Gold: The Cardinals escaped with a win over the Lions but it was anything but easy. Had a few more shots gone in for the Lions during a couple of cold streaks the Packers would be sitting alone atop the conference, but they didn't and BR continued their winning ways. A lot will likely shake out Tuesday when Fremont goes into Newaygo to face a Lion team much improved since their loss in Packerland last month and the Cards head into the Hive to face the Hornets.
Silver: There has been little doubt who owns the conference this year. The talent laden Eagles have a single loss on their record a 3 point defeat at the hands of the D1 Big Reds on Muskegon’s home court. They are a team looking to go farther in post season play than last season when they fell 2 points short in the Regional opener against the eventual State Champion Pirates of Pewamo Westphalia but in the meantime will undoubtedly claim the Silver crown. The Cloud is one back of MS for second and the teams play at WC next Friday.
Big Rapids 30 Newaygo 29
It was a defensive war from the start.
Two quality teams went to the trenches in a physical battle with the Cardinals emerging with the victory to hang onto a share of first place in the Gold and the Lions left thinking about what might have been.
“We just couldn’t hit the shots we needed,” said Coach Thomasma after the fray. “Close game throughout. Give credit to Big Rapids, they made the winning plays tonight."
True enough, but the shots were never easy to come by for either team.
The visitors got on the board first with a three pointer and halfway through the first Lily Ruuehmeier got the Lions on the board with a bucket. Ariana Costie answered with another triple and Jaxi Long knocked one down for the hosts but that was all the scoring in the opening frame and the score sat at 6-4 after one.
Kayla Fisk split from the line to start the second and answered a BR basket with one of her own then after the Cards Holly McKenna wet 1-2 at the stripe a Kendall Mathis shot pulled the Lions even. Jaxi Long scored again to answer another Cardinal 2 before Rylee Haist the BR freshman phenom drew a foul and converted both shots as the team hit the break with the Lions down 13-11.
The second half saw the Cards break out to a 6 point lead but the Lions battled back. Jaylee Long hit from distance then drew a 3 point foul and drained each of them to forge a tie. Jaxi Long drove inside twice to get to the line and hit 4-4 and Newaygo grabbed a 25-21 lead entering the 4th,
Then the shots went cold. Outside of a pair of scores by Emmerson Goodin the Lions could not find the nets while a Joslin Prince three, a pair of baskets by Haist and 2 splits at the stripe allowed BR to escape with the win.
Coach Thomasma: "Proud of my team. They played hard and executed what we wanted. It was just one of those nights where the ball would not go through the hoop.”
Jaxi Long led the Lions with 10 points while Goodin and Jaylee Long hit for a half dozen apiece with Goodin adding a team high 8 rebounds.
Haist paced the Cards with 11 points with Costie adding 7 and Prince 4.
Newaygo (6-4, 11-5) will host the other leader in the gols when Fremont comes to town on Tuesday. Big Rapids (9-1, 15-1) heads for Central Montcalm.
Fremont 43 Central Montcalm 38
Fremont jumped out to a 10-4 lead after one quarter, but a 12-6 advantage for Central Montcalm in the second quarter tied the score at 16-16 at the half. Scoring picked up in the third quarter, but the Hornets outscored the Packers 16-14 to take a 32-30 lead into the fourth quarter. The Packers also got into foul trouble in the third, with both Calla Miller and Paige Vandenberg sitting the final few minutes of the third and much of the fourth after picking up their 4th fouls. Chloe Shriver led the scoring attack for the Packers in the third quarter, scoring 7 points in that period. The Packers trailed for much of the fourth before Shriver scored off a Miller assist to bring the score to 38-37. A five second call gave the Packers the ball back, and on the next possession, Miller scored on her own to put the Packers ahead 39-38. Central Montcalm had to foul three times before the Packers headed to the line, with Haley Zerlaut and Vandenberg each hitting one of two free throws to extend the lead to 41-38. Central Montcalm still had the ball with a chance to tie, but a Shriver steal and layup set the final score at 43-38.
Shriver led the Packers with 11 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 steals. She also keyed the defensive effort against the Hornets' Bailey Vissman, who ended with 9 points, with one basket and going 7-8 from the free throw line. Miller had 10 points for the Packers, while Zerlaut andVandenberg each had 8. Courtney Guelzo led the Hornets scoring attack with 14 points. The win improves the Packers record to 11-5, 9-1 in the conference. The Packers travel to Newaygo on Tuesday to play the Lions.
White Cloud 50 Holton 22
Alexis Strait fired in 19 points and grabbed 4 steals as the Cloud ran their winning streak to 4 to move within a game of second place in the Silver.Layna Yeiter and Cassi Watson pulled down 10 rebounds apiece and Naomi Thompson knocked in 8 points.
White Cloud (5-3, 11-6) will face Morley Stanwood Friday. Awesome effort, great defense.
Kent City 42 Morley Stanwood 30
The ‘Hawks defense kept theEagle scoring machine from running wild but it wasn’t enough as Kent City clinched a share of the Silver title with the win giving them a season sweep over MS.
Kalee Ramsey led the hosts in scoring with 11 points and Breanna Berry added 6.
Kenzie Bowers fired in 19 points for KC and Jenna Harrison knocked down 17.
Hesperia 65 Lakeview 34
The Panthers took control early grabbing a 32-12 led at the break and cruising to the win.
Coach Grodus: “We got off to a fast start with Emily Bayle scoring 12 points in the first quarter. Rachel Romero and Emily Bayle combined for 14 points in the third quarter. Defensively, we had 23 steals and 9 deflections.
Bayle finished with 24, Becci Castillo knocked down 17 and Romero finished with 13.
Katie Frees grabbed 8 steals and Emily Tinkham took down a team high 7 boards.
Hesperia (4-4, 7-8) hists Oakridge on Tuesday.