Vikings, Packers, Lions and Tigers finish 9-5 in Gold.
By N3 Sports Team
“What a race for 2nd place,” said Packer Coach John Krim. “There were so many close games for us this season.”
As there were so many close games among the quartet of teams who spent the season beating up on each other only to finish in a dead heat for the runner-up prize. Yes that’s right, the race was pretty much for second place with the steamrolling Hornets of Central Montcalm improving on an already dominant team as the season progressed. Their team was challenged just twice. A 5 point win over Grant in game 2 of the season and a 2 point squeaker over Independent powerhouse Arbor Prep.Other than those two games were likely to be all but over by halftime.
The four teams behind the Hornets jockeyed around and down the stretch Fremont and Tri County lost 2 of 3, Grant won 3 out of their last 4 and Newaygo charged from behind winning their last 5 to catch the trio of teams ahead of them.
After next week it will be tournament time and three of the four runner-ups could meet again in the Grant District where the Tigers will be hosting the Packers and Lions as well as the Coopersville and Comstock Park squads.
Tri County, the 4th team sharing second will be taking their tournament show on the road to Shepherd where, should they manage to get past a soaring Alma team and the host Blue Jays,they are likely to be facing a familiar foe in the finals.
Newaygo 42 Reed City 27
When Jaylee Long canned her 7th triple of the night for the Lions to break a long standing school record for three pointers in a single game the previous record holder was there to witness it.
After all in doing so she broke the family record as well since it was her Mom Julie Long (nee Ottinger) who set the mark that has been in the books for since 1993 or just a tad over a quarter century.
Jaylee finished with 8 of those long distance missiles and a game high 27 points as Newaygo pushed their way into the logjam that is second place in the Gold with a convincing win over the Coyotes on the road. It was the 5th straight win for the Lion team as they finished with a 9-5 conference mark and a 12-6 record for the season.
Coach Thomasma: "It definitely wasn't our best performance but the girls gutted out the victory. It was our 6th game in two weeks so we looked a bit tired. We were not sharp on offense but we played good team defense which helped us win the game.
"Jaylee was lights out in on offense tonight. It was a great performance."
Fremont 44 Chippewa Hills 35
The Packers laid claim to their share of second place as they survived early foul trouble to halt a 3 game skid with a win over the Warriors.
“Our bench play was very important for us tonight,” said Coach Krim
Haley Zerlaut stepped up big for the visitors emerging off the bench to fire in 9 first half points to help the Pack take a 13 point lead at the break. The Warriors battled back in the second half but Fremont was able to hold back the effort and come away with a tough road win.
Natalie Jamieson had the hot hand knocking down 16 points while Paige Vandenberg ruled the glass once again pulling down 15 boards and rejectingnantrio of Warrior shots in the process. Zerlaut finished with 11 points on the night.
The Packers finish the conference season with a 9-5 mark and now stand 11-8 overall.
White Cloud 48 Lakeview 30
The Cloud traveled to Lakeview with a lot on the line. The Indians needed a victory to secure a share of 2nd place in the Silver along with Morley Stanwood. Kent City won the title with a perfect 10-0 league mark..The visitors overcame a hostile environment and an oversized front line to post their 7th conference win against 3 losses with a 12-4 record on the season.
Lakeview played a box and one on Hannah Brown, but that didn’t hold her. She led the Indians with 22 points, 6 assists, and 5 steals. Alexis Strait added 10 points and 5 steals. Cassie Watson was a beast on the glass with 10 rebounds. Jemi Perrin added a couple big threes and finished with 6 points.
Grant 43 Big Rapids 28
The Tigers needed a win to take their share of second in the Gold and they got it on the road against the Cards. Grant completed a 9-5 season in league play and is now 11-8 overall.
CM 66 Tri County 25
The Hornets rolled to their 18th straight win using their smothering defense to take control of the game. The loss dropped the Vikes into a 4 way tie for second as the teams completed conference play.
Morley Stanwood 58 Hesperia 45
Kent City 73 Holton 26