By Ken DeLaat- N3 Sports
Newaygo (3-5, 4-8) at Central Montcalm (6-2, 7-4)
The Hornets pulled away in the final quarter the first time these two met. Since then they have lost to three teams with strong winning records (Fremont, Morley and Alma ) and a surging Grant team last week and have defeated the rest of the Gold teams including Big Rapids.
The Lions have been inconsistent. None of the teams they have defeated possess more than 3 wins but there were 2-3 games that could have gone either way.
CM is tough at home (5-1) and Newaygo struggles on the road (1-7).
The Lions will likely have to play their best and get a few breaks to come home with a win
Fremont (8-0, 11-2) at Big Rapids (4-4, 6-5)
After seeing the first battle between these two, this one was marked on our calendar but the Cards season unraveled a bit and they currently sit in 4th place in the Gold.
They have won their last 2 including last week’s win over the OV team that took down Fremont on the Packer home court Tuesday.
We like the Pack in this one even if on the road but they can ill afford to fall behind early and count on a comeback in the closing minutes.
Grant (6-2, 6-7) at Reed City (3-5, 3-10)
Early on despite the losses the Tigers were showing signs of being the team they have developed into. They fell to MS earlier this week but outside of a controversial loss to Fremont they haven’t been defeated in a league game since mid December.
The Coyotes have some players but likely not enough of them to keep up with the Tigers, even in that rugged venue they call home.
Hesperia (0-6, 0-14) at White Cloud (2-4, 5-7)
The Panthers are improving but they just cannot score the points they need to stay with most teams. Outside of a double overtime win over Vestaburg the biggest output for the Cloud was when they played Hesperia the first time around and this time they play in WC.
Morley Stanwood (5-1, 12-1) at Holton (4-2, 8-5)
The ‘Hawks are a strong team with a single blemish on the record, a loss to powerhouse Kent City. The Red Devils had them down in their first meeting but couldn’t finish.
That game was at MS and this one is in Holton. The Devs need to play a really consistent game and not have any lapses on either end of the court but they could surprise a lot of people (other than themselves) in this one.
Newaygo (5-3, 9-4) at Central Montcalm (5-3, 9-5)
Two teams with similar records. The Hornet girls team has quite the following and their only loss at home was an inexplicable close one to Grant in mid December. Having seen how their defense operates, they will likely not allow Jaxi Long to breathe much less shoot so the Lions will have to spread out the scoring with Jaylee Long, Goodin, Frisbie, et al sticking in some key buckets.
A big win for the team that triumphs especially if the Packers get knocked off by BR
Fremont (8-0, 10-4) at Big Rapids (7-1, 13-1)
The best game in the area Friday night with two teams that put on a classic show the first time around. The Pack has gone 7-1 since that game while the Cards have gone 8-0.
A Fremont win goes a long way toward some serious title talk and a BR win opens it up.
The Cardinals are going to try to stop VandenBerg in the paint and have the players to do it, so Shriver, Miller and Jamieson will need to get on the board early and Bennett was key in the clutch in their first meeting.They also need to try to contain the sharpshooting Cardinal Haist.
Grant (3-5, 3-11) at Reed City (2-6, 2-10)
Since the Tigers defeated Reed City at home the week before Christmas they have gone 1-7 with their lone win in that time being over the cellar dwelling Warriors of CH.
The Coyotes haven’t won, nor scored more than 38 points a game, since defeating those same Warriors 6 games ago.
Both teams need a win to stop the bleeding but the Tigers are playing on the unfriendly Coyote court.
If either team gets to 40 they probably take this one.
Hesperia (3-3, 6-7) at Whte Cloud (3-3, 8-6)
Could be a good one.
The Cloud has a stifling defense and they can score on occasion. Their last 3 losses came against teams with a combined record of 41-4.
The Panthers are 5-2 in their last 7 with those losses coming against teams with a combined record of 26-2.
Emily Bayle is Hesperia’s top scorer and will undoubtedly be the focus of the WC defense.
And if you go to the game catch the play of Cloud’s Scarlavai. She is a definite gamer.
Morley Stanwood (5-1, 12-1) at Holton (0-6, 2-11)
The Hawks can likely win this one by as much as they want to. Since getting blasted by Kent City they have won 4 in a row with no team getting closer than 25 points.
The Devs played well against a good Walkerville team and nearly beat the Heights losing in overtime but neither of those teams are Morley.