By Ken De Laat, N3 Sports
Lots of basketball these days as teams cram in games to replace the December and January contests that were missed and now the smoke is beginning to clear a bit when it comes to the conference races.
Girls-In the Gold the Lions and Cards have separated a bit from the rest of the league and are heading for a showdown a week from Monday in BR. In the Silver Kent City has been blowing teams out of the gym with their high octane offense. Morley is tied for first and White Cloud has just one loss but until someone proves us wrong the path to the title will run through Kent City.
Boys- the Packers and Cardinals sit atop the Gold with the Hornets and Tigers a game back and playing Friday to see who stays in the race for now. The Red Devils have taken charge in the Silver and a win Friday would mean a first half of the season sweep of the Silver teams.
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Grant at Central Montcalm
The Hornets have won 3 in a row after opening with losses to BR and Newaygo. Grant has won a couple games but has fallen short against the better teams.
The Hornets are one of those ‘better’ teams and are coming off a double digit win over a tough Viking squad.
CM is a tough venue but the crowd will be limited. Still,to grab this one the Tigers will likely have to get some season-best games from a few players.
Newaygo at Chip Hills
Offense struggling? Then look for CH on your schedule. The Warriors are yielding over 55 a game while yet to reach the 40 mark.
Not that the Lions need much offensive help. This is a team that grinds down opponents with a wealth of weapons and they will come out ready after a tough loss to a really good Portland team, their first setback of the season.
It’s a long ride to Remus but the trip home looks to be on the upbeat side
Fremont at Reed City
After opening at home with conference powerhouses Newaygo and BR the Packers hit the road for 4 straight before getting a game at home and a visit from the equally winless Warriors a combination resulting in that elusive first W
This one should help as well. The Coyotes can’t put the ball in the basket and they can’t stop their opponents from filling up theirs.. It’s another away game and the Reed City gym is always a challenge but the Pack has a good shot at making it two in a row here.
Holton at Hesperia
To their credit the Red Devils regrouped after being shell shocked by Kent City and found a little offense. They’re mostly young and improving as the season progresses. The Panthers have a trio of players that can hurt teams but they need to stay away from the ‘one bad quarter’ syndrome that has plagued them early on.
White Cloud at Kent City
No doubt the Cloud will give them a game and leave it all on the floor but Kent City is a team loaded with talent and flooding the nets with over 75 points a game. If you’re streaming games tune into this one if only to see which of the Eagle sharpshooters WC defender extraordinaire Scarlavai will draw.
Newaygo at Chippewa Hills
The Warriors are winless but they have improved and came close to knocking off a strong BR team last week at home. The Lions have been a bit up and down scoring as many as 73 and as few as 31 but that was a big win in Reed City and could build Newaygo’s confidence going forward particularly for their younger players like Decker and Long.
Fremont at Reed City
Coach Zerfas probably doesn’t have a lot of fond memories of games up in Coyote Country where strong Packer teams have been ambushed in the past. This season Fremont brings in a 5 game winning streak and a share of the Gold lead forged by a combination of veterans and youth who replaced height underneath with quickness and guile.
The ‘Yotes are the only team to deliver a loss to co-leading BR and the Cards beat the Pack, but that was the opener.
And there’s been a lot of basketball since then.
Holton at Hesperia
The Red Devils are having a season and the Panthers are struggling. Hesperia’s highest offensive output so far is 34 points and they’re averaging around 22.
It won’t be enough to keep the Devs from making it 6 in a row.
Grant at Central Montcalm.
The Hornets have lost 4 in a row and the Tigers have dropped 4 of their last 5.
The Tigers looked good in the win over Newaygo last week and their two losses since came against pretty solid teams. Tough one to call but I think the Tigers are more likely to have success down the road and that road starts here,
White Cloud at Kent City.
This isn’t a dominant Eagle team but they are pretty good if a bit inconsistent.
The 2 teams have combined for 5 wins. Four of those wins came over teams who are still winless. The Nest is a tough place to play so the Cloud can’t afford to let the Eagles jump out to an early lead.