Newaygo 68 Hesperia 13
The Panthers are struggling to be sure. They’re not scoring much and they’re giving up a lot of points.
Tuesday they faced the Lions.
They hit a season low in scoring while yielding more than in any game thus far as they fell for the 5th straight time.
The Lions took control early and never let go despite emptying the bench early.
Wyatt Mortensen led the team in scoring with 16 all in the first quarter. David Gonzales finished with 9 and Carlos Magana grabbed a half dozen boards and fired in 10 points.
Coach Barrette: “A good team win. We did a good job of sharing the ball tonight.”
Newaygo (1-1, 2-3) faces another Silver team Wednesday when they travel to Morley Stanwood to face the undefeated ‘Hawks. The Panthers (0-2, 0-5) will visit Lakeview (0-3, 0-5) on Friday.
Holton 61 Wyoming Lee 35
Coach Houseman: “Everyone got minutes and it was a nice team win.”
Nathan Slowik hit for 23 points, Aidan Poling drained 21, and Lukas Ramaekers also finished in double figures with 10.
The Red Devils (1-1, 3-3) return to Silver action Friday when they visit White Cloud.
Holton 49 Wyoming Lee 16
The Devils picked up win number 2 defeating the Rebs on the road.
By N3 Sports
An abbreviated return to the court for area teams Monday with the Lions traveling south to Kenowa Hills to take on the Knights and the Panthers heading north to face the Spartans.
Newaygo- 47 Kenowa Hills 15
After edging out to a 12-10 lead entering the second quarter the Lions shook off the rust from their holiday layoff and ran away from their hosts going 35-5 the rest of the way to nab the non conference win.
Jaylee Long led the Lions with 12 points, 7 assists and 5 steals. Emmerson Goodin had 8 points and 9 rebounds.
Coach Thomasma: "Happy to get the win coming out of Christmas Break. The girls played hard against a well coached Kenowa Hills team."
Newaygo improves to 4-2 on the year while Kenowa Hills drops to 3-.3. The Lions return to league action Friday when they visit the Cardinals of Big Rapids
Mason County Central 40 Hesperia 32
Both teams came into the game hoping to grab win number 2 on the season and despite a late comeback by the visitors the Spartans kheld on for the non-con victory.
Emmi Tinkham contines to work the glass for the Panthers snaring a dozen boards and Emily Bayle notched 16 points to go with her 3 steals.
Coach Grodus:”This was a very physical game. We cut the lead to 2 points in 4th quarter but we ran out of gas.”
Hesperia (1-1, 1-5) looks to add to the W column when they resume conference play Friday with a visit to Lakeview to take on the Wildcats (0-2, 0-6).
By N3 Sports
Fremont 5-0, 2-0
The Packers are a good team.
A really good team.
The way they wrested control of the game from Big Rapids and triumphed over a very physical Oriole squad gives their fans a taste of things to come this season as they strive to match last seasons undefeated run to the Gold crown. Their other wins were against less impressive teams but gave the entire bench significant playing time without missing a beat.
Try to shut down McDonald? No problem. Give the shooting sign to Zerfas, Kennedy, Moon Miller, et.al. There are numerous weapons on the floor and on the bench for this group of Packers and they are clearly the team to beat in the Gold.
Newaygo 1-1, 1-3
The Lions got slammed by graduation and have a lot of new faces in their starting lineup. They are not going to matchup talent-wise with the best in the conference but Coach Barrette will get the most out of his players and Magana, Gonzales, Mortenson, etc. are scrappers Teams that go up against the Lions, particularly in the Den, will know they’re in a game.
They return with a trio of tough road games against teams with a combined 11-1 record.
Grant 1-1, 1-5
The Tigers are a better team than their record indicates.
N3 Contributor Mike Gesler: “Coming off the break the Tigers just need to grow comfortable with each other as a team, and cannot rely on Chase and Schuitema to carry them.. When they distribute the ball and take it inside, they are a tough team as shown against Reed City.”
Their schedule has been brutal with a bevy of teams deep in talent delivering a few lumps along the way but outside of a runaway by the Chix of ZE they have been in every game. They travel to Chip Hills and Tri County this week before heading a bit west to face the Packers.Their next home game isn’t for another 2 weeks when Newaygo makes the short trip south.
Central Montcalm 2-0, 3-0
The Hornets have continued the success they had on the gridiron to the court with a trio of wins to start the season but they haven’t beaten anyone with a winning record yet and will face the MS ‘Hawks, The Packers and the Cards to start the new year. Those games should tell the tale of CM going forward
Big Rapids 1-1, 1-2
Coach Ingels team will likely have an eye on their early February rematch with the Packers on the Cardinal court but in the meantime they look to be able to do some damage along the way. They have some talent, some strong bench players and while a bit streaky can run away from teams when things are clicking.
Tri County 1-1, 1-2
The Vikes beat the Warriors but so has everyone else so far. They were out of the game early against BR and Morley handled them without a lot of trouble.TC resumes play against 2 teams without a win then play Newaygo and Grant who have 2 wins between them.
Reed City 0-2, 0-4
Averaging less than 40 points a game is not going to translate into success on the court. It’s early but the ‘Yotes might be in for a long season.
Chip Hills 0-2, 0-3
The Warriors will win some games.
But likely not a lot of them.
White Cloud 1-1, 2-2
The Cloud has a few players with lengthy varsity experience in Holt, Venema and Foster and a few newcomers as well. While they are unlikely to challenge the ‘Hawks and Eagles for the Silver crown they have a chance to win more games than the past couple of years and build a bit on that success.
Holton 1-1, 2-3
A good team that has been close in early season losses to very good teams. The Devs might be looking up at the aforementioned KC and MS but they won’t be looking up too far and a win over either of those squads would not be a huge surprise. Holton will be in the winning column more often than not this season.
Hesperia 0-2, 0-4
32 points a game won’t get you a lot of W’s but the Panthers went without a win throughout the regular season last year then made a nice run at tourney time. They face Lakeview in their first game back and this could be their best shot at breaking into the left side of the standings since the Wildcats are also struggling on offense.
Morley Stanwood 2-0, 4-0
Tough defensive play has kept opponents under 50 a game and forged an early win streak.They return with 2 cross conference games against the Lions and Hornets before their faceoff with Kent City.
Kent City 2-0, 3-1
The Eagles will battle MS for the Silver title once again and they have a tough non-con schedule which should help come tourney time. Hudson and Carlson can score but the defensive play of the Eagles that impresses the most.
Lakeview 0-3, 0-4
The Cats are going to struggle. They are yielding over 30 points a game more than they are scoring. Granted, those were all pretty tough teams but 30 is a lot of points.
None of their next 6 opponents have a winning record thus far so maybe things will turn around.
But man, 30 is a lot of points.
Ravenna 58 Holton 48
“ It was a tight game all the way with a number of lead changes but I felt we ran out of gas in the fourth quarter. Ravenna did a good job of getting the ball inside and we didn’t execute well defensively. My kids played tough. We are very close to becoming a very good team. Our 3 losses have been to Sparta who has not lost and we led for a lot of that game, Morley Stanwood who is undefeated and where we led by as much as 12 or 14 but couldn’t finish it out and now tonight.
“We have to get in better shape, have a couple of guys off the bench step up and give us a few solid minutes. We will continue to fine tune everything and by March we will be a very solid team. I am excited to see our progress each day in practice and every game we play. Ravenna has a nice team and I hope we get another shot at them in the districts.”
Lukas Ramaekers scored 14 points, Nathan Slowik had 12, Aidan Poling had 9.
Manistee 37 Grant 31
By N3 Sports
Fremont 2-0, 3-3
Three losses. A squeaker to undefeated Montague, a puzzling defeat at the hands of Spring Lake and a blowout loss to a Ludington team that would also be undefeated if not for scheduling Reeths Puffer and Ms. Basketball candidate Lauren Ross.
We didn’t see the other 2 wins but we caught the come from behind win over Big Rapids and this is a team that will likely be in the hunt for the Gold title. They are true battlers who possess a never say die attitude on the court. Vandenberg is an absolute force and efforts to stop her open it up for Miller, Shriver, and Jamieson. Bennett has shown to be a clutch performer who kept her team close enough to pull off the win against the previously unbeaten Cardinals and other role players make up a solid squad
They return to the court next Friday when they begin a 3 game homestand by facing the defending champs of Central Montcalm. Should be a good one.
Grant 2-0, 2-4
The Tigers fell a point short in their opener against White Cloud then were handled easily by two quality teams in Kent City and Cedar Springs.
Since then they edged the Hornets dropped a heartbreaker to Sparta and outlasted Reed City to remain undefeated in league play and without a win out of conference.
Teams know that stopping Throop is a must and the strategy worked early on but when Rider, Doornbos, Arends and Longcore are hitting the strategy weakens considerably.
They visit Manistee during the break and should collect non league win number one before hitting the road for 3 conference matchups beginning with a struggling Chip Hills team.
Newaygo 3-2, 1-1
The Lions will be garnishing their share of wins this season particularly if the offense can consistently put up the points they are capable of. The Long sisters can score in bunches and Goodin has developed a strong game on both ends of the court while Frisbie and Mathis display an intensity on defense that creates problems for opposing teams. Other players in the mix provide the Lions with one of their deepest teams in years.
A 10 point loss to a good Cedar Springs team and a down to the wire defeat at the hands of a relentless CM squad constitute the stats on the right column of the record but the Lions will be making some serious noise this season.
They need to be road warriors as the team heads to Kenowa Hills Monday before returning to league play at BR Friday and the schedule has them at home just once in their next 7 games.
Big Rapids 1-1, 5-1
The loss to Fremont notwithstanding this is a team that will be among the 5 possible teams battling for a title. Their only loss saw a double digit lead evaporate against an unwilling-to-lose Packer squad.
Central Montcalm 1-1, 4-1
The defending champs lost a lot to graduation but they are coming on strong and while they might not have the scoring power of last season they still play a rugged defense. Onlyb the Lions have put more than 40 on the board against them.
Tri County 1-1, 2-2
Two wins over teams that are struggling and two losses against teams who are not. The coming week should provide a pair of games to help give the offense the traction they will need as they face a brutal seven game run after those two matchups..
Chip Hills, 0-2, 2-4
They have two wins but adding to those could be tough for awhile. They haven’t been in contention the past 3 games against quality opponents.
Reed City 0-2, 0-5
Better than the record indicates perhaps but not likely to be a factor in the conference race.
White Cloud 1-1, 3-3
We caught the Cloud against the cream of the conference when Kent City came to town. The Eagles are one of the best teams in the area with a prolific scoring ability and the WC squad of scrappers held them to nearly 30 points less than the 70+ points they have averaged against other teams.
Strait, Bowman and Watson are gamers who can score and no opposing player wants to match up with Scarlavai who seems to have a never ending supply of energy and a keen sense for the ball.
While KC and Morley look to rule the Silver do not count the Cloud out yet. They are still adjusting to life without Hannah Brown and those three losses came against teams who are 13-4 thus far
Hesperia 1-1, 1-4
Bayle, Castillo and Romero can certainly score while Tinkham has become tougher on the glass with each passing game. The Panthers will likely still be looking up at the Eagles, ‘Hawks and likely WC but there is some weaponry on hand in Hesperia and they open with a trio of winnable games on the schedule as they enter the new year.
Holton 0-2, 1-4
We haven’t watched the RDs play yet but a season opening overtime win gave them one more than all of last year and a matchup with a winless Wyoming Lee on Tuesday gives them an opportunity to grab number 2.
Still it is a rebuilding year for the program under a new coach and while the Devils should add to their victory total as the season progresses the W’s look to be hard to come by-particularly in the conference.
Kent City 2-0, 6-0
A really, really good team with sharpshooters, rebounding, good defense and of course Bowers who is the proverbial straw that stirs the drink.
And she, as well as Harrison, Geers and others, each have another year or two before they depart.
Morley Stanwood 2-0, 6-0
Can the Mohawks overcome the dominance of Kent City in the Silver?
Well, they are 6-0 to start the season but none of the teams they have beaten have a winning mark and the combined record of those teams is 6-24.
We’ll likely know more after a rare Saturday game next week when they pay a visit to the Eagle Aerie
Lakeview 0-2, 0-6
Averaging under 20 points a game which does not translate into many wins.
Thome, Breuker, Kolk take top honors; Knudsen reaches 100
The Packers grappled their way to the top spot in the Mat Hat Classic Invitational in Montague Saturday besting the 15 team field to secure the Championship.
Their final tally of 223.5 outpointed Holland (185.5), Hudsonville (165) Spring Lake (135.5 and the Hesperia Panthers who finished 5th (95.5).
R.J. Thome Trey Breuker and Kyler Kolk took home individual championships while Alex Gleason Jager Kibart and Michael Romero also made it to the finals to finish second.
Gage Montague and Briar Hambrock nabbed third place honors, Eli Beasley, Matt Halasinski and Chase Knudsen finished fourth and Henrik Quist, Sam Parks, and Cody Visscher placed sixth.
Knudsen took just 25 seconds to achieve a milestone as he pinned Seth Harris of Muskegon in his opening match to gain his 100th career win.
White Cloud 63 Hesperia 42
The Cloud ran out to a 16-5 lead after one and stretched their advantage to 15 by intermission.
Coach Jones: “All ten players played well tonight.”
Steven Holt fired in a game high 17 points with three other WC players finishing in double figures. Sam Venema scored 15 Dexter Cox dropped in 11 and Jake Foster hit for 10. Taylor Bode (5), Alex Elder (3) and Tom Feldpausch (2) rounded out the scoring for the Cloud.
Joao Lima paced the Panthers with 10 points, while River Montague and Kaiden Robbins knocked down 9 apiece.
Coach Wooster: “I'm proud of these guys for the improvements made thus far. We have guys who give 100%. We have to improve free throws and offensive consistency and we will be on track to compete at a higher level.”
Morley Stanwood 52 Holton 46
The Devils battled to a 29-20 lead at the break but the Mohawks came out of the locker room firing on all cylinders and forged a 40 all tie heading into the final frame.
That's when Axel Woolworth started firing them in from beyond the arc along with some key buckets from Aiden McLaughlin and Justin Carney
Nathan Slowik led the Red Devils with 20 points and Aidan Poling hit for 10, Wyatt Monette finished with 8 points and Drew Trygstad dropped in a half dozen..
Holton(2-2, 1-1)returns to action January 3rd when they hit the road to Ravenna. MS is 4-0 overall and 2-0 in Silver play. Their next contest will be in Stanton on January 7th when they face the Hornets.
White Cloud 44 Hesperia 34
WC held their hosts to a single point in the first and built a 20-7 lead by the half. The Panthers held their own in the second half but could not mount enough of a run to catch the Cloud
Emily Bayle grabbed 11 boards and Emmi Tinkham took down 10 for the Panthers with Bayle pacing the scoring with 18 and Becci Castillo snatching 3 steals.
Coach Grodus:“A slow start hurt us in the first half. We finally got some shots to fall in the second half but we ran out of time.”
Hesperia (1-4, 1-1) will welcome in the Spartans of Mason County Central on January 6th and White Cloud (3-3, 1-1) returns to action the next day with a road trip to Shelby.
Morley Stanwood 59 Holton 14
The Lady Devs (0-2, 1-4) face Wyoming Lee at home January 7th.
Story and photos by Mike Gesler
Grant 67 Reed City 55
Both the Grant Tigers and the Reed City Coyotes came into tonight’s match-up with a 0-3 record. That meant that both teams knew one of them tonight would put their first win in the column. And because this was a CSAA conference game, neither team wanted to enter the winter break already down two in conference play.
The first quarter would begin with Grant drawing first blood as Carter Chase started Grant’s scoring effort with two points. Seth Schuitema would add the next three points, end a five point Reed City run, and begin a six point run for the Tigers. Thus began the battle of the winless teams that would have Grant edging out Reed City in the first quarter by a basket.
Reed City started the second by evening out the score at twelve. Schuitema once again drained another three, but Reed City answered with a three of their own. With the second quarter half way through, and the game tied at fifteen, Grant called a time-out. The Tigers came out of that time-out by putting together an eight point run, and from there never looking back. As the half buzzer sounded, the Tigers took to the locker room with a ten point lead over Reed City’s seventeen points.
With the start of the second half, the Coyotes knew a ten point deficit was not insurmountable to dig their way out. The Tigers however knew that this game was far from over, and they still had business to take care of. Elliott Buchart increased the Tiger lead to twelve. Grant went on to extend their lead by fourteen before Reed City went on a run to bring the game within nine. This would be a theme that would repeat itself later in the game.
The fourth quarter saw an entirely different Grant team. With the pressure of the first win lifting off their backs, the Tigers started having fun. In doing so, Grant put together their best quarter of their young season thus far. Within the first two minutes of the fourth, the Tigers had extended their lead again by fourteen points. The Coyotes though were not about to simply slink away with their tails between their legs. Over the next couple minutes, Reed City slowly chipped that deficit back to eight. But eight wasn’t enough as the Tigers easily controlled the remainder of the game for their first win of the season.
“I thought we shared the ball really well tonight,” stated Coach Schuitema. “Probably most of our baskets were off an assist which I think sends a message about the kind of team we have; like we are pretty unselfish and we’re looking for guys. I was really proud of them competing because Reed City is a tough physical team, and we just kept battling.”
Leading in tonight’s efforts was Seth Schuitema with twenty-four points, followed by Carter Chase with fifteen. Brett Long had nine, Elliot Buchart with eight, and Orion Evans put up six. Cole Lesley and Brandon Swanson each had two, and Diesel Rose contributed one. The Tigers move to 1-1 in the conference, and 1-3 overall. After the winter break the Tigers go on a three game road trip beginning with Chippewa Hills before returning home to face Newaygo on January 21.
Story and photos by Mike Gesler
Grant 44 Reed City 39
The Lady Tigers were looking to keep their conference record unblemished tonight against the Lady Coyotes of Reed City. Reed City though was determined not to enter the winter break with a winless record, and were salivating at a chance for Tiger meat.
The game did not begin well for either team. Both were slow to get on the board, and it was Reed City who struck the first blow. The Tigers would have to wait four minutes before Kirstyn Throop would convert one of a one-and-one and give the Tigers their first point. After that both teams seem to find their rhythm, and a first quarter battle ensued. By the time the dust settled, Reed City had a one point advantage going into the second quarter.
The second quarter saw an apparent strategic adjustment from Reed City by putting Throop on a tight leash. Reed City’s talented and athletic guard, Taylor Harrison, did everything she could to stymie Throop’s play. This adjustment paid off as the Coyotes held the Tigers to only five points in the second while putting eleven more points on the board for themselves. Going into the half, Reed City looked as if they had caged the Tigers with a score of fourteen to twenty-one.
I don’t know what Coach Paulsen said in the locker room, but the Tigers came out in the second half ready to show the Coyotes that whatever wounds they may have suffered were now fully healed. After Reed City quickly put another two points on the board, Grant went on a six point run to bring the game within an easy three point difference. And even though Reed City continued to keep Throop from finding the net that did not stop Throop from finding her open teammate. With the third quarter coming to a close, Grant had chiseled Reed City’s lead down to two.
The start of the fourth saw Savannah Passage tie the game up, but it would be a pair of free-throws followed quickly with a three point bucket, both from Sara Arends, that would shift the momentum clearly over to Grant’s side. With seventy ticks left on the clock and a nine point advantage, it appeared that Grant was about to secure their second win of the season. However, the clock was stopped at a minute-ten because Throop had committed her fifth foul and put Reed City’s Harrison on the line. With Throop now out of the game, Reed City made quick work of the next minute and brought the game back within three. The Lady Tigers were not having their best night at the line so an intentional foul on Jaycee Rider with six point six seconds left seemed like a smart decision out of Reed City. With a three point difference, Throop out, and Harrison waiting for her team to put the ball in her hands, Rider needed to come through in the clutch. With nerves of steel, Rider drained both free-throws. There was nothing left that the Coyotes could do as Grant made a terrific second half come back for the win.
“I thought it was a great bounce game,” stated Coach Paulsen. “We had a good Central Montcalm game. Sparta was not our best effort. Today we came back, and did the things we talked about doing on Wednesday. The girls played their butts off. Reed City is tough, physical, and aggressive. I thought we did a good job matching it, and doing what we needed to do at the end to pull out a victory.”
Leading tonight in Grant’s scoring effort was Jaycee Rider with twelve followed closely by Ashley Longcore with nine, Sara Arends with eight, Kirstyn Throop with seven, and Kassidy Doornbos with six. Savannah Passage also put up two. The Tigers go into the winter break with conference record of 2-0, and 2-4 overall. When play resumes in January, the Tigers go on a long away stretch beginning with Manistee. Their next home game is not until the twenty-first against Newaygo.
Packers hold off late Cardinal run for the win
Fremont 57 Big Rapids 43
With a pair of high powered offenses averaging around 80 points a game poised to meet in an early conference showdown it looked to be a high scoring affair.
Instead it was a knock down in your face defensive battle royale as an emotional game unfolded in front of a packed Packer house and the hosts sent their fans home happy with a big early season win.
The first quarter told of what was to come as the teams fought to an 8-6 Packer lead after one courtesy of 5 points by Joshua Zerfas , a triple by Chris Kennedy and some rugged defensive play.
In the second, a pair of 3 pointers from Kennedy and Carter Moon gave the hosts an 8 point lead but Demarcus Lee hit from distance and Jamal Strickland canned a couple baskets and the Cards were within a point. Tristan Campbell split a pair at the line and Lee followed with a game tying shot followed by a 3 by Keendy and and answer from Sam Alley and the score stayed tied before Moon sent the teams to break with a basket to give Fremont a 22-20 edge at the half.
That lead would hold up until the final period as the Pack fought off a couple of runs by the Cardinals to stay ahead through three. With Fremont up by as much as 8 points the BR team battled back with some inside play by D.J. GreenBay that pulled the visitors within 4 but Braiden McDonald, scoreless in the first half hit a basket and completed the 3 point play with a free throw following a foul that didn’t sit lightly on the Cardinal bench as the coaching staff well demonstrated in their reaction to the referees. BR's Alley and Jaxx Miller exchanged buckets and the teams entered the final quarter with Fremont up 37-32.
Lee and Alley busted out in the 4th with 6 quick points that tied the game but Zerfas cam through with a pair of hoops, Kennedy converted a pair from the charity stripe and Zrfas pounded in another before Ally stopped the Cardinal bleeding with a basket. Kennedy and McDonald each found their way to the foul line and each went 2-2 to push the lead to ten with 2 minutes on the clock
From there the Packers were in control and BR was forced to foul as time wound down.
Coach Zerfas: “On paper this one looked like it was going to be a track meet. It was slow early as shots were not falling for either side. We talked at halftime to stay the course and try to bump it to 7 after 3 quarters and that's what we did. Big Rapids came out strong in the 4th but we regrouped and wore them down.”
Kennedy led a balanced attack with 16 points. McDonald had 11 points and 12 rebounds while Joshua Zerfas finished with 11 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists.
Carter Moon had a great all-around game with 10 points, 9 rebounds, 5 steals and 5 assists and played everywhere from the guard to big throughout the game.
Fremont is now 5-0, overall and 2-0 in the Gold. Big Rapids falls to 2-1 and 1-1 in conference play. The Packers stretch their two season regular season winning streak to 22 with the victory.