
Morley Stanwood Regional
Kent City (22-1) vs. Pewamo Westphalia (21-2) 5:30pm
We all know teams play games one at a time. That’s the mantra echoed by players and coaches.
But this one has been on the Eagle radar since a heartbreaking 2 point loss to the Pirates last year. The same Pirates who hoisted a state championship banner in their gym later when the tournament dust had settled.
The two teams ranked 1-3 will go at it again in perhaps the toughest Regional in D3.
Lexie and Kenxie Bowers, Jenna Harrison and co. want this one bad.
But the Pirates want to repeat.
Only 2 teams have scored more than 31 points on PW.
Kent City has scored more than 60 13 times this season.
Irresistible force meets immovable object.
WMC (17-6) vs. Ithaca (21-2) 7pm
Since starting 2-4 the Warriors have gone 15-2 since. They play with spirit and have a number of players who can score.
Ithaca has lost to just one team, league champion Hemlock, the only team to score 40 points on the Yellow Jackets.
Again, a good offense meets a good defense.
Two Grant Tigers traveled to Ford Field for the MHSAA Individual State Finals on March 6th and 7th.
Senior Billy Ostyn started out strong winning his first match in the 125lbs weight class. Sophomore Brady Jacobs lost a close match to open at 135lbs. Billy won his quarterfinals match 15-8 to ensure a top 6 finish. Brady came back strong with a pin in the first consolation round and then winning 9-5 in the blood round to ensure his podium finish. Billy lost to his #1 ranked Dundee opponent in the Semi-finals in a match that was 2-1 going into the final minute.
Both wrestlers returned Saturday after achieving All State status to compete in the placement rounds. Billy won his match by pin to move to the 3rd place match where he lost to the #3 ranked wrestler to finish in 4th place. Brady lost 1-6 to move him to the 7 place match where he lost to finish in 8th place.
Billy Ostyn finishes his Grant wrestling career as the first 4 time state qualifier in school history and tied for second on the all-time career wins list with 165 victories.