D2 Monday Games
Fremont (15-5) vs, Grant (13-7) 5:30pm
We would have preferred to see these teams go at each other a little beyond the District opener though, of course, anything can happen at tourney time.
The thing is, these teams have produced two of the most exciting games in local boys hoops this season and after Monday only one will be left standing,
So if you’re interested in witnessing round three of this season series to see who pulls out the rubber match you better get yourself a ticket to the Monday opener.
In game one at Fremont the Packers edged the Tigers in a nail biter then last week on the Tiger home court Grant held off a couple of Fremont runs to take their share of the Gold title the Pack had coveted.
Schuitema can knock them down as can Burrows and Evans. Rose battles underneath.
But Chase is the straw that stirs the drink for the Tigers. He is in every argument about who might be the area’s best player and it is a convincing argument once you see him play.
The Packers have a slew of talent and the season that started with a lot of promise and a 10-0 start unraveled a bit with a 5-5 second half and only one notch against a team with a winning record.
Still, with players like Kennedy, Campbell, McDonald, Zerfas, Miller, Moon etc. they have a chance to make a tournament run and grab some district hardware to help salve the loss of a title share.
But they have to get by the Tigers who have won 10 of 11 games since the loss on the Packer floor.
And remember, they’re playing at home.
Winner plays Coopersville (10-10) Wednesday 5:30pm.
Sparta (10-10) vs, Comstock Park (5-15) 7pm.
These teams split their games in the OK Blue this season each winning on their home court.
The Spartans beat Holton and Grant early on but both of those teams had their greatest success in the second half.
Park has lost 6 of their last 7 and have only won twice away from the Panther home court,
Sparta started the season 5-0 then dropped 7 in a row, followed that with winning 4 of 5 and dropped 2 of their last 3.
Winner faces Newaygo (6-14) Wednesday at 7pm.
D3 Monday Games
Ravenna (20-0) vs.North Muskegon (14-5) 5:30pm
The Bulldogs are undefeated and the undisputed champs of the WM Conference.
The Norseman have played them tough twice.
2 good teams, one playing at home.
Winner takes on Kent City (12-8) Wednesday 5:30pm.
WMC (15-5) vs, Holton (13-7) 7pm
Two more good teams. The Warriors shared the Lakes 8 title with Ludington and the Red Devils ended the season winning 5 of their last 6 with the only loss a buzzer beater at Grant, the CSAA Gold co-champs.
Winner to play White Cloud (7-13) Wednesday 7pm.
-Ken DeLaat, N3 Sports
Newaygo 49 Sparta 30
For the first time since 2004 the Lions came home with some hardware winning the District title and moving on to Regional play next week.
And the defense truly never rested as Coach Nate Thomasma’s team put on a defensive clinic in the second half stuffing the Sparta offense and capturing the treasured victory.
A physical game from the start saw the bodies banging in the paint and some backcourt bruising.
Spartan Kensey Armock drove in for a pair of layups halfway though the first quarter to stake Sparta to an early 10-5 lead but Jaxi Long hit for 2, Jaylee Long followed with a score then after a dramatic Lily Ruehmeier block the ball found its way into Jaxi’s hands and she drained a triple that gave the Lions their first lead. Amrock responded with a bucket and it was 12 all after one.
When the second started Jaxi hit from distance again was answered by a Paige Wilson bucket before Jaxi hit another 3 from way downtown. After a stop Sophia Frisbie rifled a pass to Reuhmeier for 2 to stretch the lead to 6 before Amrock came through again converting a steal to 32 points and the half ended with the Lions on top 20-16.
Then came the third quarter.
The Lions came out on defensive fire holding the Spartans to a single free throw while Jaxi and Frisbie nailed triples and Emmerson Goodin rebounded her own shot and followed with a basket. Jaylee fired in a jumper and Mathis drained one at the buzzer and Newaygo took a 32-17 lead heading into the 4th.
The final frame was much the same as the Spartans were unable to penetrate the Lion defense and their outside shots constantly challenged refused to fall.
Meanwhile Newaygo continued to score and stretched the lead to 20 halfway through the quarter.
As time expired the excitement built until the final buzzer when pandemonium broke loose on the Lion bench and their fans, a vocal group all night, stormed the floor and the celebration began.
Coach Thomasma: “I could not be happier for these 13 girls tonight. They have dealt with ups and downs this season but continued to battle. Sparta is a tough physical opponent but the girls didn't back down. We have great fans that urged us on and it was great to see.
“We’ve been stressing the defense with the girls all year and it proved to be the key tonight. We had a couple of tough losses but this week the way they’ve played speaks to their character. I don’t know if you could have found many fans who thought we were going to pull it out after the third quarter against Fremont Wednesday but give a lot of credit to those girls. They didn’t give up.
”We'll enjoy it tonight and hope to keep it going next week in Regionals.”
Jaylee finished with 20 points 6 rebounds and 6 assists, Jaxi hit for11 points and Goodin was outstanding in the paint pulling down 11 boards and scoring 9.
The Long sisters along with their teammates had smiles as big as their performances when we caught up with them.
How do we feel?
Jaylee: “Way better than last year”
Jaxi: This was so much fun.”
What was the turning point?
Jaylee: “We came out hard in the third. We wanted to shut them down and the defense really did their job.
The key to the win?
Jaxi: “The defense definitely”
Jaylee: Yeah,the defense opened up the opportunities on offense and got our scoring going.
You had a rough go for awhile with those close losses to BR and Fremont. How did you regroup?
Jaxi: “We grew a lot as a team this year.”
Jaylee:”Yeah, the losses gave us the focus we needed and we really came together.
So next is the Regionals right? Any thoughts about playing GR Christian?
Jaylee: “We don’t know who’s next.”
Jaxi: ”We just take it one game at a time.”
And the next one is Tuesday.
Photos by Sue Harrison
Kent City 53 Morley Stanwood 47
The Eagles ran off the first 8 points of the game and held off the Mohawks who were relentless in their pursuit but came up short in the third matchup between the two Silver powerhouses.MS made a few runs cutting the lead to 4 behind some timely triples by Brooke Brauher and Braelyn Berry and early in the 4th cut the lead to 3 but Jenna Harrison canned one from distance and Kenzie Bowers followed with a basket after a stop to push the lead to 8.
The Eagles struggled at the line most of the night but Harrison went 4-4 down the stretch and the Eagles captured the hard fought District crown.
Kenzie Bowers finished with 19 points while Harrison dropped in 13 and Lexie Bowers added a dozen.
Brauher finished with 25 to lead all scorers and Brenna Berry fired in 13.
Kent City moves on to Morley Stanwood where they will face the PW Pirates who knocked them out in the first round of Regional play last season on their way to a state title.
WMC 59 Saugatuck 40
The Warriors held off a tenacious Saugatuck squad who dismantled an early WMC lead to tie the game late in the third but the 4th quarter saw WMC overcome foul trouble and run away from their opponents to notch the win and move on to Regional play at Morley Stanwood to take on Ithaca
Kyla Wiersema led the Warriors with 17 points and Taylor Folkema hit for 16.
Zoe Myers finished with 11 points for Saugatuck.
Cancer No Match For Trevir Kral
Story by Alexis Mercer
April 4, 2016 was a day Trevir Kral won't forget: the day he was diagnosed with cancer. 3 years, 336 days later, Kral walked on to the floor as a starting senior for the Newaygo Lions basketball team, cancer free.
Come to any athletic event at Newaygo High School and you will see Trevir with a smile on his face. He will be setting up for an athletic event beforehand, working during the event itself to make sure everyone from referees to coaches to athletes are taken care of, and tearing down afterward.
Walk down the hallway with Trevir any day of the week and you'll be inundated with high fives, fist bumps, hugs and hellos. Everyone knows him. And everyone loves him.
Trevir shines like a star because of his positive outlook on life. He walks through life with kind words to others, offering help to anyone who may need it, and genuine happiness about him.
Life has not been easy for this 18 year old senior. On April 4, 2016, Trevir was diagnosed with leukemia. He spent two weeks in the hospital, only to have to return days later for another full week. Within the first couple months after the diagnosis he underwent chemotherapy, one round of radiation, had bone marrow removed and underwent spinal taps. For the first year after his diagnosis, he was at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing twice a week. His 2nd and 3rd years he was still there one time a week. July 9th, 2019 Trevir completed his last treatment. Today he is cancer free.
"I stayed positive the entire time. At the time of the diagnosis I told the Harknesses [his Aunt and Uncle] 'It's not in my hands, but the doctors' hands.' That was hard, but it helped me feel comfort. The whole care team is like my family," said Kral.
Ending up the athletic department's student manager started early on in his high school career. "The first day Coach VanEssen [Newaygo's varsity football coach and athletic director] worked here, he was walking around the cafeteria recruiting guys for football. I walked up to him and told him about my situation and asked if I could help. He right away said yes, and gave me all sorts of things to do." The partnership quickly turned into more than Trevir being a water boy. Kral now says "Coach is my number one role model."
Trevir can be found managing the football, basketball and baseball teams on a regular basis. But football is by far his favorite. "It's the Friday Night Lights, you know?" he says. If volleyball has a home game but football doesn't, Trevir is there to help out with that. He truly will do anything for anyone.
The opportunity arose to maybe be a part of the final game of his high school career after students kept asking him if he would ever play. Newaygo High School students posted snapchats and Instagram stories begging for Trevir to play even one play. They appreciate his dedication to athletics and the student body in general. They wanted to see him on the court as part of the team.
Coach Barrette agreed to the students' requests. Trevir has been part of the team all season, just not on the floor playing. So Trevir Kral suited up and stood with the team for the National Anthem on Thursday, March 5. His brother, Hudson Harkness had the honor of announcing his name as part of the starting lineup.
"I was nervous. I haven't played basketball since 7th grade. High school basketball is a lot different than middle school." But his nervousness didn't last long as he took a pass from his teammate and drained a shot. The insanity that ensued from the crowd was epic. There weren't many dry eyes in the gym from the Newaygo fans.
Trevir's advice? "You gotta stay positive through anything that tries to overcome you. Live your best life while you have the chance."
Can the Lions win their first district title in a long, long time? Will the Warriors advance? Can MS topple the Eagle express?
Newaygo vs. Sparta at Fremont
Jaxi Long meet Kensey Armock.
The Spartan junior was tapped to guard Comstock Park’s scoring machine McKenna Bent Wednesday night and her efforts helped Sparta advance.
Our hunch is she will be assigned to the Lions top scorer in the Friday District Championship game as well.
But the Lions have shown they possess an arsenal of offensive weaponry and this week they have all been on display. Frisbie, Jaylee Long, Goodin and Ruehmeier have each stepped up when needed and adding the defensive skills of Mathis and Fisk to the mix gives the Lions a strong court presence.
The Spartans are young but scrappy and Armock has plenty of help with Busen, Cowdrey, Wilson, Vallone and Howland all capable of getting to the hoop.
Let’s hope foul trouble doesn’t plague either team tonight because if they are both allowed to let it loose and play their game this could be a wild one.
WMC vs. Saugatuck at WMC
You can throw out what happened earlier in the season once the tourney arrives but Saugatuck was mastered by North Muskegon, the team the Warriors handled well on Wednesday.
Not saying it’s a lock but the Saugatuck team will have to play their best game to take the title on the Warrior home court.
Morey Stanwood vs. Kent City at Kent City
The Mohawks played better last time out against the Eagles and it’s hard to beat a good team 3 times (ask Fremont), but the KC girls are on a mission to get farther than they did when they lost the regional opener to PW last year and they have a veritable boatload of talent.
Oh, and they are playing in the Aerie as well.
Boys Basketball teams wrapped up their regular season Thursday and now prepare for tournament time beginning Monday
Grant 64 Holton 61
The Red Devils 5 game winning streak came to an end in Grant but they took the Gold Division champs to the final buzzer before falling just short.
Holton Coach Houseman: “This was a great game going into the state tournament. Our kids learned a lot about themselves tonight. I am so proud of my kids!”
“We are ready for districts.”
Nathan Slowik knocked down 20 points , Aidan Poling hit for 14, Lukas Ramaekers dropped a dozen, Drew Trygstad finished with 8 and Wyatt Monette added 7.
Holton finished the season 13-7 and will face WMC in Ravenna Monday night (7pm).
Grant opens District play at home Monday in a rematch with Fremont beginning at 5:30pm.
Central Montcalm 69 White Cloud 47
The Hornets who shared the Gold title with Grant finished their season with a 15-5 mark with their win over the Cloud.
Sam Venema led WC with 22 points whileTaylor Bode scored 6 and Dexter Cox and Mason Ruether added 5 apiece.
White Cloud finishes the regular season with a 7-13 mark and will face the winner of Monday's Holton/WMC game Wednesday at 7pm.
Kent City 49 Newaygo 36
Down 25-20 at the break the Lions could not make a run and the Eagles were able to stretch their lead and take the road win into District play.
Newaygo finishes the regular season with a 6-14 mark and will face the winner of Monday’s Sparta/Comstock Park game Wednesday at 7pm in Grant.
Photos by Sue Harrison
Morley Stanwood 44 White Cloud 38
Kent City 61 Hesperia 26
The Kent City District finals will feature the two top teams from the CSAA Silver.
The Eagles and Mohawks set the stage for their third meeting of the season Wednesday with victories over their conference rivals.
KC had little trouble getting past Hesperia holding the Panthers to just 2 points in the second quarter as they built a 34-7 lead by the break.
The Mohawks route to the finals wasn’t quite so easy.
The Cloud’s patented in your face defense helped them jump out to a 11-5 lead after one but the shots stopped falling for them in the 2nd as Morley went on a 13-2 run to take charge at the break.
WC fought back to retake the lead 27-26 heading into the final frame but sharpshooter Madison Garbow kept hitting from distance and MS advanced to the Friday final.
WC Coach Kurt Brown: "We took the lead into the 4th, but couldn’t hold on. The opportunity was there, couple missed assignments and a couple bounces their way proved to be the difference. Super proud of my team and what they accomplished this year."
Now MS is hoping three times might be the charm because a win over the Eagles would give the ‘Hawks a little home cooking for the Regionals scheduled to begin next week on the Morley court.
KC has handled MS in their two conference games, blowing them out with a 75-33 win at home then fighting off a spate of cold shooting and a tough Mohawk defense to take a 42-30 win on the Morley court.
Friday is round 3.
The teams will face off at 7pm and the winner faces the survivor of the Pewama Westphalia/Calvin Christian final.
The PW Pirates took KC out of the tournament last year with a 2 point win in the Regionals played on the Eagle court.
In the opening game that night MS was eliminated by Calvin Christian.
Also by a bucket.
Garbow finished with 18 points for Morley Stanwood.
Kent City was paced by Lexie Bowers who nailed 19 points while Kenzie Bowers scored 13 and Jenna Harrison hit for 10.
Emily Bayle led the Panthers with 10 points
WMC 58 North Muskegon 36
Saugatuck 53 Black River 44 (OT)
Tyler Folkema poured in 23 points and snared 10 steals to help the Warriors move into a District Final matchup with Saugatuck on Friday.
The District hosts jumped off to a 7 point edge after one and kept the Norsemen at bay to enter the locker room with a 25-18 edge.
Then they ran away from NM in the 3rd pushing the lead to 15 as they entered the fourth and kept the momentum going to ice the victory.
Kyla Wiersema racked up 13 points to go with her team high 10 boards and Esther Hartley matched her 6 steals with a half dozen points.
Meanwhile,Saugatuck went into overtime to defeat Black River. It was the 4th win in the last 5 games for WMC’s Friday opponent.
Their only loss in that span?
To North Muskegon.
By a lot.
Photos by Alexis Mercer
Story by Ken DeLaat
Newaygo 51 Grant 32
The Tigers kept it close for about 6 minutes taking an early lead on a triple by Kassidy Doornbos that was answered by a pair of Jaylee Long buckets followed by a Jaxi Long strike from distance to put the Lions up 7-3
Jaycee Rider fired one in from beyond the arc and Kirstyn Throop connected for Grant and the Tigers regained the advantage at 8-7.
It was the last lead Grant would see on the night.
Lily Ruehmeier who sank some key shots all evening connected on a jumper and after a steal Jaxi Long was fouled and converted twice from the stripe. After a stop Jaxi Long hit for 2 followed by another Ruehmeier bucket and the quarter ended with Newaygo holding a 15-8 lead.
In the 2nd Doornbos stopped the Lion run with a basket but it was their only points of the quarter while Newaygo got scores from Jaylee Long, Sophia Frisbie and Ruehmeier off a nasty pass from Frisbie threading the needle to provide her teammate with a layup and the score landed at 21-10 at intermission.
The Lions came out confident in the third and rained down 22 points while holding the Tigers to two baskets, both coming from Sara Arends off steals. The 4th began with Newaygo clearly in charge at 43-14 and while the Tigers kept battling the Lions had this one on ice.
Jaxi Long led the Lions with 17 points, 5 rebounds and 5 steals, while Ruehmeier canned 10 points and grabbed 5 rebounds. Emmerson Goodin dropped in 7 to go with her 7 boards and Jaylee Long dished out 5 assists and hit for 8 points.
The Lions came to play tonight as Kendall Mathis snared a trio of defensive rebounds early on, Kayla Fisk came off the bench and proved bothersome for the Tiger offense with her high energy D, and Frisbie, relieved of the scoring duties she shouldered Monday by a hot Lion offense, focused on playmaking and her usual fiery defense.
Coach Thomasma "Great win for the girls tonight. They worked really hard and together on both ends of the floor and it showed. It's a rivalry game with Grant who are always well prepared, so we're happy that we came out with the win. We'll enjoy it for a bit tonight but we have a tough and well-coached Sparta team coming up on Friday that we will need to be ready for.”
Sparta 44 Comstock Park 41
Stop McKenna Bent.
That was the key to beating the Panthers and the task taken on by Spartan Junior Kensey Armock with some help from her teammates.
And while it is difficult to stop a player like Bent, Armock certainly helped contain her holding the talented CP senior to 13 points 2 nights after she dropped 38 on Tri County.
The intensity of Armock transferred to the offensive end as well as she led her team with 15 points.
The game got off to an intriguing start as Sparta ran off a dozen points before Bent got Park on the board with a basket and foul shot with 24 seconds left in the first.
The Panthers rallied at the start of the second with scores from Bent, Katelyn Heintzelman and Aliyah Durry but the Spartans answered with an 8-0 run featuring a pair of Britten Busen baskets and one by Kenzie Howland. Then after Durry and Julia McKay scored for CP Breanna Driscoll lasered a triple and Ashley Cowdrey took a Busen pass for a 2 pointer and the half ended with Sparta up 28-13.
The third saw Park mount a comeback with Bent hitting a pair from distance and the lead whittled down to 5 entering the final frame.
Bent scored the first basket of the 4th and the Panthers crept within 3 points but Armock, Paige Wilson and Bella Vallone each hit off stops by the defense and the lead went to 9 points.
Leah Rings hit nets twice and Katelyn Heintzlman converted a pair of free throws and Park got the game back to 3 with less than a minute left.
Armock was fouled and split from the line then Emily Heintzlman hit for 2 to bring the Panthers to within a pair of points again.
The teams split free throws at both ends but with seconds left Cowdrey put it out of reach converting 2 from the stripe and giving the Spartans the win.
The two teams will go to battle Friday at 7pm Friday in Fremont with the winner advancing to Regional play in Sparta where they will face the survivior of the GR Catholic Central/GR Christian game.
Story and photos by Mike Gesler
Grant 85 Fremont 77
Like the Thunderdome from the Mad Max movie, Beyond Thunderdome, two teams entered the court at Grant Middle School, and only one was going to leave.
Well, leave with a share of the CSAA Gold Conference title that is.
Tonight was the much anticipated rematch of the Grant Tigers and the Fremont Packers. Because of illness, this game was postponed a week and a half from the originally schedule date. And over that week and a half, both the Packers and the Tigers took care of the business they needed to in order to come into tonight with the share of the conference title on the line. The last time these two teams met back in mid-January, Fremont rose as the victors in a close and hotly contested game. The last time the Tigers also had the help of their top defender, Brett Long. Tonight, Grant would have to do without his services.
The first quarter opened with Grant’s Seth Schuitema hitting an open three and Grant’s Carter Chase hitting for two before Braiden McDonald put Fremont on the board with two. Undeterred and left open, Schuitema hooked up for two more uncontested threes before Fremont called a time out. Coming out of the time out with Grant up by nine, Fremont regrouped. “When you come out and you don’t know where Schuitema is three straight times down the court, and they’re uncontested threes, that put us in a hole,” stated Fremont’s Coach, Peter Zerfas. But the Packers would go on a ten point run to close the quarter leading the Tigers by one. This would also be the lowest scoring quarter for either team.
The second quarter saw both teams now settled in and playing the type of ball that each are capable of playing. The Chase/Schuitema duo would frustrate the Packers who together combined to put up twenty-one of Grant’s thirty points for the quarter. And whenever the Packers would try to pressure both, that left a Grant player open under the boards. For the Packer’s part, Grant had a difficult time containing McDonald. And if they did close down McDonald, Tristian Campbell or Martin Curiel were ready and open for an uncontested three. When the halftime buzzer sounded, Grant had reclaimed the lead and went into the locker room up by seven.
Fremont came out of the locker room refreshed and ready to step up their game for the second half. They managed to keep Schuitema and Chase to only two points each for the quarter. With their speed and aggression amped up a notch, the Packers were finding easy steals, and wide open looks. They held Grant to only eight points for the better part of the quarter, and put up twelve to put the game within four before Grant’s Gage Burrows entered the game. Unprepared for Burrows’ ability to score from anywhere on the court, Chase and Schuitema often found him open. In the last few minutes of the quarter, Burrows became a one man scoring machine knocking down nine points helping to stretch the Tiger lead to ten points at the end of three.
With both teams foul counts adding up, the fourth quarter saw both teams at the line as much as putting up shots from the field. This slowed the pace of the game down, and worked in Grant’s favor. While the Packers did manage to outscore the Tigers by two in the fourth, it was not enough to overcome the ten point deficit that the Packers needed to make up. As the final buzzer sounded, Grant secured its share of the CSAA Gold Conference title with Central Montcalm, and the Packers found themselves alone in second.
“So proud of our guys for showing grit and toughness against a real good, talented Fremont team who can score in a variety of ways, and defend ninety-four feet. I think it took all of our effort, our skill, our toughness, and several guys to step up and contribute,” shared Grant’s coach, Joel Schuitema.
Grant will play Holton on Friday night to end regular season play. Fremont has the rest of this week off before turning around and once again facing the Tigers in Grant for the opening round of District play. You may want to be in the house for this game. Tipoff is set for 5:30 pm.
Four Grant players saw double digits tonight. Leading was Seth Schuitema with twenty-eight, followed by Carter Chase with twenty-two, Diesel Rose with eleven, and Orion Evans with ten. Gage Burrows had nine for the night, and Cole Lesley and Elliot Butchart had three and two respectively.
Five Fremont players also saw double digits. Braiden McDonald with twenty-four, Tristan Campbell with twelve, and Joshua Zerfas, Christian Kennedy, and Martin Curiel each with eleven. Carter Moon put up six, and Jaxx Miller contributed two.
Photos by Sue Harrison
Kent City 86 Ravenna 25
The Eagles simply dominated their tournament opener on their home court blasting past the Bulldogs. Ravenna never knew what hit them as KC scored 40 of the first 42 points in the game.
Jenna Harrison matched the points of the Bulldogs firing in 25 points while Kenzie Bowers ripped the nets for 22 and Lexie Bowers hit for 16.
Laney Mabrito led the Dawgs with 9 points.
Next up for the Eagles is a Wednesday matchup with Hesperia
Morley Stanwood 54 Holton 15
The Mohawks roared past the Red Devils and will face White Cloud at 6pm Wednesday.