A look at Tuesdays action on area courts
Newaygo at Grant
Two teams who had way different games last Friday. Newaygo managed to overcome their mysterious tendency toward a bit of second half funk to win a close one after falling short twice in a row.
The Tigers? They were torn apart by the Packers who dominated the game from tipoff to final buzzer.
Well, what better way to refocus than a rivalry game on your home court?
The Lions have never been out of a game. They seem to be hitting their mid-season stride and have deepened their bench and spread out their scoring when needed. Jaxi Long can rip the nets when hot as can Jaylee Long but Frisbie fired in 17 last week and Goodin scores in bunches when cleaning up the glass with Mathis and Ruehmeier.
Grant has notched 3 wins, all in conference play and sit a game ahead of Newaygo in the standings.The Tigers will have to regroup here and forget that last outing when they struggled to contain the Packer speed. Thoop didn’t get many looks with Shriver blanketing her most of the game but Doornbos and Arends stopped the bleeding a couple times with clutch buckets and Rider and Passage are capable shooters as well.
Fremont at Tri County
If Miller gets off to the same start she had against the Tigers the Vikes are in trouble.
She simply took the game over at the beginning turning steals into down the court layups with no one even close to her. Combine that with the recent performances of VandenBerg and Shriver, the full out take no prisoners game of Jamieson, Zerlaut playing like a varsity veteran and an ability to go four deep plus from the bench and you have a pretty formidable squad.
The Vikings have yet to beat a team with a winning record but took Newaygo the whole way before coming up short. TC has a 3 game home winning streak but the teams they played have a combined record of 6-23. Coach Alger will have her team ready and will likely employ a game plan designed to slow down the Pack and contain VandenBerg inside.
If that is indeed the strategy it remains to be seen whether or not they can execute it.
The Packers are peaking.
Hart at White Cloud
The Pirates haven’t missed a beat after last year's run to the Regional final. A loss to arch rival Shelby on the Tiger home court is sandwiched by 5 wins on each side of that game including Friday’s triumph over then conference leader Montague to pull them into a tie for the top spot in the WMC. They are also road warriors having played 8 of their 11 games away from home and going 7-1.
The Cloud lost to MS but so has everyone else and they gave them fits for much of the game before the ‘Hawks took charge late. WC also notched a road win over Shelby the lone blemish on the Pirate record. This could be a good one.
Hesperia at Mason County Eastern
The Cardinals were pummeled early on by White Cloud but since then have gone 6-2 and currently sit tied for second in the West Michigan D League.
In Hesperia Bayle is having an outstanding season, Tinkham has been tough on the glass and Romero and Castillo have stepped up as the Panthers continue to improve. Four of their six losses came against teams who have combined for 37 wins against 5 losses. They got blown out by Kent City Friday but they’re one of 6 teams that have lost by at least 40 points to the high flying Eagles.
The game is in Custer and the Panthers could use this one with undefeated MS coming to town Friday.
Pentwater at Holton
The Red Devils have dropped 6 of their last 7 and the Falcons have lost 4 in a row. Both teams have trouble scoring against teams that possess a defense.
Newaygo at Grant
A rivalry game featuring the two teams that nearly took out the undefeated Packers last week. Since getting blasted by Morley the Lions have played the Cards and Pack tough on the road and rambled past the Vikings tying their biggest offensive output of the season with 77 points. Magaña, Mortensen and Rios can score and the team has a toughness to them that runs through the whole roster.
The Tigers are on the cusp of being an outstanding team. Rose is a beast inside, Schuitema shines on both ends of the court and Evans adds timely scoring to his defensive skill set.
Then there’s Chase, a name that needs to be mentioned in any debate over who might be the area’s best player.
If this team is close at the end watch out. They have a pair of sharpshooters who can fire missiles.
Fremont at Tri County
The Vikings give up a lot of points.
The Packers generally score a lot of points.
Campbell should have a field day underneath while Moon, McDonald, and Kennedy will likely score plenty from inside and out.
The Vikes are at home and will hope to keep it close but they haven’t the firepower of the Pack and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see all 12 Packer players finding their way into the book.
West Michigan Christian at Hesperia
It’s a new program with a new coach at Hesperia and while improvement continues the season isn’t going to get easier when they host WMC on Tuesday.
The Warriors don’t score a ton of points but the Panthers have only put more than 25 on the board twice and WMC averages double that.