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  • High School Quarterfinal Preview

    Posted by Nick Vlietstra

    We are down to only two Kalamazoo area teams left and Schoolcraft and Climax-Scotts both head to their quarterfinal play against two very tough opponents.  Still, it is the quarterfinal and you should be to the point where you are facing tough opponents.  Here is a look at both games:

    Class C

    Regional #10 @ Bangor

    Schoolcraft (23-2) vs. Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central (22-2)

    How they got here:

    Schoolcraft:

    District – Union City 62-61

    District – Reading 50-34

    District – Quincy 66-57

    Regional – Bloomingdale 42-36

    Regional – White Pigeon 73-44

    St. Mary CC:

    District – Erie Mason 65-30

    District – Ottawa Lake Whiteford 70-49

    District – Petersburg-Summerfield 59-42

    Regional – Hillsdale 59-48

    Regional – Clinton 51-40

    Schoolcraft will certainly have a better home advantage considering their trip to Bangor is about two hours less than St. Mary’s.  Schoolcraft has had a very easy path so far, and the biggest surprise has come because of how close some of their games have been.  This Eagles’ squad is not as strong as the teams the past few years, but they have still dominated a weak KVA, and have worked their way back to another quarterfinal.  They are trying to make it back to the Breslin Center and if they do it would be their fourth trip in five years.  The Eagles beat the Falcons 48-43 in the 2011 quarterfinal.

    St. Mary is a very strong team who finished second in their conference to Milan.  Both of their losses this season came to Milan who, by the way, is Class A and just lost to Romulus in the Regional final.   While Schoolcraft is led by Luke Ryskamp, St. Mary is led by one very good player, Kevin Woodson.  In the regional semifinal game, Woodson scored 34 points against Hillsdale.  In the regular season they were winning games by over 20 ppg.  St. Mary has been led by great defense which has given up only 38.8 ppg.  Including the playoffs, they have allowed over 50 points in a game in only three games.

    My Pick: St. Mary 54, Schoolcraft 49

    Class D

    Quarterfinal #13 @ Battle Creek Central

    #4 Climax-Scotts (24-1) vs. #3 Southfield Christian (20-4)

    How they got here:

    Climax-Scotts:

    District – #8 Mendon 70-51

    District – Howardsville Christian 45-33

    District – Colon 57-28

    Regional – Covert 59-53

    Regional – Adrian Lenawee Christian 62-45

    Southfield Christian:

    District – Detroit Universal Academy 69-18

    District – Detroit Davis Aerospace 85-49

    Regional – Bellevue 68-44

    Regional – #7 Allen Park Inter-City Baptist 68-61 OT

    This is a rematch of last year’s state championship game where Christian trounced CS 76-44.  The Panthers will have the upper edge on travel as they need to make the short trip to Battle Creek and Christian needs to come from Detroit.  These two also have one common opponent this season.  Read into this how you may, but Climax-Scotts has beaten Bellevue twice (51-42, 52-33) and Christian just beat Bellevue in the regional 68-44.

    Christian has lost four games this year but all are to very quality opponents, and they have not lost since a January 11 loss to Inter-City Baptist.  Their top two players are Lindsey Hunter IV and Bakari Evelyn who both are fantastic players who can shoot anywhere.  To win this game CS is going to need to defend those two, and try to effectively use their size advantage inside.

    My Pick: Southfield Christian 62, Climax Scotts 50

  • High School Basketball Regional Preview

    Posted by Nick Vlietstra

    Class A

    Regional 1 @ Gull Lake

    Teams and how they got here:

    Loy Norrix (16-7):

    Won District 1 at Mattawan with wins over Portage Northern (70-61), Mattawan (61-31) and Portage Central (75-67)

    Holt (17-6):

    Won District 2 at Battle Creek Lakeview with wins over Battle Creek Lakeview (56-54), Battle Creek Central (55-49) and Jackson (75-48)

    Grand Rapids Christian (17-6):

    Won District 4 at East Grand Rapids with wins over Wyoming (72-58), #10 ranked East Kentwood (72-63) and Grand Rapids Union (74-51)

    Lansing Waverly (19-4):

    Won District 3 at Lansing Waverly with wins over Okemos (70-48), DeWitt (57-52) and East Lansing (64-44)

    Schedule:

    Monday:

    5:30 Grand Rapids Christian vs. Lansing Waverly

    7:00 Loy Norrix vs. Holt

    Wednesday:

    7:00 Championship

    Favorite: Grand Rapids Christian

    All of these are quality teams at this point and it is hard to pick a true favorite.  Loy Norrix certainly goes in to this as the underdog.  They are playing a very good Holt team who has beaten Battle Creek Central twice this year (BCC beat Loy Norrix twice as well so you can view that how you may).  Loy Norrix has Bishop Robinson who averaged 26.3 ppg in three district games. 

    Grand Rapids Christian did pull of the upset of East Kentwood who was ranked #10 in the state.  They also have Drake Harris who is not only one of the top players in this regional but one of the top players in the state.  He averaged 32.3 ppg in the three district games which included scoring 34 points in two of those games.  Waverly meanwhile has Dee Roberts who averaged 21.7 ppg in the three district games.

    A few of these teams have faced each other this season, but nothing from the first round.  Grand Rapids Christian beat Loy Norrix 57-54 on January 12 in a showcase at Davenport Univeristy (a game that Drake Harris did not play due to unjury) and Holt beat Lansing Waverly 54-51 on the first game of the season.

    Class B

    Regional 9 @ Marshall

    Teams and how they got here:

    #2 Stevensville Lakeshore (22-0):

    Won District 33 @ Berrien Spring with wins over #3 Dowagiac (78-76), Berrien Springs (50-29) and Benton Harbor (54-43).

    Sturgis (14-8):

    Won District 34 @ Edwardsburg with wins over Edwardsburg (54-39), Paw Paw (41-39) and Three Rivers (58-37).

    South Haven (19-4):

    Won District 48 @ Otsego with wins over Hopkins (60-59), Allegan (70-44) and Plainwell (64-42).

    Battle Creek Harper Creek (10-12):

    Won District 35 @ Battle Creek Pennfield with wins over Comstock (64-49), Marshall (58-38) and Pennfield (49-34)

    Schedule

    Monday:

    Stevensville Lakeshore vs. Sturgis

    South Haven vs. Battle Creek Harper Creek

    Wednesday:

    7:00 Championship

    Favorite: Stevensville Lakeshore

    Lakeshore is the easy pick as the favorite here.  None of these other schools were the favorites to win their districts.  That’s not saying they are all bad teams.  Lakeshore will face a Sturgis team that has been playing very good basketball and have now won 10 out of their last 11.  South Haven had a fairly easy path to the district championship as they didn’t need to face Otsego in the final.  The Rams are not big but they are fast, can shoot and have put up some big offensive numbers in recent times.  They have won 12 of their last 13 games coming in.  Harper Creek got out of a district that had no real favorite.  Still they got over a big hump, winning a game away from home, something they hadn’t done all season until districts.  They do have big man Josh Bass who can put up big numbers like 31 points and 21 rebounds against Comstock. 

    Class C

    Regional 17 @ Constantine

    Teams and how they got here:

    Schoolcraft (21-2):

    Won District 68 @ Quincy with wins over Union City (62-61), Reading (50-34) and Quincy (66-57)

    Bloomingdale (13-9):

    Won District 67 @ Bangor with wins over Gobles (46-44), Harford (46-25) and Hackett (44-41)

    White Pigeon (14-8):

    Won District 66 @ White Pigeon with wins over Cassopolis (49-34), Constantine (64-42) and Decatur (44-41)

    Bridgman (9-14):

    Won District 65 @ New Buffalo with wins over Three Oaks River Valley (68-19), New Buffalo (48-39), and Watervliet (56-35)

    Schedule:

    Monday:

    6:00 Bridgman vs. White Pigeon

    8:00 Schoolcraft vs. Bloomingdale

    Wednesday:

    7:00 Championship

    Favorite: Schoolcraft

    Schoolcraft is the for sure favorite here, but I think we learned from their district, that doesn’t mean it will be easy.  They were the overwhelming favorite at Quincy and still almost lost (and some may say they should have lost) to Union City.  Bloomingdale was not thought to be the favorite, and I were ranking their district going in, I probably would have ranked them fourth behind Kalamazoo Christian, Hackett and Gobles.  Still they survived to play another night.  They are not a high scoring team, but have been a very good defensive team all season.  They allowed only 36.7 ppg in their three district wins.  They will need to be very good to slow down Luke Ryskamp who led the KVA in scoring at 23 ppg and averaged over 28 ppg in the three district wins.

    White Pigeon will face Bridgman who came out of a very weak district.  This is not like the Bridgman teams of three and four years ago who were winning their districts and had one team advance to the state finals.  This is a nine win team, against fairly weak competition this season who has had big issues putting the ball in the basket at times.  They have been held under 40 points eight times and under 30 points four times.  They still have some interesting scores which include a five point loss to Stevensville Lakeshore (28-23) and a tight game with Dowagiac (73-64).  White Pigeon has reached the peak of their season.  After an up and down season, they were able to upset Decatur in the district championship to reach the regional.  They have won seven out of their last eight and held their district opponents to only 39 ppg.

    Regional 21 @ Pewamo-Westphalia

    Teams and how they got here:

    Galesburg-Augusta (15-6):

    Won District 76 at Delton with wins over Delton (53-37) and Maple Valley (58-31).

    Muskegon Heights Academy (16-4):

    Won District 77 @ Fennville with wins over North Muskegon (66-53) and Fennville (89-57).

    Laingsburg (20-2):

    Won District 79 @ Carson City-Crystal with wins over Pewamo-Westphalia (44-33) and Carson City-Crystal (53-38).

    #5 Grandville Calvin Christian (20-2):

    Won District 78 @ Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian with wins over Grand Rapids Covenant Christian (65-53) and NorthPointe Christian (79-59).

    Schedule:

    Monday:

    5:30 Galesburg-Augusta vs. Muskegon Heights Academy

    7:45 Laingsburg vs. Calvin Christian

    Wednesday:

    7:00 Championship

    Favorite:

    Grandville Calvin Christian

    Galesburg-Augusta won their district but now they enter a very tough district.  Looking from the outside, and if we were ranking these teams, they would probably be ranked last.  There are two very good teams in here with Calvin Christian and Muskegon Heights.  First up for the Rams will be Muskegon Heights, and this game will be a very big clash of styles.  Muskegon Heights plays an extremely high tempo game and has put up some big numbers this year and some very nice wins.  They have scored 80 or more in a game seven times this season, and have even beaten Dowagiac (82-76) over Christmas break.  They also played Melvindale Business &Tech and lost 69-60.  GA, on the other hand, has been very good slowing the game down this season.  They are trying to limit possessions for both teams and have been very successful at it.  If they can slow this game down they could have a chance, if they don’t they might get run out of the gym.

    Class D

    Regional 29 @ Grandville

    Teams and how they got here:

    Kalamazoo Phoenix (11-4):

    Won District 109 at Battle Creek St. Phillip with wins over Martin (72-38) and St. Phillip (81-35)

    #1 Wyoming Tri-Unity Christian (21-2):

    Won District 110 @ Hudsonville Freedom Christian with wins over Wyoming West Michigan Lutheran (63-34), Potter’s House Christian (69-34) and Holland Calvary (68-40)

    Fowler (13-9):

    Won District 112 @ Fulton with wins over Portland St. Patrick (50-43) and Fulton (65-53)

    Muskegon Catholic Central (13-11):

    Won District 111 @ Fruitport Calvary Christian with a forfeit win over Kent City Algoma Christian and wins over Fruitport Calvary Christian (58-39) and Fremont Providence Christian (46-38)

    Schedule:

    Monday:

    6:00 Wyoming Tri-Unity Christian vs. Kalamazoo Phoenix

    7:30 Fowler vs. Muskegon Catholic Central

    Wednesday:

    7:00 Championship

    Favorite: Wyoming Tri-Unity Christian

    Kalamazoo Phoenix is a little unknown around the area, but they travel around playing anyone and everyone, and have built up a very solid team.  In fact I would say that the top two teams in the regional are playing in the first game with Phonix and Tri-Unity Christian who is the number one team in the state.  Tri-Unity has lost only two games all season and both were to larger schools (Grandville Calvin Christian and Wyoming Godwin Heights).  Along the way they have picked up some very good wins over schools such as Jenison(55-48), Hudsonville (53-52) and Zeeland East (49-48).  It will be a very tough match-up for Phoenix but they do have talent, and I think they can give them a game.

    Regional 25 @ Battle Creek Harper Creek

    Teams and how they got here:

    #4 Climax-Scotts (22-1):

    Won District 98 @ Athens with wins over #8 Mendon (70-51), Marcellus Howardsville Christian (45-33) and Colon (57-28)

    Covert (16-6):

    Won District 97 @ St. Joseph Lake Michigan Catholic with wins over Lawrence (79-71, OT), Lake Michigan Catholic (90-68) and St. Joseph Michigan Lutheran (77-67)

    Adrian Lenawee Christian (17-3):

    Won District 100 @ Pittsford with wins over Pittsford (61-51), and Morenci (61-33)

    Hillsdale Academy (14-7):

    Won District 99 @ Litchfield with wins over North Adams Jerome (70-64), and Hillsdale Will Carleton Academy (60-51)

    Schedule:

    Monday:

    Covert vs. Climax Scotts

    Lenawee Christian vs. Hillsdale Academy

    Wednesday:

    Championship

    Favorite: Climax Scotts

    The toughest game in this regional for Climax Scotts will be the semi-final against Covert.  Covert plays a very up tempo game.  They score a lot of points but they also give up a lot of points.  They have scored 70 points or more in 11 games this season, but they have also given up 70 or more in 10 games.  Still, I think the Panthers are savvy enough to handle the tempo and they are too good defensively to allow this game to get too out of control.  If they get past Covert I don’t see them having much trouble with either team on the other side of the bracket.

  • High School Basketball Blog

    Posted by Nick Vlietstra

    We are entering the final week of the regular season with most teams only having one or two games left.  There is nothing left to decide in any of the area conference races, so it is all about District tune up time. 

    As we prepare for this final week let me take you back to what happened last week:

    SMAC

    Battle Creek Central locked up the East as we all figured they would do.  It didn’t come easy on Tuesday as Loy Norrix gave them a great game with a 59-58 final.  Bishop Robinson was back to full strength this time, but BCC still found a way to slow him down.  Slowing him down means holding him to less than 20 and they held him to 19.  BCC has won 11 straight games and it will be a great tune up week for districts with two tough games.  They head to Lansing Sexton on Tuesday and then head to Benton Harbor on Thursday.

    Portage Northern beat Portage Central.  I guess you could appropriately use that phrase of “If we lose every game but still beat (insert your rival’s name) it still makes for a good season”.  They haven’t lost every game, but Northern now has three wins with one over their rivals.  Does that make for a good season?  I don’t know about that, but I suppose it does make a grim season a little brighter.  I will give them some love because they did finish against Central this time, and they played two very good games against the Mustangs.  That program still has a long way to go though.

    Stars of the week:

    Odell Miller, Gull Lake

    Gull Lake just about made it two wins in a week against both Kalamazoo Schools.  Miller scored 14 points on Tuesday as the Blue Devils routed Kalamazoo Central 77-46.  Gull Lake’s big man came back on Friday and scored 23 points in their 66-62 loss to Loy Norrix.  Miller, a Junior, played a lot as a sophomore and now as a Junior has been the second leading scorer for Gull Lake averaging just under 12 ppg.

    Devin Daniels, Lakeview

    I’m hesitant to call him a future star of the conference because it appears as though he already is.  The Freshman stole the show on Senior night on Friday night leading Lakeview to a win over Marshall.  He scored 26 points in the Spartans’ lone game this week.  He is now averaging over 17 ppg this season.

     

    Big Games This Week:

    Tuesday – Battle Creek Central @ Lansing Sexton.  BCC has won 11 in a row and now will face one of the top teams in the state.  This one could turn into a great game.  Sexton comes into the week fresh off wins over Eastern and Everett last week.

    Thursday – Lansing Sexton @ Loy Norrix.  Sexton is taking a short trip around the SMAC this week.  This will be a great tune up for districts for both teams. 

    Thursday – Battle Creek Central @ Benton Harbor.  It’s a busy final week of travel for the Bearcats as they take their show to the lakeshore for the final game of the season.  BCC has won 11 in a row going into the week and Benton Harbor has won five in a row and seven out of their last eight.

    Wolverine:

    In the big rivalry game Plainwell gave everything they had and they just about pulled off the shocker against Otsego.  The Bulldogs got a put back at the buzzer to get the win.  It still leads to further questions for Otsego though.  How good is this team really?  I still say they have as much talent as anyone in the area, but also love to play down to their opponents.  They seem like the classic team that could go on a long run in the playoffs, or could get upset in the first round.  By the way, they play Plainwell in the first round.

    Every time you think you’ve seen it all from Dowagiac they do something amazing again.  They beat Paw Paw 106-80 this week.  If you aren’t keeping score at home, that makes it twice this season the Chieftains have gone over 100 points and they have scored 90 or more six times.  They are now averaging over 80 ppg.  Of the teams in this general Kalamazoo area, the next highest scoring team is Mendon who is scoring 67.1 ppg.  Oh and looking ahead they will play the best defensive team in southwest Michigan in the first game of districts as they lock up with Stevensville-Lakeshore.

    Players of the week:

    DeMarcus Leake, Paw Paw

    Paw Paw played three games this week, and Leake had another huge week.  The Redskins lost 106-80 on Tuesday to Dowagiac but Leake scored 23 points in the loss.  On Friday against Allegan he went 20-20, scoring 25 points and ripping down 21 rebounds.  He came back on Saturday to score 17 points and grab 12 rebounds.  Leake getting double-doubles has become a regularity lately, as he seems to do that every game.  For the season he is scoring just over 13 ppg.

    Josh Kozinski, Edwardsburg

    There are certain nights when you have the best player on the court, both teams know it, and it’s best to just sit back and let him do his thing.  For Edwardsburg that was Saturday night, as Josh Kozinski dropped 36 on a tired Allegan squad.  The Central Michigan commit hit seven three pointers in the game.  That game went along with a 21 point effort on Friday night against South Haven.  He sits second in the league in scoring at over 22 ppg, behind only Dontel Highsmith. 

    Big Games This Week:

    Tuesday – Otsego @ Hastings.  Out of conference game for Otsego but a good challenge for the Bulldogs as they prepare for Districts.

    Thursday – Dowagiac @ Otsego.  These two will match-up again just a few weeks after their classic game that saw Dowagiac win 65-64.  This time it will be in the first Wolverine Conference Championship game.

    KVA

    Well it was rivalry week and of the local rivalry games one was good and one was extremely ugly.  Kalamazoo Christian beat Hackett 61-51 in a game that was tied at halftime and saw the Comets take control in the second half to earn the season sweep.  On the other hand the Schoolcraft-Constantine game was rather forgettable.  Schoolcraft won 64-12.  Now, I in no way expected Constantine to win this game, and Schoolcraft winning by 40 really would not have come as a surprise.  But 12?  Not only 12, but the Falcons didn’t even score in the final quarter.  You would at least think you could toss in a couple buckets, or at least a free throw when the benches had cleared.  Back on January 8 Constantine beat Parchment to go to 3-3 on the season.  Since then they have gone 1-11.

    In some other notes Maple Valley won their rivalry game with Olivet.  The Eagles lost their leading scorer Quinten Harris in late January and since then they have gone just 1-6.  Delton also collected a win as they won the road over Pennfield.  Congrats to Delton head coach Steve Miknis who was able to get a win with his Panthers on his first trip back to Pennfield.  Pennfield had won three in a row and looked like they were gaining some momentum going into the post season, but losing at home to a last place team is not going to help that momentum a lot.

    Players of the Week:

    Luke Ryskamp, Schoolcraft

    Another 2-0 week for Schoolcraft and once again Ryskamp was doing what he does.  In Tuesday’s win over Delton where they Eagles escaped with a seven point win, they needed Ryskamp to be big and he was as he scored 21 points and pulled down 13 rebounds.  On Friday he came back in a rivalry game against Constantine to score 19 points and grab seven rebounds.

    Zach Leinaar, Delton

    It hasn’t been a very good season for Delton but one of the bright spots has been the play of Zach Leinaar.  On Tuesday Leinaar just about helped the Panthers to an upset win over Schoolcraft when he scored 16 points.  On Friday he came back to score 23 points to lead Delton to a road win over Pennfield.  On the season he is scoring close to 13 ppg.

    This Week’s Big Game:

    Tuesday – Galesburg-Augusta @ Bloomingdale.  This is an interesting out of conference battle.  GA should win this game, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Bloomingdale gives them some trouble.

    Thursday – Galesburg-Augusta @ Kalamazoo Christian.  In their first match-up these two went to overtime and the Comets prevailed 50-45.  KC has now won seven in a row going into this final week.

    SAC

    The SAC had their crossover games on Friday and that saw Saugatuck win the conference with a 72-62 win over Decatur.  It continues the good steady play for the Indians this season who are certainly a deserving champion.  They have won 13 games this season, and have been led by a very good duo of Michael Winowiecki and Wes Webbert who combine for over 35 ppg.  Decatur on the other hand continues their rough end of season play.  They have now lost four out of their last five.  I keep thinking that they are talented enough to pull it together, but it has been going on for a few weeks now.  Once that snowball gets rolling in the wrong direction it is hard to stop it.

    Player of the week:

    Michael Winowiecki, Saugatuck

    Winowiecki had quite a week in leading the Indians to two wins and a conference championship.  On Wednesday he scored 33 points against Martin.  If you think that maybe he was just getting his points against one of the worst teams in the league well he did the same thing in the conference championship game as he also dropped 33 points against Decatur.  The sharp shooter, Winowiecki, has been the top scorer in the SAC this season and is the only player in the conference averaging over 20 ppg.

    Big Game This Week:

    Thursday – Saugatuck @ Decatur.  Yes these two get to match up again, but not in a championship setting.  They had not yet played this season before last week’s crossover game.  It should be another great game.

    St. Joe Valley/Cliamx-Scotts

    Mendon upset Climax Scotts on Tuesday in a match-up of top ten teams.  It was a classic that saw the Hornets prevail 51-50.  These two are, at this time, two of the best small school athletic programs in southwest Michigan.  This goes for most sports too.  In a time when many of these small schools are not succeeding, and constantly battling having enough players, these two are having a lot of success and don’t have those troubles at all.  It makes you wonder why these two won’t play each other more often.  You have the old St. Joe Valley which is currently composed of four teams (Mendon, White Pigeon, Bronson and Centreville).  All of these schools are relatively close to Climax.  I will also toss in schools like Colon and Athens, because they are also close, and still have 11 man football.  Why aren’t these teams in a conference together?  With gas being $4.00 a gallon, why should a small school like CS drive over an hour to games down by the Michigan-Ohio boarder when they can drive right down the street?

    Climax Scotts got out of the SJV for obvious reasons.  They couldn’t beat Mendon, Schoolcraft and Constantine, and that led to them not being very competitive with anyone else either.  They were losing numbers so much that they had to stop their football program.  They went to a conference where they could be successful.  What has happened is that they have dominated that conference since going there, and they now have very successful programs in most every sport.  On most every night, there is literally no chance of them losing.  It’s not like Varsity vs. the JV.  It’s more like Varsity vs. the Freshmen.

    If you played the hypothetical game of CS going back to the SJV, there is no reason to believe they couldn’t compete with every team in there.  The only team they would have trouble with, would be Mendon on the football field.  Still, it would challenge your team and your program to take your program to the next level which doesn’t happen if they continue to beat teams like Burr Oak and Tekonsha by 50 in every sport.

    In terms of these teams on the basketball court, it was good to see both get a nice challenge.  What’s better is that both of these teams will get to face each other in the district.  They will meet in the first round.  Yes the best two teams in the district, and two state ranked teams will face each other in the first round.  I think seeding a basketball bracket is a discussion for another time.

  • High School Basketball Blog

    Posted by Nick Vlietstra

    SMAC

    One race is over and one is getting close to being over.  Stevensville Lakeshore wrapped up the West division title this past Tuesday with a win over Niles.  That really came as no surprise.  They were the favorites going in, and no one has touched them this season.  They are undefeated and have a three game lead over St. Joseph for second place.  They have only had three games all season that have been within 10 points and two of those were conference games.  They showed no letdown on Friday as they hammered Portage Central 60-41.  One other team to keep an eye on as we head toward districts may be Benton Harbor.  The Tigers have won four in a row and six out of their last seven.  They showed a great turn around this week in beating St. Joe 58-38.  They lost to the bears by 30 earlier this season.

    Battle Creek Central took two more steps toward clinching the East and passed another big hurdle in one game.  On Tuesday the Bearcats beat Sturgis and came back on Friday to beat Lakeview.  I thought, the Lakeview game could be one that could give BCC trouble, and it did, because Lakeview was within 2 with about a minute to go.  They have two conference games left and they can clinch the division with a win in either game.  Loy Norrix would need those two losses and a win in both of their last two conference games to earn a tie at the top of the division.  It’s certainly a long shot seeing that BCC has now won nine in a row, and one of the teams they play is Harper Creek who they beat by 20 in their first match-up.

    Stars of the week:

    Devin Alexander, Benton Harbor

    Benton Harbor won two big games this past week beating rival St. Joe and then winning on the road at Kalamazoo Central.  In Tuesday’s win over St. Joe, Alexander scored 14 points and then came back on Friday to have one of his best games of the season, scoring 33 points against K-Central.  Alexander has been the Tiger’s leading scorer this season and is a big reason for them winning six out of their last seven.

    Chance Stewart, Sturgis

    While the team may be only .500, Stewart is having a great senior season.  He continued that trend this week in posting two double-doubles.  Stewart scored 19 points and pulled down 12 rebounds in a loss to Battle Creek Central on Tuesday and came back to score 15 points and grab 16 rebounds in a win against Harper Creek.  Friday’s game came while battling Harper Creek’s Josh Bass.  In the battle between the two division one football recruits it looks like the QB won.

    Big Games This Week:

    Tuesday – Loy Norrix @ Battle Creek Central.  The second big match-up between the top two in the East division.  BCC beat the Knights 57-43 on Feb. 8.  It should be a different looking Loy Norrix team who will have Bishop Robinson at full strength this time.  Loy Norrix has to win to have any chance at the division crown.

    Friday – Portage Northern @ Portage Central.  Portage Central slipped by Northern in overtime the first time they locked up.  Northern is the classic team with nothing to lose in a rivalry game.  The Huskies go into the week having lost four out of their last five.

    Friday – St. Joseph @ Stevensville Lakeshore.  Lakeshore has clinched the division crown, but that doesn’t mean that this game will lose any luster.  These two played a tight 47-44 game in the first go around.

    Wolverine:

    The week had a great start to it with the top two teams playing a classic game, and saw the top player in the conference get a bucket and a foul with just four seconds left to help Dowagiac to a one point win over Otsego.  The exciting thing is that these two will play again in the conference championship game at the end of the season.  Dowagiac went on to defeat Edwardsburg to end the week and all but locked up the division crown.  Otsego rebounded well, going on to beat Hamilton on Tuesday and finished the week with a key win over Paw Paw. 

    Believe it or not, Otsego was the team that showed me a lot this week.  They have been much less impressive than Dowagiac but still showed up in a big way to battle the Chieftains all the way down the stretch.  They have been one of the few teams this season who has been able to go toe to toe with Dowagiac.  Otsego though had to come back the next night, and survive a battle with Hamilton and finished the week beating one of the hottest teams around, Paw Paw, on the road.  It certainly was a week where things could have gone very bad for the Bulldogs, but they handled it like a top team should.

    Players of the week:

    Dontel Highsmith, Dowagiac

    He showed up big in two big games.  On Monday he scored 32 against Otsego and then came back to score 32 against Edwardsburg on Friday.  He has now scored over 30 points in four straight games, and has increased his scoring average to 29.1 ppg.  As long as he is going hard, this team will have a chance to go a long way.

    Tyler White, Plainwell

    It’s back to back weeks in this category for White.  He showed up big twice and led Plainwell to two wins this week.  On Tuesday, Berrien Springs had no answer for him as he scored 26 points.  He followed that up by pouring in 28 points in a win over Comstock.  He has upped his scoring average to over 16 ppg.

    Big Games This Week:

    Monday – Dowagiac @ South Haven.  South Haven has been playing very good team basketball as of late.  Whether or not that will be enough to slow down Dowagiac will be determined Monday night.  Dowagiac had one of their closest games of the season with South Haven the first time, winning 69-65. 

    Tuesday – Paw Paw @ Dowagiac.  It’s back to back big games for both of these teams.  Paw Paw was cooled off by Otsego on Friday, and now will head to Dowagiac.  If Paw Paw brings their best stuff they have what it takes to stay with Dowagiac.

    Friday – Edwardsburg @ South Haven.  These two will finish second and third in the West division.  What order they finish in will be determined on Friday.  The Eddies won the first match-up 67-57.

    Friday – Plainwell @ Otsego.  It will be a packed house on Friday night in Otsego as these two rivals match-up again.  Plainwell gave Otsego a good battle the first time leading into the second half before falling 65-52.

    KVA

    The biggest news out of the KVA this week is the change in the conference.  Following next season Maple Valley will no longer be in the KVA.  I think it makes a lot of sense for both sides to move on this way.  The Lions are moving to a new conference that will be composed of teams that are actually close to them.  It will be a six team conference with Lakewood, Lansing Christian, Leslie, Perry, Stockbridge and Maple Valley.  It was going to be a big step up in competition for them when they joined the KVA, but perhaps it was too much.  They were a football program that went from football power to one that is in the bottom of the league and was struggling to win two or three games every year.  You really can say that about the majority of their athletic programs. The new conference makes sense for them geographically and athletically.  Now the KVA will need to fill that void and the most likely team to do that would be Comstock.  They have been in the same boat in the Wolverine and a change of scenery would make sense for them too.  I think the only other thing to think about with this would be Olivet.  They are doing fine in the conference athletically, but they also don’t really have a travel partner any more.  They no longer have someone who is less than a half hour drive away.  I don’t see that being an issue for the Eagles though.

    Basketball wise, Schoolcraft flexed their muscles again on Friday against Maple Valley, and did so on the road.  I thought that the Lions might have the guard play to give Schoolcraft a decent game at home, but that obviously didn’t prove true.  A few teams in the league might be making some late season noise heading into districts.  Pennfield has won three out of four and is now a game within .500.  Parchment has on four out of six and went 2-0 over the last week with home wins over Constantine and Hackett.

    Player of the Week:

    Luke Ryskamp, Schoolcraft

    Schoolcraft had another 2-0 week and Ryskamp was, as usual, in the middle of it.  On Tuesday at Olivet he scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.  He followed that up with a monster performance on Friday at Maple Valley, scoring 34 points, pulling down six rebounds and dishing out four assists.  On the season Ryskamp is now scoring 23 ppg.

    This Week’s Big Games:

    Tuesday – Parchment @ Kalamazoo Christian.  Not a lot of great Tuesday match-ups, but here’s hoping this one turns out ok.  Parchment has won four out of six.  K-Christian on the other hand has won five in a row and eight out of nine.

    Friday – Hackett @ Kalamazoo Christian.  It is rivalry week and these two will do battle for the second time this season.  KC won the first match-up 67-60.  This much should be true.  Both should show up playing hard.

    SAC

    It was a little bit of a quiet week in the SAC with no Friday games.  That always seems a little strange that there would be an off night on a Friday.  On Tuesday there was one big upset as Bloomingdale went down and beat Decatur.  It was a big win for Bloomingdale but just leads to more questions about Decatur.  This team has fallen off in a big way over the last two weeks.  They have lost three straight and two of those games were by close to 30 points.  It is quite odd to see a team who looked so good, then look that bad.  They are still in first place but it no longer seems like a for sure thing that they win this division. 

    Player of the week:

    Mitch Walker, Gobles

    You will have certain nights where everything is falling for you and for Walker that night was on Tuesday against Lawrence.  He scored 21 points, all coming on three pointers (Yes that means he made seven).  Gobles still leads the North Division and is 12-4 on the season.  Walker has been one of the leading scorers this season for the Tigers scoring over 12 ppg.

    Big Games This Week:

    Tuesday – Gobles @ Bangor.  Gobles is on top of the North but one of their two division losses came to Bangor who beat the Tigers 54-47 just two weeks ago. 

    Friday – Watervliet @ Lawrence.  Watervliet is a hard team to figure out right now.  They beat Decatur by 30 but then fall at home by nine to Fennville.  Lawrence had won five in a row before their streak was ended last week by Gobles.

  • High School Basketball Blog

    Posted by Nick Vlietstra

    SMAC

    Battle Creek Central has taken control of the East division with their win over Loy Norrix on Friday night.  The Bearcats found a way to slow down Bishop Robinson as they held him to a season low 11 points.  What did they do?  Play him on a night when he is sick.  Not to take anything away from BCC, because they won the game, and won by double digits on the road, but the Knights are not the same team without Robinson in the line-up.  Really, they shouldn’t be either.  He is the best player in the conference, and it makes sense to build your team around him.  Still, when he is not in the line-up they can look like a team without its identity.  The Bearcats lead the division, but I think it is by no means over.  They still play each other one more time, and both teams have one divisional loss to a team that they probably feel they should have beat.  Either one of these teams could stumble at some point.

    In the West the big game on Friday night saw St. Joe get revenge on Portage Central.  It ends a big week that didn’t go well for the Mustangs who also dropped a game to Benton Harbor.  Still, it was another low scoring tight game between these two.  What does that tell me?  Portage Central is not that far away from the top.  They are 6-5 in the division and 9-6 overall.  They have two tight losses with K-Central, and one against St. Joe.  If they keep playing defense, they have an opportunity to stay with anyone. 

    Stars of the week:

    Devin Daniels, Lakeview

    Back to back weeks in this category for the Freshman Daniels.  But why not?  All he did this week was average 24 ppg in two wins for the Spartans.  On Tuesday he scored 23 points against Mattawan and came back with a 25 point effort against Coldwater.  The Spartans have been the classic example of streaky this year.  They have not had back to back wins or losses since they opened the season 1-1.  Since then they have had two four game losing streaks, have won two in a row twice, and currently have won three in a row.

    Michael Welsh, Stevensville Lakeshore

    Welsh had a big game on Friday night as he scored 18 points and grabbed 22 rebounds in the Lancers’ win at Kalamazoo Central.  Welsh is one of three players scoring in double figures for Lakeshore who is now 14-0 and ranked #4 in the state.

    Big Games This Week:

    Tuesday – St. Joseph @ Benton Harbor.  St. Joe has firm control of second place in the West and now is the only team within earshot of Lakeshore.  Their trip over to Benton Harbor will be no easy one.  The Tigers have won four out of five and should be a much different team from the first time they faced each other which ended in a 77-47 St. Joe win.

    Friday – Benton Harbor @ Kalamazoo Central.  It is a big week of games for Benton Harbor as they will head to Kalamazoo Central on Friday.  Both teams are 6-5 in the division going into the week.  The Giants will be trying to avenge a 69-68 loss to the Tigers in their first go around.

    Friday – Portage Central @ Stevensville Lakeshore.  The last chance for the Mustangs against one of the top teams in the conference.  Lakeshore is ranked #4 in the state and undefeated.  They lost to the Lancers 48-34 in the first meeting.

    Friday – Loy Norrix @ Marshall.  Now that they are a game down in the standings, there is no room for error for the Knights.  They will head to Marshall on Friday in a key game that will see two of the top scorers in the SMAC square off with a match-up of Bishop Robinson and Robby Ranville.  Loy Norrix held off Marshall the first time 58-56.

    Wolverine:

    Well that looks a lot more like the Otsego team we were expecting for most the season.  A 30 point win over Vicksburg looks very good.  They got a lot of scoring from different people as Tyler Nast scored 20 and for the first time this season the young Seth Dugan outscored his brother Reid.  They also held a high scoring Vicksburg team to only 43 points.  They are now 12-1 on the season.

    As for the South Division, it was a very successful week for South Haven who had a three game schedule, with all three games on the road and the Rams went 3-0.  Regardless of who you are playing, going 3-0 in a week with all the games on the road is a mark of success.  That being said, they were playing three of the bottom teams in the league with Allegan, Comstock and Coloma.  Also from the South division, the high flying act of Dontel Highsmith and the Dowagiac Chieftains continued their show this week scoring 90 or more in both games with a 90-62 win over Allegan and a 98-45 win over Three Rivers.  The third ranked Chieftains are now scoring 78.9 ppg, which is over 14 ppg more than anyone else in the conference.  They have also gone over 90 points in a game five times this season.  The big question as they continue this season will be whether they can play defense when they need to, because they will need to at some point.

    Players of the week:

    Dontel Highsmith, Dowagiac

    The top scorer in the conference put on a show twice this week.  He scored 33 points against Allegan and came back with 30 against Three Rivers.  He is now scoring 28.7 ppg on the season.  Don’t forget about the help he is getting as three of his teammates are also scoring in double figures this season.

    Josh Kozinski, Edwardsburg

    It was a week for the big scorers as Kozinski led the Eddies to a 3-0 week and also scored 59 points in the span of 24 hours.  On Friday night he dropped 31 points on Berrien Springs and then came back with a 28 point effort against Coloma on Saturday.  He is scoring 23 ppg for Edwardsburg who is now 12-3 on the season.

    Tyler White, Plainwell

    The Big Ten football recruit was doing it on the hard court again this week.  On Tuesday against Edwardsburg he led all scorers and rebounders with 32 points and 12 rebounds.  White continues to lead the Trojans in both rebounding and scoring as he is now getting 14.6 ppg.

    Alex Cottingham, Three Rivers

    I’ll make a place for one more star this week as Cottingham was another one who had a 30 point effort this week.  On Tuesday at Paw Paw the sophomore went off for 31 points in a loss to the Redskins.  Cottingham has been the top scorer all season for the Wildcats scoring over 14 ppg.

    Big Games This Week:

    Monday – Dowagiac @ Otsego.  The big battle has arrived and it doesn’t look like snow will ruin this one.  It is a make-up game, but also a must see as the top two teams in the conference, and two top five teams in the state collide.  Dowagiac is ranked #3 and Otsego is ranked #5. 

    Friday – Otsego @ Paw Paw.  It’s a tough week for Otsego.  Along with their games against Dowagiac and Paw Paw they also face Hamilton on Tuesday.  It could be a recipe for disaster for the Bulldogs who end the week with one of the hottest teams in the conference.  Paw Paw has won six in a row going into this week.

    KVA

    Kalamazoo Christian gained two big wins this week as they separated themselves from everyone else in the battle for second place.  On Tuesday they faced Galesburg-Augusta for the first time this season and won 50-45 in overtime.  On Friday night they beat Maple Valley 51-46 and are now 10-3 in the conference.  Second place is all there is left to fight for at this point as Schoolcraft has all but wrapped up the KVA title.  It has been a few years since we have seen a team dominate the rest of the league like Schoolcraft is doing it.  It is very reminiscent to how much better Kalamazoo Christian was compared to the rest of the conference about 10 years ago.  I’m not trying to compare those teams, but Schoolcraft is just at a completely different level compared to the rest of the KVA.

    When I look at the conference standings it still seems a little unusual to see Galesburg-Augusta and Maple Valley in third and fourth place in the conference.  I don’t think anyone outside of those two towns thought they would be there.  It isn’t a fluke, because these teams got some momentum and have just carried it on through the rest of the season.  Both teams are still playing very good basketball.

    Players of the Week:

    Jake Grimes, Pennfield

    Maybe not a great week, but he did have one very good game and that was against Homer on Tuesday.  Grimes scored 27 points and dished out four assists to help the Panthers to the win.  Grimes was suspended for the first half of the season, but since coming back has averaged 13 ppg. 

    Cody Diamond, Galesburg-Augusta

    He hasn’t been the main scoring threat this season, but he certainly was on Friday night as Diamond scored 27 points to lead the Rams to a road win over Olivet.  On the season Diamond has been averaging just under 10 ppg, which is third on the team behind Jordan Born and Kyle Mallwitz.

    This Week’s Big Games:

    Tuesday –Galesburg-Augusta @ Maple Valley.  The battle for third place in the KVA.  GA won a classic between these two the first time as they handed the Lions their first loss of the season 81-73 in triple OT.

    Friday – Schoolcraft @ Maple Valley.  This is the big hurdle that Maple Valley needs to get over.  They have shown they can compete with anyone in this league except for Schoolcraft.  The Eagles manhandled the Lions in the first game 71-36.

    SAC

    It was a great week for Watervliet who went 2-0, and also handed Decatur their first divisional loss of the season.  Not only did they beat the Raiders, but they smoked them 71-42.  I figured that the Panthers could play with Decatur, but I didn’t think a 29 point win would happen.  They managed to slow down half of the Cevern combination.  Tom still managed to get 23 points, but his cousin Tim was held to just 3.  It was a much needed good week, which came on the heels of a three game losing streak.  Decatur, on the other hand, should be fine.  They are now 13-2 on the season and are two games up on Watervliet for the top of the division.  The hottest team in the division right now might be Lawrence who has won four in a row and five out of six.  Lawrence started the season 2-0 and then went on to six in a row before this stretch.

    Gobles had their eight winning streak come to an end as Bangor topped the Tigers 54-47 on Tuesday.  Still it wasn’t a terrible week for Gobles who had three games and went 2-1.  That loss game in the second game of back to back games.  They finished up the week winning on the road over Bloomingdale, which gave them the season sweep over their rivals.  Goble’s 7-2 division record is a half game better than Saugatuck’s 6-2.

    Players of the week:

    Pete Alfaro, Fennville

    Back to back weeks in this category for Alfaro who has certainly turned it up in recent times.  He scored 28 points in an overtime loss to Lawton on Tuesday and came back to score 26 against Martin.  He has now scored 25 points or more in three straight games.  He has also upped his scoring average to 17 ppg.

    Tom Cevern, Decatur

    Decatur went 1-1 on the week but Tom Cevern still put up big numbers.  He scored 23 points in both games, a win over Marcellus and a loss to Watervliet.  On the season he is scoring just under 18 ppg.

    Big Games This Week:

    Tuesday – Bloomingdale @ Decatur.  Bloomingdale has been close to knocking off some of the big boys in the conference, and can give Decatur a good test.  Still, playing the Raiders after a 29 point loss might not be what you want to do. 

    Tuesday – Gobles @ Lawrence.  Gobles is one of the top teams in the SAC and Lawrence is the hottest team right now.  

  • High School Basketball Blog

    Posted by Nick Vlietstra

    More snow and more postponed games.  Whether or not you like the snow and cold temperatures is beside the point.  It is going to cause havoc with the scheduling here on out.  There are teams out there that need to make up perhaps two or more games inside the next month of the season.  Trying to make up conference games is tough, but still trying to make up some non-conference games makes things even trickier.  Some conferences have a day already scheduled in as a make up day, but that is for one game, not two or three.  You begin to get into areas that schools have no choice but to schedule games on back to back days.  There really is no way around it. 

    Why is that a problem?  You may say that they are young and they should have energy to play two days in a row.  That is true, and some kids may be used to doing that from their AAU schedule.  Still, playing a game takes a lot out of the players, mentally and physically.  The
    coaches I’m sure would like a day or a practice so they can properly prepare their teams for both opponents.  It could make for some interesting games and even possible upsets down the stretch of the regular season.

    SMAC

    Perhaps it should come as no surprise considering where the snow has fallen, but the teams in the East played more games this week.  Only one Friday game between teams from the West division was played and that was Mattawan making the short trip to Kalamazoo Central. Everyone in the West got a Tuesday game in with no big surprises.  Portage Central was able to move back ahead of Kalamazoo Central with their win over Niles and the Giants losing to St. Joe.  That really was the only movement in that division this week.

    In the East, Loy Norrix and Battle Creek Central remain tied for the division lead with matching 8-1 records.  They have separated themselves from everyone else and clearly are the top two teams in the division.  It is going to set up two big games between those two teams, one of which is scheduled for this week.  The Knights coasted to wins over Harper Creek and Coldwater this week.  BCC beat Coldwater and then got avenged their only divisional loss of the season in
    beating Gull Lake.  The Bearcats are now 11-2 and winners of six in a row.  Other than their loss to Gull Lake they have only lost to Holt on their first game back from Christmas break.  While they may not have anyone as good as Bishop Robinson, they have a very good supporting cast with three averaging double figures.  Their top two scorers are Trevin Alexander and Mohammed Albagaimi and both are threats to score from the outside.  While they may not be one of the top scoring teams in the SMAC (55 ppg), they are one of the top defensive teams holding opponents under 45 ppg.  I doubt they have an answer for Bishop Robinson, because no one does, but it may be about trying to slow down the rest of Knights’ team outside of him.

    Stars of the week:

    Bishop Robinson, Loy Norrix

    No way to hold this guy out this week after his two monster games.  Believe it or not, he grabbed one more rebound than he had points this week.  He scored 22 points and had 19 rebounds against Harper Creek on Tuesday, and then came back to score 22 and grab and astounding 24 rebounds against Coldwater on Friday.  Still no college decision for him though. 

    Robbie Ranville, Marshall

    Marshall played only one game this week but Ranville made the most of the opportunity as the poured in 28 points to help the Redhawks to a key 55-54 win over Gull Lake.  Marshall is now 9-4 on the season.  Ranville is Marshall’s leading scorer this season getting close to 18 ppg. 

    Devin Daniels, Lakeview

    One of the top up and coming players of the conference seems to be finding his stride.  The Freshman scored 17 points in a loss to Sturgis on Tuesday and then came back to fire in 21 points and grab 11 rebounds to lead Lakeview to a rivalry win over Harper Creek.  While he hasn’t been up with the Varsity the whole season, but he is showing he belongs scoring over 14 ppg since being brought up.

    Big Games This Week:

    Tuesday – Portage Central @ Benton Harbor.  The Mustangs aren’t going away, but the
    schedule isn’t getting any easier.  A trip to Benton Harbor this week is another chance to get a good win.  PC won the first meeting 55-46.

    Friday – Battle Creek Central @ Loy Norrix.  The first of two meetings still to happen between the top two teams in the East Division.  Who has the upper hand?  Hard to say, but I would think that Loy Norrix needs to hold serve and get a win at home in this meeting.

    Friday – St. Joseph @ Portage Central.  It is a rematch of a game Portage Central won 47-42 back in December.  At that time it appeared to be a big upset.  The Mustangs trail St. Joe by one game in the division, and a win here puts them back into second place.

    Wolverine:

    Like the SMAC the teams in the East played on Friday (or Saturday) while the West got the night off.  I would have to say that hands down the team who had the best week in the conference was Paw Paw who went 3-0 and seem to be finding their stride at the right time.  One Wednesday they beat Edwardsburg 60-58 and came back to beat Comstock on Friday.  Not done yet they beat Dearborn Advanced Tech on Saturday at Davenport.  It was a slow start to the season but the Redskins have won their last four.  They are scoring the ball at a high rate during this stretch averaging 69 ppg.  On top of that, they are getting contributions from a lot of different players.  DeMarcus Leak has stepped up, averaging a double-double during this stretch, and Tanner Eubank has adjusted to playing the point.  Only a sophomore, Eubank is doing a great job at getting everyone involved, as he averaged close to a triple double this past week. 

    The other big game on Friday saw Otsego survive again beating Allegan 58-51.  They were once
    again trailing in the second half and going into the fourth quarter.  I don’t know how they keep doing it, but they just keep winning.  If I had to say, I think they are living dangerously.  Still, they are 10-1 and have sophomores playing major roles.  They have also lost a key contributor, as one of their prize sophomores, Mike Williams, has been lost for the rest of the season with an ACL injury.

    Players of the week:

    Tanner Eubank, Paw Paw

    Eubank has taken control of the offense and the sophomore is beginning to blossom in a big way.  On Tuesday he scored only 2 points but dished out 10 assists and had eight rebounds as they beat Edwardsburg.  On Friday against Comstock he registered a triple-double with 15 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists.  Still not done, he scored 31 points on Saturday against Dearborn Advanced Tech.  Oh, that 31 points went along with 14 rebounds and 7 assists.  If you don’t want to do the math, that adds up to 16 ppg, 11.7 rpg and 9 apg.  

    DeMarcus Leak, Paw Paw

    Leak had a big week that was only outdone by his teammate.  Still, what Leak did this past
    week was quite something too.  He averaged a double-double getting 17.7 ppg, and 12 rpg.  The highlight of the week was scoring 23 points and pulling down 14 rebounds against Comstock on Friday. 

    Gary Jones, Allegan

    Another big week for Jones, unfortunately both games came in tough losses.  He scored 31 points and had nine rebounds in a 79-76 overtime loss to Hopkins on Tuesday.  He then scored 17 points in a seven point loss to Otsego.  Jones continues to lead the Tigers scoring close to 17 ppg.

    Big Games This Week:

    Tuesday – Dowagiac @ Allegan.  Allegan has battled hard in every game this year, and has just come up short a few times.  Still they are 5-7 and play very well at home.  This will be a tough one though.  Dowagiac has an ability to humble quite a few teams.

    Friday – Paw Paw @ Plainwell.  Not a lot of great match-ups this week, but I’ll toss this one out there.  Plainwell may not be scoring a lot, but they are still holding opponents down defensively.  Paw Paw is playing as well as anyone right now, but going on the road on Friday night is never easy.

    KVA

    Of the teams at the top, Kalamazoo Christian had a good week and Olivet not so much.  The Comets went 2-0 with wins over Pennfield and Olivet.  In their win over Olivet they scored a season high 79 points.  They now sit at 9-4, and currently are back in second place, which has become a revolving door.  It is all about second place right now, as Schoolcraft is running away with the top spot.

    Olivet, on the other side, went 0-2 with home losses to K-Christian and Parchment.  Olivet found
    out that it’s tough to play without one of the best players in the conference as Quinten Harris spent the week on the bench injured.  One point to make is simply this.  They lost their two games by an average of 16 ppg.  Harris is averaging 17 ppg.  Olivet has changed a little this year to build their offense around Harris, but with no Harris in the line-up, Olivet went back to more of their traditional up and down hectic style.  In turn they had two of their worst defensive performances of the season.

    Galesburg-Augusta went 1-1, but I would still say it was a successful week.  They played Schoolcraft to a 5 point game, and with the way Schoolcraft is going right now, that has to
    be classified as a success.  They are the first team to keep a game within single digits against the Eagles.  They came back on Friday to notch a win over Pennfield.

    Players of the Week:

    Luke Ryskamp, Schoolcraft

    Schoolcraft picked up two more wins this week, and as usual Ryskamp could be found in the middle of both wins.  In Tuesday’s win over Galesburg-Augusta Ryskamp scored 16 points and pulled down 20 rebounds.  He came back on Friday to score 28 points and get 13 rebounds against Hackett.  He continues to lead the conference in scoring at 22.4 ppg.  The next closest to him in the scoring race is Quinten Harris who is scoring over 5 ppg less than Ryskamp.

    Jack Binegar & Sam Nordquist, Parchment

    Parchment played one game last week because of a Friday snow out, but they picked up a big road win over Olivet in that game.  Binegar and Nordquist were both big reasons for that win.  With no Quinten Harris in the line-up this duo was able to dominate inside.  Binegar scored 18 points and had 8 rebounds, while Nordquist picked up a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds. 

    This Week’s Big Games:

    Tuesday – Kalamazoo Christian @ Galesburg-Augusta.  It is a race for second place in the KVA, and both of these teams are involved.   The Comets are one game up on GA and a half game up on Maple Valley for second place.  This marks the first meeting of the season between these two. 

    Friday – Galesburg-Augusta @ Olivet.  It is a big stretch of key games for the Rams.  This game may hinge on whether or not Olivet gets Harris back.  GA won the first match-up 61-52.

    SAC

    Fennville picked up the win of the week with their upsetting Saugatuck on the road 70-60 on Friday.  Fennville has been the team pulling off the upsets this season.  Along with their win over the Indians, they are the only team who has beaten Decatur this season.  Fennville has been scoring the ball at a much higher rate as of late scoring 74 and 70 in their two wins last week.  Pete Alfaro and Aaron Overheiser have both been the key guys in this category with both getting over 15 ppg this season.

    The other big game last week was on Tuesday and saw Gobles beat Watervliet 65-64.  It’s another big win for Gobles who now sits all alone in first place in the North Division.   The win also marks the seventh straight for the Tigers who now have a 9-3 record.  As for Watervliet, they have lost two in a row, and since their 5-0 start have gone just 2-3.  Their top two scorers are still doing their job though.  Jake Cowsert and Travis Bolin combined for 48 out of the 64 points on Tuesday against Gobles.

    Players of the week:

    Wes Webbert, Sauguatuck

    Saugatuck went 1-1 on the week with a tough home loss to Fennville, but Webbert still stood tall in both games.  He scored 24 points in each contest.  Webbert is second on the team in scoring,
    getting over 15 ppg.

    Pete Alfaro, Fennville

    Alfaro stepped up in a big way last week to lead Fennville to a 2-0 record.  On Tuesday he scored 17 points in a road win at Hartford and came back to drop 25 points to lead the Blackhawks to an upset win over Saugatuck.  He had help in that Fennville game as teammate Aaron Overheiser scored 23.

    Big Games This Week:

    Tuesday – Lawton @ Fennville.  Fennville is playing well winners of five of their last six and coming off their upset win over Saugatuck.  It will be a tough game for Lawton, but don’t
    discount the Blue Devils who have won three out of their last five. 

    Wednesday – Bangor @ Gobles. 
    Well, they will try once again to play this game.  It was rescheduled to last Wednesday and then
    called off again.  Still, it’s a key game as these two divisional opponents are yet to face each other this season.

    Friday – Gobles @ Bloomingdale.  The two rivals will do battle again on Friday.  If it’s anything like the first match-up it should be a good one.  Gobles held off Bloomingdale winning 51-48 on January 11.  Also don’t forget about the fact that Gobles will be playing their third game in five days.

    St. Joe
    Valley/Cliamx-Scotts

    Climax Scotts came up big on Friday night beating Kalamazoo Phoenix 72-57.  It is a very good win for the Panthers who were desperate for a good opponent.  Their previous three opponents had combined to score 50 points (yes that’s 21 from Litchfield, 12 from Waldron and 17 from
    Tekonsha).  The top two did what they do with Aaron Cook and Malachi Satterlee combining for 48 points.  On the season those two are combining to score over 34 points.  The rest of the
    team isn’t doing a lot of scoring, but then again they don’t need to.  If they can get 15-20 points from the rest of the team, they will be just fine on most nights.

  • High School Basketball Blog

    Posted by Nick Vlietstra

    By, Nick Vlietstra

    Snow Snow go away, you’re cancelling all of our games! Well that is what it seemed like last week, with a large majority of Tuesday’s games called off. There still were a few teams that played, and some of those played even though they didn’t have school that day. Getting your team up to play a game on a day when they didn’t have school can be a very trying thing for a coach. When your team is not at the gym, a coach does not have much power over what the kids are doing, and on a snow day, in all likelihood they are sleeping and playing video games. Now yes, they may be resting and staying out of trouble, but they are also out of their usual routine. Then come game time, they won’t have the same jump they usually do. They are more than likely going to be a step slower that night. Some coaches will do a lot of things to fight against this, such as having a shoot around, going to breakfast or lunch as a team, or having a full out practice. The coach needs to do whatever he can to make sure the kids stay a little closer to the routine they would have when they are actually awake, walking the hallways, and using their brains.

    SMAC

    Loy Norrix played one game this week and they made the most of it as they took down Kalamazoo Central over at University Arena. Bishop Robinson showed up big, in his last regular season game against the Giants getting 31 points and nine rebounds. I still can understand some frustration from the Central side who were playing their second game in as many days, while Loy Norrix hadn’t played in a week. Not only that, but both were big games as they ground out a 49-44 win over division rival Portage Central on Friday night. Still it’s a big win for the Knights who how have a 9-3 record and still sit in a tie atop the East division with Battle Creek Central.

    Stevensville Lakeshore was one team who did play twice last week and picked up two more wins to run their record to 11-0. They took care of Buchanan 48-32 in a non-conference game on Wednesday and then had to dig deep to beat Mattawan 34-30 on Friday. Any coach would love a time when their team allows only 62 points in two games. Kalamazoo Central and Niles are the two worst scoring defenses in the SMAC and both are allowing over 62 points a game, and it just took the Lancers two games to give that up. Lakeshore also has a two game lead for first place over St. Joe.

    Stars of the week:

    Jamaal Conger, Kalamazoo Central Conger was held down to 13 points on Saturday night against Loy Norrix but perhaps he was just still a little winded from his monster game on Friday. In a division game against Portage Central, Conger dropped in 32 points to lead the Giants to a key win and also a season sweep over the Mustangs. His 32 points accounted for over 65% of the offense in the 49-44 win.

    Dean Kolstad, Gull Lake It has been a great Senior season for Gull Lake’s Dean Kolstad. He helped his Blue Devils avenge an earlier season loss to Lakeview on Friday night by scoring 27 points and ripping down 15 rebounds. Gull Lake has won three out of their last four and Kolstad continues to lead the way getting close to 19 ppg this season.

    Josh Bass, Harper Creek It has been a quiet season for Harper Creek but the highlight has been their football star who has been producing in a big way on the basketball court. Josh Bass had a big game on Friday night in leading the Beavers to a win over Coldwater. He poured in 27 points and pulled down nine rebounds in the contest. Already holding a scholarship to play D-1 football, Bass has been the key man in the middle this season now scoring over 20 ppg.

    Big Games This Week:

    Tuesday – Gull Lake @ Marshall. One team is heating up and one is cooling down. Gull Lake has won three of their last four while Marshall has lost three of their last four. These two are tied along with Lakeview for third place in the SMAC East. Marshall beat Gull Lake in their earlier battle 59-50.

    Tuesday - Kalamazoo Central @ St. Joseph. St. Joe is all alone in second place and trying to prevent Lakeshore from completely running away with the division. These two are two of the top scoring teams in the conference, but defensively it isn’t close with St. Joe surrendering only 47 ppg and the Giants are giving up over 62. St. Joe won the first match-up 73-65 on opening night for both teams.

    Saturday – Grand Rapids Creston @ Kalamazoo Central. It will be a three game week for K-Central and they end with a tough non-conference game with Creston. It will probably help that they will be facing a team who is also playing on back to back nights

    Wolverine:

    The snow called off all but one Tuesday game and that included the most anticipated game of the week between division leaders Otsego and Dowagiac. I was very interested to see how that game would have gone, with Dowagiac destroying everything in their path right now, and Otsego winning, but not running over teams like Dowagiac has been. This was evident again on Friday when both teams were in action and playing the last place teams in the divisions. Dowagiac won easy over Coloma, 70-51, while Otsego had their hands full with Comstock and had to battle late to win 73-70. It was quite a turn of events for the Bulldogs who beat Comstock 84-46 at the start of the season. It’s interesting right now to see the Otsego scores, because they are still winning, but just not like you would think a 9-1 team would be winning. Perhaps that helps them down the road when they will be in closer games.

    One other game I had my eye on was Vicksburg and Paw Paw in a Friday rematch from a 53-50 Vicksburg win earlier this season. Both teams still have time to make something of their seasons, and do some damage in the second half. Paw Paw clearly had no problem winning 68-51 and doing that on the road. That evens their record at 5-5, and a big well done goes out to the Redskins free throw shooters. In this day and age where so many people talk about kids not knowing how to shoot free throws (which I think is very true) Paw Paw’s Christian Brian went 15-15 from the line while teammate Tanner Eubank went 8-9. 23-24 between two players! That will certainly help you win a game. On the other side, the story continues to be the same for Vicksburg who continues to struggle defensively. They had a good night on Tuesday, holding Three Rivers to 22, but then give up 68 in a key game with Paw Paw. They are now giving up over 61 ppg and have allowed opponents to score 68 or more in five games this season. It’s tough to win games, when giving up that many points, no matter how good your offense is.

    Players of the week:

    Dontel Highsmith, Dowagiac He only played once this week so he couldn’t do that much damage right? Well not so fast. He still managed to score 30 points in that one game against Coloma who came in with the best defense in the Wolverine.

    Bobby Brinkert, Comstock A 20 point performance usually doesn’t make it into this category, but on Friday night Brinkert’s 20 point performance just about led the way to an upset of Otsego. Brinkert has been the bright spot in a gloomy season so far scoring over 13 ppg.

    Big Games This Week:

    Tuesday – Edwardsburg @ Paw Paw. If you haven’t gotten out to see one of the top talents in southwest Michigan, this is a good time to go see Edwardsburg’s Josh Kozinski. The CMU bound Kozinski is a sharpshooter who is scoring over 21 ppg. He will go up against a Paw Paw team that is one of the top defensive teams in the Wolverine.

    Friday – Otsego @ Allegan. Well, would you look at that. Allegan is in second place in the East division. They had only one win last year and they are at 5-5 this year. Their lone divisional loss was to Otsego 61-47 back on December 14. Otsego has had some close calls lately, and they are going into a gym that is tough to play in.

    KVA:

    The KVA was a conference that had a lot of Tuesday action. In fact the majority of their teams played two games this past week. There really weren’t too many surprises. Schoolcraft went 2-0 again and now has a 10-2 record. The biggest surprise might have been that they played their closest conference game to date when they beat Kalamazoo Christian by 13 on Friday. On Tuesday Luke Ryskamp was held to only 12 points by Parchment but the Eagles still won by 33.

    Pennfield got a home win on Friday. Why is that a surprise? It was their first home win this season, but it wasn’t easy as they needed to come from behind to win 59-55 over Parchment. Pennfield has won three in a row and also got one of their key players back this week as Jake Grimes returned after being suspended for the first half of the season. There’s still plenty of work to do for a team who started the season at just 2-5.

    Players of the Week:

    Quinten Harris, Olivet It is impossible to leave him out of this section. I had a question posed to me this week of who is the second best player in the KVA behind Ryskamp. I think that answer has to be Harris who scored 38 points in two wins this week, which included a 19 point, 18 rebound performance against Constantine on Friday. Olivet has won three in a row and has moved up to second place in the KVA.

    Justin Bontrager, Constantine Bontrager has come on over the last month and has become the top scorer for the Falcons. He scored 13 points on Tuesday but came back with a 27 point performance against Olivet on Friday. He is averaging over 13 ppg on the season and has scored in double digits every game since Christmas.

    This Week’s Big Games:

    Tuesday – Schoolcraft @ Galesburg-Augusta. GA has won six straight and they put that on the line on Tuesday against Schoolcraft. It might be impressive if someone in the KVA can keep a game within 10 of the Eagles.

    Friday – Pennfield @ Galesburg-Augusta. Regardless of what happens on Tuesday, GA and Pennfield will lock up on Friday with both teams playing good basketball lately. The Rams won in Pennfield 55-49 on December 14.

    SAC:

    Nobody in the SAC played on Tuesday. Friday did see one eye opener when Lawton beat Watervliet. Watervliet has been playing good ball, but believe it or not, Friday’s game was just their fourth game they have played since before Christmas. They have gone 2-2 in those games, and they still haven’t reached the midway point of their season. On Friday Lawton showed up big and knocked off the Panthers 60-49. It has been an up and down season for the Blue Devils, but they are on the up right now with a 6-5 record.

    In the North Gobles earned a tough road win over Fennville 60-56 on Friday and have now won six in a row. Saugatuck also won on Friday and those two remain tied at the top of the North division. Meanwhile, Decatur is 6-0 and continues to lead the South. They now have a comfortable lead over Watervliet who sits at 3-2.

    Players of the week:

    Michael Winowiecki, Sauguatuck Saugatuck’s leading scorer was at it again on Friday night as he poured in 27 points in a win on the road at Bloomindale. He was helped out by teammate Wes Webbert who scrored 17 and pulled down 10 rebounds. Winowiecki is the leading scorer in the SAC this season, getting close to 20 ppg.

    Tom Cevern, Decatur Tom had a big night in leading Decatur to a 63-53 win over Lawrence. He was close to getting a triple double as he scored 22 points, pulled down nine rebounds and dished out seven assists. It has been a fine season for Tom, who is averaging 16.6 ppg and trails only his brother Tim for the scoring lead on the team.

    Big Games This Week:

    Tuesday – Watervliet @ Gobles. Gobles is 5-1, in first place in their division and they welcome Watervliet to town who is in second place in the south. Gobles’ good offense will face one of the top defenses in the conference.

    Wednesday – Bangor @ Gobles. These two are in the same division, but have yet to face off yet this season, but they will when they play their make-up game on Wednesday. Bangor is 3-3 in the division and still has plenty in the tank to do damage in the second half.

    Friday – Fennville @ Saugatuck. This is a rematch of a game that Saugatuck won in overtime 66-61 on the last game before Christmas break. It should prove to be another entertaining game on Friday night.

     

  • High School Basketball Blog

    Posted by Nick Vlietstra

    High School Sports Blog

    Half Way Through!

    By, Nick Vlietstra

    We are half way through the season (or at least close to
    it).  Most teams have a good idea of what
    they have at this point.  Now the job of
    these teams is to either keep it going or obviously turn it around.  We also start to see teams going through their
    conference schedules a second time which is sure to make for some good
    rematches.  Let’s take a look back at
    what happened last week.

    SMAC

    Another week and another good showing for Stevensville
    Lakeshore, who picked up two key division wins over Niles and St. Joseph.  Their 47-44 win St. Joe was big, as they beat
    a division rival, one who is probably your closest divisional competitor at
    this point, and doing it on the road. 
    Their defense continues to be their calling card as they held both
    opponents this week to 47 points or less and continue to hold opposing teams to
    less than 40 points per game.  St. Joe
    was one of the better offensive teams in the league and the argument can be
    made that they are the best shooting team, but they were held to just 44 points
    and hit only two three pointers in the game.

    Locally, it was a good week for Kalamazoo Central who picked
    up two division wins with both wins coming on the road.  Central now sits right in the middle of the
    West Division with a 4-3 record.  They
    still are scoring plenty of points, but they continue to allow a lot of points
    as well.  The Giants have given up less
    than 60 just three times in nine games. 

    On the other side of town Loy Norrix hit a stumbling block
    this past week falling on Tuesday to Lakeview in overtime.  It was an interesting score to see, and
    perhaps Lakeview is better than what people want to give them credit for.  Still, if you are one of the top teams in the
    division, beating Lakeview at home is a game you need to win.  The Spartans did have a very good week
    pulling off the upset of the Knights and then upsetting Marshall on the road on
    Friday.  They now sit behind only Loy
    Norrix and Battle Creek Central in the East Division standings.

    Portage Central survived their rivalry game with Portage
    Northern, but needed plenty of help to get there.  Like any rivalry game it got a little heated
    and with Central down five with two minutes to go a technical foul to Northern
    allowed Central the chance to cut the lead to one.  Central went on to win the game in
    overtime.  The win moves the Mustangs’ back
    into a tie for second place in the West along with St. Joseph.

    Stars of the week:

    Bishop Robinson, Loy Norrix

    Another week and another Robsinson sighting here.  He exploded for 30 points and 12 rebounds in
    Tuesday’s overtime loss to Lakeview and then came back with 20 points and 10
    rebounds against Gull Lake.  Robinson
    continues to lead the SMAC in scoring getting 24.9 ppg.

    Jamaal Conger, Kalamazoo Central

    As the season has gone along, Conger has solidified himself
    as one of the best pure scorers in the SMAC. 
    He led the Maroon Giants to two wins this past week.  On Tuesday he scored 25 points in their win
    over Portage Northern and came back to score 24 in beating Niles.  For the season the Senior is getting over 22
    ppg.

    Donnie Ernsberger, Lakeview

    Ernsberger led Lakeview to two upset wins on the road this
    past week.  First, against Loy Norrix he
    scored 19 points and hit the game winning three in overtime, and then he came
    back to score 16 and grab seven rebounds in a win over Marshall.  He is the leading scorer for the suddenly hot
    Spartans who sit in third place in the SMAC East.

    Big Games This Week:

    Tuesday – Portage Central @ Battle Creek Lakeview.  Lakeview is hot and coming off two upset wins
    over Loy Norrix and Marshall last week. 
    They will face a crossover game with Portage Central who is now 7-3.

    Friday - Kalamazoo Central @ Portage Central.  This is a rematch of a game on December 7
    that saw the Giants come from over 20 down in the fourth quarter to steal a win
    in overtime.  This game has plenty on the
    line as K-Central sits one game behind the Mustangs in the standings.

    Saturday – Loy Norrix vs. Kalamazoo Central (@ University
    Arena).  This big rivalry game is played
    only once a year now.  This one has a
    chance to be another good game with two of the top players in the SMAC on the
    court with Bishop Robinson for Loy Norrix and Jamaal Conger for K-Central.

    Wolverine:

    A lot of big scorers did a lot of big things this week.  We start in Dowagiac where on Friday night
    Dontel Highsmith went off again this time striking for 49 points, 11 rebounds
    and six assists against Berrien Springs. 
    It also came on the same night that Berrien Springs’ Jhon Williams
    scored 33.   Highsmith hit eight three pointers, which is a
    disaster for opposing teams.  He is a guy
    that I always say you need to play like LeBron, and attempt to prevent him from
    driving, and then pray he doesn’t hit his jump shots.  When he is hitting his shots, you just need
    to tip your cap and say it’s probably not our night.  As a team the Chieftains put up 101 points
    and hit an astonishing 19 three pointers. 
    It is the third time this season that Dowagiac has scored 90 or more
    points.  It does lead me to some question
    marks.  I understand that it is a fun
    thing for kids to want to score over 100 points, and I can even understand
    there could be an urge to get to that mark. 
    At the same time, why does a high school team need to pour it on, and
    score over 25 points in a final quarter of a game that was already well in
    hand?  They did end up winning the game
    by 27.

    Otsego needed a big second half to get past their rivals
    from Plainwell.  They won by 13 but they
    trailed big early on, and still trailed at the half.  Otsego is now 8-1 which is impressive, but
    perhaps not as impressive as some would expect. 
    I don’t want to read too much into it, because scoreboard comparing does
    no one much help, but it can be interesting to see how they allow some lesser
    teams the ability to stick in the game. 
    Not blowing out bad teams by enough doesn’t always say that much, but
    they could be playing dangerously if they do allow some teams to stick around
    in games.

    Players of the week:

    Dontel Highsmith, Dowagiac

    There was no keeping this guy out of the players of the week
    this week following his 49 point performance on Friday against Berrien
    Springs.  That goes along with his 23
    point performance against Plainwell on Tuesday. 
    Highsmith continues to lead the Wolverine in scoring now averaging 28
    ppg.

    Jhon Williams, Berrien Springs

    Berrien Springs may have gone 0-2 this week, but it wasn’t
    because of Jhon Williams who averaged 29 ppg in the two games and did it
    against two of the top teams in the conference. 
    He started the week scoring 25 points in a 12 point loss to Otsego, and
    then came back to score 33 in a loss to Dowagiac.  Williams is the Shamrocks’ leading scorer
    getting over 17 ppg.

    Brian Harris, South Haven

    It was a big week for South Haven and their top scorer,
    Brian Harris, showed up in a big way scoring 24 ppg in their two games.  On Tuesday he scored 25 points in a win
    against Vicksburg and then came back to score 23 points in a losing effort on
    the road at Edwardsburg.  Harris is now
    scoring just a touch under 18 ppg for the Rams.

    Big Games This Week:

    Tuesday – Dowagiac @ Otsego. 
    A possible championship matchup where there are two combined losses
    between these two right now.  It is also
    a matchup of the top player in the conference in Dowagiac’s Dontel Highsmith
    and the young up and coming talent of the Bulldogs.

    Friday – Paw Paw @ Vicksburg.  This is a rematch of a game early in the
    season when Vicksburg won 53-50.  Also a
    matchup of teams who halfway through probably feel they could be better than
    what they have been.  A win here could
    propel either of these teams to a good second half.

    KVA

    Another week and once again Schoolcraft flexed their
    muscles.  They have separated themselves
    as the top team in the conference at this point, and after two wins this week
    they are 8-0 in the conference.  It
    wasn’t a tremendously tough week as they faced two of the lesser teams in the
    conference in Delton and Constantine. 
    They are demolishing everyone in their way in the conference this
    year.  Within the conference they are
    scoring over 66 ppg and giving up only 38. 
    Their closest game within the KVA so far has been a 14 point difference.

    The big rivalry game between Kalamazoo Christian and Hackett
    proved to be an exciting one again with Christian pulling out a seven point
    victory.  Hackett had won their last two
    including winning at Olivet on Tuesday, and Hackett has turned their home court
    into one of the tougher places to play in the KVA.  That still wasn’t enough as the Comets turned
    back their longtime rivals.  The Comets
    don’t have nearly as much depth as they once had, but they are getting a lot
    out of their top players.  Nate
    Niewoonder (13.5 ppg) and Brennan Heidema (13.6) are both leading the offense,
    while their big man Dylan Gooch is becoming more and more productive as the
    season goes on, now scoring close to 9 ppg.

    Players of the Week:

    Quinten Harris, Olivet

    The top big man in the conference may have had his best week
    of the season last week.  He averaged 20
    ppg and pulled down 19 rpg.  Against
    Hackett he scored 17 points and had 17 rebounds.  He then topped that performance against their
    rivals Maple Valley scoring 23 points and grabbing 21 rebounds.  Harris is committed to play his college ball
    at Michigan Tech.

    Luke Ryskamp, Schoolcraft

    The KVA’s top scorer was at it again this week averaging 25
    ppg in two wins.  The Grand Valley commit
    started the week getting 27 points on the road at Delton and then scored 23
    points at home against their rivals from Constantine.  He continues to lead the KVA in scoring
    getting 23.3 ppg.

    This Week’s Big Games:

    Tuesday – Kalamazoo Christian @ Galesburg-Augusta.  GA is hot as they are 6-3 and winners of five
    in a row.  They tangle with K-Christian
    for a chance to move up to second place in the conference.

    Friday – Schoolcraft @ Kalamazoo Christian.  Christian has given the Eagles one of their
    closest games of the KVA season (that means they lost by 15).   Still going into the Comets’ home gym is not
    easy.

    SAC

    Decatur finally fell from the ranks of the unbeaten as they
    fell 62-58 on the road at Fennville on Tuesday. 
    They still bounced back to win at Hartford on Friday.  The Raiders were the last remaining
    undefeated team in the SAC, but I still feel they will be fine going
    forward.  They have their big three scorers
    in Tim and Tom Cevern and T.J. Stambek who are leading the top scoring offense
    in the SAC getting over 64 ppg.  They
    also have one of the top defenses in the conference that is holding opponents
    to just 49 ppg.

    Gobles came up with a huge road win on Friday as they
    knocked off Saugatuck.  They were able to
    avenge an overtime loss to the Indians they suffered early in the season.  The two games were very different
    though.  On December 7 the final was
    73-68, and Friday it went from a shootout to a defensive battle with the Tigers
    winning 49-44.  That ties up those two
    teams atop the North division, while Fennville is still lurking just a game
    behind those two.  

    Players of the week:

    Tim Cerven, Decatur

    Decatur suffered their first loss of the season this week,
    but Tim Cerven was still scoring the ball at a very high rate.  He averaged 22.5 ppg in the Raiders’ two
    games this week scoring 21 points in a loss at Fennville and then getting 24
    points against Hartford.  He is one of
    three for Decatur averaging double digits and he leads the way at 17.5 ppg.

    Luke Traver, Hartford

    Traver had a very nice week for the Indians averaging 21 ppg
    as Hartford went 1-1.  He began the week
    scoring 26 points in leading his team to a win on the road at Bangor.  He then came back to score 15 points in a
    home loss to Decatur.  Traver is the
    leading scorer for Hartford getting 14.4 ppg.

    Big Games This Week:

    Tuesday – Bangor @ Gobles. 
    Gobles is in a tie for first place and they face a Bangor team who is
    looking to turn their season around. 

    Friday – Gobles @ Fennville. 
    It’s a tough week for Gobles as they will finish it off with a game with
    Fennville who goes into the week one game behind the Tigers and Saugatuck.  Gobles won the first matchup 50-46.

    St. Joe
    Valley/Cliamx-Scotts

    Another week and two more wins for both Climax Scotts and
    Mendon.  Mendon claimed two road wins
    over Niles Brandywine and Athens.  They
    are now 9-1 and are outscoring opponents by close to 18 per game.  Down the street Climax Scotts won two games
    rather easily, beating Pittsford and Battle Creek St. Phil and improve to 10-0
    on the season.

    Player of the week:

    Aaron Cook, Climax-Scotts

    Another big week for Cook as he averaged 22 ppg and grabbed
    8 rpg in two wins.  Cook scored 20 point
    and had eight rebounds against Pittsford and then came back to get 24 points
    and eight rebounds against St. Phil. 
    Cook continues to be the top scorer for the undefeated Panthers at 19.5
    ppg.

     

  • High School Basketball Blog

    Posted by Nick Vlietstra

    The Week After Break

    By, Nick Vlietstra

    We are one week back into the normal schedule of school, practice and games.  Once again there was some surprises, but in general this week went pretty much as you would predict.  The week saw some of the top teams solidifying themselves as the top teams, and also saw one local star break a big milestone.

    SMAC

    Loy Norrix had as tough a week as anyone and they handled it pretty well.  Their week included two big divisional games with Sturgis and Marshall and then a Saturday game against Grand Rapids Christian.  They did suffer a loss to Christian, but I think the Knights will take that if it means that they could win the other two games.  They had another battle with Sturgis which went to overtime and the Knights pulled out the victory 64-58, and then pulled out a tight 58-56 win over Marshall.  They are now 5-0 in the division in front of both Marshall (4-2) and Battle Creek Central (3-1).

    Sturgis is an interesting team right now.  They are certainly battling every night but they just can’t finish out their games.  This week they went 0-2 but had their chances to go 2-0 falling in overtime and then falling to Harper Creek by three.  They hold a 4-6 record, but have been outscored by only one point on the season.  We knew they would be young, but with half a season left, it will be interesting to see how this team finishes out.

    Lakeshore continues to lead the West division with a 7-0 record and 5-0 in the division. They beat Coloma and then took down Portage Central in a key division game.  They showed their strong defense against both teams allowing just 33 and 34 points in the two games.  They have the best defense in the SMAC allowing only 38.1 ppg.  Their game against Portage Central was probably the epitome of who they are scoring only 48 points but surrendering only 34. 

    Stars of the week:

    Bishop Robinson, Loy Norrix

    Another great week for Robinson who also reached a big milestone in his career going over the 1,000 point mark for his career on Tuesday.  On the court, he led the Knights to a 2-1 record in a very difficult week winning two key division games and falling to Grand Rapids Christian.  Robinson averaged 21.7 ppg in the three games and registered double-doubles against both Sturgis and Marshall.

    Chance Stewart, Sturgis

    While he might be a football star, Stewart is showing he is pretty good on the hard court as well.  This past week he averaged a double-double scoring 16.5 ppg and averaging 11 rpg.  The highlight of the week was against Loy Norrix when he scored 20 points and pulled down 14 rebounds.  On the season, Stewart is the second leading scorer for the Trojans getting over 15 ppg.  

    This Week’s Big Games

    Tuesday - Mattawan @ Portage Central.  Portage Central got off to the hot start but they have lost two of their last three.  They are at home against a defensive minded Wildcats squad who is giving up only 48 ppg this season.

    Friday – Portage Central @ Portage Northern.  At this point the Mustangs are clearly the better team with a 5-3 record.  The Huskies are only 1-9 with a win over Bronson, but this is still a rivalry game and Northern is at home, so Central better prepare to face a Huskies team that will be coming out to play their best game of the season.

    Friday – Stevensville-Lakeshore @ St. Joseph.  The first battle this season between what appears to be the top two teams in the West Division.  St. Joe goes into the week one game behind the Lancers.  The Bears are one of the top scoring teams in the SMAC, and one of the best shooting teams as well and they will clash with the SMAC’s best defensive team.

    Wolverine:

    A few key division games took place on Friday with Paw Paw falling to Otsego and Dowagiac claiming a big home win over Edwardsburg.  Otsego went into their game against Paw Paw only one game up in the standings and pulled out a ten point win.  Paw Paw is only 3-4 now, but playing the Redskins in their home gym isn’t easy, and the Bulldogs did what they needed to do to get out of there with a win. 

    In the other big game, Dowagiac fell behind early and Edwardsburg had to be flying high when they held a 19-9 lead after one quarter.  The Chieftains can score in bunches and they came back to win fairly easily 72-54.  They continue to score a ton of points this season scoring an astonishing 76 ppg, and have scored under 70 points only twice, and one of those times they scored 69.  Dontel Highsmith won the battle of the two D-1 prospects scoring 29 points while Josh Kozinski scored 20.

    Players of the week:

    Tyler White, Plainwell

    White has been a monster this season for Plainwell and had his best week so far this past week.  White averaged 18 ppg in two games.  That included a huge game against Middleville Thornapple Kellogg when he scored 20 points and grabbed 16 rebounds.  He is going to Illinois on a football scholarship, but while he’s still here and on the basketball court he is leading the Trojans in scoring and rebounding.

    Gary Jones, Allegan

    It was a nice week for Jones who averaged 22.5 ppg in two games.  He scored 16 points against Mattawan and then came back to drop 29 in leading the Tigers to a big division win over Vicksburg.  Allegan is now 3-4, but that is still a huge improvement on last year when they won only one game.

    This Week’s Big Games:

    Tuesday – Vicksburg @ South Haven.  Vicksburg has now dropped to 3-4, but there is still plenty of talent to do damage.  South Haven is 6-2, and currently just a half game out of first place in the West.  Vicksburg’s biggest issue so far is on the defensive end where they are allowing over 63 ppg.

    Friday – South Haven @ Edwardsburg.  It’s a tough week for South Haven as they finish up the week on the road against the Eddies.  Both teams go into the week a half game behind Dowagiac.

    Friday – Otsego @ Plainwell.  Otsego is the better team here.  Still, it’s a rivalry game, so like the Portage rivalry, Otsego better prepare for Plainwell to show up and play a great game. 

    KVA

    Schoolcraft looked like the top team in the conference this week as they handled two big games with ease.  Their week started with beating Olivet 60-39 and then finished up handing Maple Valley a 71-36 loss.  The Eagles are now 6-0 and in good control of the top spot in the conference.  The closest team to them is Kalamazoo Christian who has a 5-2 record.

    It was a fun start to the season watching Maple Valley come out of nowhere and start 6-0, but that came to a crashing halt this week.  They fell to Galesburg-Augusta in triple overtime, and then got pounded by Schoolcraft.  How they bounce back from these two losses will determine what this team really will be.

    The aforementioned Kalamazoo Christian had a positive week going 2-0 with wins over Delton and Constantine.  They are an interesting team right now that shoots a lot of three pointers and whether or not they go in determines how well they do.  They have had certain games this season where they have shot the lights out such as their early season game against Parchment when they made 10 three pointers.  They also have other games where they make maybe one or two.  As in all sports, it always comes back to your consistency right?

    Players of the Week:

    Quinten Harris, Olivet

    Harris has been the KVA’s top big man this season and he continued that mark this past week averaging a double-double in two games scoring 18 ppg and grabbing 12 rpg.  The Eagles went 1-1, but in their win over Pennfield Harris scored 23 points and pulled down 13 rebounds.

    Jack Binegar, Parchment

    The season hasn’t gone like expected for Parchment so far but they got a vision of what could be on Friday night from their big man Binegar.  The 6’8” Binegar finished the game against Hackett with 12 points, 20 rebounds and seven blocks. 

    This Week’s Big Games:

    Friday – Kalamazoo Christian @ Hackett.  Kalamazoo Christian goes into the week in second place in the conference, and they should be ready for a battle on Friday. Hackett’s season hasn’t gone as well as expected, but they did get a win over Parchment on Friday and can now look to getting this thing turned around.

    Friday – Constantine @ Schoolcraft.  It may not be the same as the battles they have on the football field, but these two teams still play their hearts out when they get together.  Schoolcraft is the much better team and they have had very little problem in conference this season going 6-0 and beating teams by an average of 26.8 ppg.

    SAC

    It was somewhat of a light week with very few games being played on Tuesday.  They did have a full schedule on Friday and that included a good battle between the top two teams in the South, Watervliet and Decatur.  The Raiders were able to prevail 51-37 and are now 9-0 on the season and in doing so they have separated themselves as the top team in the South right now.  They were also one of only a few teams who played two games on the week as they also added a 56-37 win over Lawton on Tuesday.

    In the North, Saugatuck continued their march through the division getting a key road win over Bangor.  They are now 4-0 in the division and one game up on Gobles for the division lead.  Speaking of Gobles, they were able to claim another big win over Bloomingdale 51-48, and have now won four in a row.

    Players of the week:

    Michael Winowiecki, Saugatuck

    Winowiecki poured in 25 points for the Indians as they beat Bangor 60-41.  He has been the leading scorer this season for Saugatuck who is undefeated in the division and has now won six in a row. 

    Quin Rice, Marcellus

    Rice had a big night in a losing effort against Lawton on Friday.  He scored 24 points for the Wildcats.  Rice leads Marcellus in scoring this season getting over 14 ppg.

    This Week’s Big Games:

    Tuesday – Decatur @ Fennville.  Decatur is the top team in the SAC, undefeated at 9-0, but facing a test on the road at Fennville on Tuesday.  Fennville is 4-3 and capable of giving the Raiders a competitive game.

    Friday – Gobles @ Saugatuck.  A battle for first place will be on tap at Saugatuck.  Gobles has lost only one division game so far and that came to the Indians in a tight 73-68 game early in the season.  Gobles has won four in a row while Saugatuck has won six straight dating back to their loss on their opening night of the season.

    St. Joe Valley/Cliamx-Scotts

    The biggest match-up of the week saw White Pigeon go on the road to Mendon and the Hornets got the better of them again winning 65-52.  Mendon was able to improve to 7-1 on the season with their only loss being over Christmas break in overtime to Eau Claire.  Scoring the ball has been a bright spot for the Hornets who are getting close to 69 ppg.

    Down the road, Climax-Scotts continues to roll along claiming two victories this past week.  The Panthers are now 8-0 and are outscoring opponents by close to 25 ppg.  They have been great on offense but even better on defense as they are holding opponents to just 36.4 ppg.

    Players of the week:

    Robbie Gibson/Matt Crowl, White Pigeon

    This duo has done a lot of damage this season and they kept it up this week.  Gibson had a two game total of 30 points and 14 rebounds while Crowl checked in with 28 points and 18 rebounds.  Gibson continues to lead White Pigeon this season getting 17.7 ppg.

  • High School Basketball Blog

    Posted by Nick Vlietstra

    Holiday Break Recap

    By, Nick Vlietstra

    The Holiday break has come and gone, students are back in school, practice times are back to normal, and most teams are going back to two games a week.  For some teams it will be a time to unthaw considering they haven’t played in over two weeks.  But while some were just practicing in cold gyms, others were doing their work in front of crowds in holiday tournaments and showcases. 

    I don’t know if there are many coaches who truly like the holiday break for their teams.  It interrupts games and practices.  It is hard to get guys to come to practice and play hard, whether or not you have games and that is if your whole team shows up with some being gone on vacation. If that is the case, you need to rely on players from your other teams to fill out a full team, or maybe even get alumni to come back and practice.  Practice times are different for the players and coaches.  The kids are still kids and most nights will be found staying up until midnight or later playing video games, watching movies or doing whatever else they can do at that time considering they don’t have a big reason to go to bed.  With all these factors added in, it is understandable why coaches don’t care for the break.  Some teams did use it to their advantage.  Here is a look back at what happened over the last two weeks.

    SMAC

    The Kalamazoo Schools both played over the break with Loy Norrix in a tournament, and Kalamazoo Central in a one night showcase against Lansing Eastern.  I’ll start with Norrix who looked great one night against a lesser Cassopolis squad and not so much against U-D Jesuit the next night.  Jesuit dealt the Knights their first loss of the season and did it with two players accounting for over 60% of their points (one getting 29 and another getting 25).  It’s hard to say what happened because I’ve never seen U-D before, and I have no idea how good those guys usually are.  I can say that in that game Norrix was hurt in the first half when Bishop Robinson got into foul trouble.  It’s clear that he is their leader and they are a different team without him on the court, but there’s nothing really wrong with that because he is an outstanding player.  I continue to have people ask how good he really is.  I continue to answer that he can certainly do things on the basketball court that most high schoolers can’t do.  He can attack the rim, has an outstanding motor and is relentless on the boards.  Saying that, I don’t know how well a player doing that at 6’2” translates to the next level, and I think that is the same thing a lot of college coaches are looking at.

    Moving across town to Kalamazoo Central, they had one great win over Lansing Eastern over the break and one loss to Stevensville-Lakeshore.  They have a lot of young talent that is still a work in progress right now, but in a few years will be very good.  Ramsey Nichols has them playing very good and aggressive man-to-man defense.  They too have a player that makes their team go to a different level and that is Jamaal Conger.  He was in foul trouble in the first half against Eastern, but when he came back in the second half the team looked totally different.  When he is in, the rest of the young talent can be in supporting roles.  He totally took over that game in the second half.  He wanted the ball every position and showed off all the talent he has.  He was shooting, driving, and was clearly the best player on the floor that night going for 34 in the game.  The interesting thing with the Giants is how different they are playing home and away.  They are 2-1 at home and 1-2 on the road but there is about a 20 point difference home and away on both their offense and defense.  At home they are scoring and giving up 73 ppg (which does include an 89-87 game with Portage Central) while on the road they are scoring 51 ppg and giving up 55 ppg.  This was seen again on Friday when they fell on the road to Stevensville-Lakeshore 62-43.

    Elsewhere in the conference Battle Creek Central continues their hot play as they sit at 5-1 overall.  They went 2-0 over the break with wins over Grand Rapids Union (57-49) and Lansing Everett (65-57).  Marshall also went 2-0 beating Olivet up at Michigan State and beat Harper Creek on Friday and is now 6-1.  Sturgis also had a nice break too going 3-0.  They won their holiday tournament with wins over Kalamazoo Christian and Portage Northern, and then went on to claim a Friday night win over Gull Lake.  After starting 1-4 they have now run their record even at 4-4.

    Stars of the week:

    Jamaal Conger, Kalamazoo Central

    It was a nice two games over the break for Conger who scored 34 against Lansing Eastern and 18 against Stevensville-Lakeshore.  The Giants’ Senior guard is their leading scorer averaging 20 ppg.

    Bishop Robinson, Loy Norrix

    In their holiday tournament Robinson averaged 24.5 ppg.  He scored 24 points in a win over Cassopolis and 25 in their loss to U-D Jesuit.  This is just a continued great string of play this season as Robinson is averaging 26.5 ppg.

    Alex Brown, Niles

    It hasn’t been a great season so far for Niles with only a 1-5 record, and they fell in their only game over the break to Mishawaka (IN) 80-78 in OT.  In the losing effort Brown had a great effort pouring in 31 points including knocking down seven three pointers.  Brown has been their leading scorer this season getting over 15 ppg.

    This Week’s Big Games

    Tuesday - Gull Lake @ Portage Central.  Could these two be going in different directions?  Portage Central is 4-2 and in second place in the West while Gull Lake sits at just 3-3 and tied for last in the East Division.  The Mustangs will need to slow down Gull Lake’s Dean Kolstad who is scoring over 20 ppg.

    Tuesday – Sturgis @ Loy Norrix.  It is already the second meeting this season between these two.  Loy Norrix won the first meeting 60-53 down in Sturgis.  The Trojans come in winners of three in a row and in need of a big division win.

    Friday – Stevensville-Lakeshore @ Portage Central.  How good are the Mustangs?  It will be a tough week and we will learn more about them this week especially with another tough division showdown on Friday with the undefeated Lancers.

    Friday – Marshall @ Loy Norrix.  Loy Norrix sits in first place right now and faces a really big week with Sturgis and then Marshall who is currently 6-1.  But if you read on you’ll realize their week doesn’t slow down there.

    Saturday – Grand Rapids Christian vs. Loy Norrix (3:00 @ Davenport University).  No rest for the Knights who face three big games in the week.  GR Christian is just 2-4 right now, but does have one of the top players in the state in Drake Harris

    Wolverine:

    It was a very quiet break for the Wolverine.  A few teams played in some holiday tournaments, but most stayed home.  Dowagiac went 1-1 in their tournament in Benton Harbor.  They were dealt their first loss of the season to Muskegon Heights 82-76 and came back to beat Bridgeman the next night 73-64.  Comstock also went 1-1 in the White Pigeon Tournament which included possibly the most entertaining game over the break, falling in the championship game to Gobles 94-92 in triple overtime.  Plainwell went up against very good competition in Zeeland and came away 0-2.  They fell to host Zeeland East the first night and then fell to Jenison the next night.

    Players of the week:

    Dontel Highsmith, Dowagiac

    Highsmith was had a great two game stretch in the Holiday Tournament in Benton Harbor.  On the opening night he dropped 38 in a loss to Muskegon Heights and then came back with 20 against Bridgeman the next night.  He had some help against Bridgeman as running mate D.J. Hunt tossed in 25 points.

    Tanner Eubank, Paw Paw

    Paw Paw played only one game over break and that was a 56-37 win over Lawton on Friday.  In that game Eubank went for 24 points and pulled down nine rebounds.  The Sophomore is the Redskins’ leading scorer this season at just over 12 ppg.

    This Week’s Big Games:

    Friday – Paw Paw @ Otsego.  It has not gone quite as well as expected for Paw Paw so far as they sit at just 3-3, but they do sit just one game behind the Bulldogs in the East standings. 

    Friday – Vicksburg @ Allegan.  Vicksburg has played a very tough schedule so far and sit at 3-3.  Allegan is 2-3 but that is two more wins than they had last year, and Allegan always seems to play teams tough at home.

    KVA

    Another week and Maple Valley continues to lead the conference.  They played only one game over the break and that was a 66-58 overtime win over Kalamazoo Christian.  In that game they did something that they have not done a lot of in recent years and even this year.  They hit a lot of three pointers, knocking down 10 in the game against the Comets.  It still seems strange to say, but the Lions are still undefeated at 6-0.

    Schoolcraft went 1-1 over break.  They traveled to the East side of the state and played at Detroit Country Day against Pontiac where they fell pretty hard 90-62.  They came back on Friday to collect a 67-53 win at Pennfield.  The Eagles are 4-2 and went 0-2 in their only two non-conference games, but I would still put them as the favorite to win the KVA.

    Players of the Week:

    Kendal Griffen, Parchment

    Parchment collected their first win of the season on Friday against Delton and it was in large part to Griffen who scored 27 points.  As a Junior, Griffen is showing himself to be the Panthers’ top scoring threat scoring over 17 ppg.

    Micah Bromley, Maple Valley

    Bromley had a great night on Friday against Kalamazoo Christian scoring 24 points.  He hit four three pointers in the game and scored six out of his team’s nine points in overtime.  Bromley is one of two players scoring close to 14 ppg for the undefeated Lions this season.

    This Week’s Big Games:

    Tuesday – Olivet @ Schoolcraft.  Two of the top teams in the KVA square off.  Olivet is 3-2 but they are 3-1 in conference and sit just a game behind Schoolcraft and Maple Valley for first place. 

    Friday – Maple Valley @ Schoolcraft.  Can you say battle for first place?  The Lions and Eagles are both 4-0 in conference and could have a good match-up Friday.  But, no matter who you are winning down in Schoolcraft is no easy task. 

    SAC

    Decatur’s great play continued over the break as they went 2-0 in the Centreville Tournament.  They beat the host 71-50 on the opening night and then beat Eau Claire in the championship game 57-54.  It continues to be the usual suspects as the Cevern brothers are doing the majority of the scoring combining for over 35 ppg.  Good things come in threes though and the one that you can’t fall asleep on is T.J. Stambek who is pitching in with over 12 ppg.  The three of them make up 70% of the offense for the Raiders.  It was also a good break for Gobles who won the White Pigeon tournament with wins over White Pigeon and Comstock.  They have won their last three in a row and now sit with a 5-3 record.

    Players of the week:

    Mitch Walker and Ty Rock, Gobles

    These two had two great games in leading Gobles to the White Pigeon Tournament Championship.  Walker averaged 18 ppg in the two games while Rock scored 19 ppg including 25 in their wild triple overtime win over Comstock.  It isn’t anything new for these two who have been the top two scorers for the Tigers this season combining for over 35 ppg.

    This Week’s Big Games:

    Tuesday – Lawton @ Decatur.  Lawton is going to have their hands full going into Decatur.  The Raiders are 7-0 and boast the best offense in the SAC.  Lawton is 3-3 and has been playing great defense surrendering only 48 ppg which is good for second in the conference.

    Friday – Bloomingdale @ Gobles.  An old neighborly battle between these two and it could be a great game.  Both of these teams were expected to battle for the top spot in the Division and both are still very much in the race.  Gobles comes in 5-3 and has the second best offense in the SAC, while Bloomingdale is 4-3 and has the best defense in the conference.

    Friday – Watervliet @ Decatur.  It’s the first match-up between these two.  They were expected to be the two fighting for first place and that’s exactly where they are.  Both are undefeated, and Decatur’s top offense will face another very good defense.

    Friday – Saugatuck @ Bangor.  Saugatuck is in first place in the North and after their season opening loss to Wyoming Lee they have won five in a row.  Bangor is 3-4 but just a game behind Saugatuck for first place, and would love nothing more than to pull into first place with a win at home over the Indians.

    St. Joe Valley/Cliamx-Scotts

    It certainly was a surprise to see Mendon fall in the opening game of the Centreville Tournament to Eau Claire.  I personally was looking forward to see what would happen in a championship match-up of two undefeated teams in Mendon and Decatur. Meanwhile, White Pigeon has begun to play better going 2-1 over the break and now has a 4-3 record.  They still aren’t scoring a lot of points getting just 46 ppg.

  • High School Basketball Blog

    Posted by Nick Vlietstra

    Local High School Holiday Tournaments

    Local High School basketball teams have always taken a break from their normal schedules over the holiday break, and some will then compete in holiday tournaments and invitationals.  This year is no different with plenty of good holiday basketball action to see around this area.  Here is a look at all the local action this week.

    Don Jackson Holiday Classic @ Kalamazoo Central

    This has become one of the top places to watch great high school talent from around the state over the Holiday break.  For a few years now K-Central has been bringing in great teams from around the state to compete in a one day showcase.  It doesn’t change this year.  The second game features Jackson and Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills who defeated the Giants last week.  In the third game defending Class B state champion Lansing Sexton will face Class C state power River Rouge.  Sexton features big man Jalen Hayes who has already committed to play at Oakland next year.  In the final game K-Central will face talent packed Lansing Eastern.  Eastern brings to the table three players who could be playing college basketball next year, two of which could be at the division one level.  Charles Tucker is listed on rivals.com website as a three star prospect choosing between a number of smaller D-1 schools including Kent State, Toledo and Jacksonville State.  Their other guard is Fredrick Edmond who reportedly is being looked at by schools such as Butler, Cincinnati and Dayton.   

    Schedule:

    Kalamazoo Phoenix vs. South Haven Saturday @ 2:30

    Jackson vs. Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills Saturday @ 4:15

    River Rouge vs. Lansing Sexton Saturday @ 5:45

    Lansing Eastern vs. Kalamazoo Central Saturday @ 7:00

    @ Loy Norrix

    Loy Norrix will once again host a Holiday tournament in which they welcome in talent from around the state.  This year Flint International Academy and U-D Jesuit will travel from the east side to compete.  Flint International comes in with a 5-1 record while U-D Jesuit comes in at 2-0.  Cassopolis will be the final team involved in this two day tournament.

    Flint International Academy vs. U-D Jesuit Thursday @ 4:30

    Loy Norrix vs. Cassopolis Thursday @ 7:30

    Consolation Game Friday @ 4:30

    Championship Game Friday @ 7:30

    @ Zeeland East

    Plainwell is taking a big step up in competition when they head to Zeeland for a holiday tournament.  The Trojans will face the host school in the first game on Thursday in the primetime slot at 8:00.  Win or lose they will then face either Holland West Ottawa or Jenison in the second game.  Zeeland comes in undefeated at 5-0.  Jenison comes in with a 3-1 record and features Junior Luke DieKevers who is reportedly receiving interest from WMU and CMU.  Holland West Ottawa comes in at 2-2.

    Schedule:

    Jenison vs. Holland West Ottawa Thursday @ 6:00

    Plainwell vs. Zeeland East Thursday @ 8:00

    Consolation Friday @ 6:00

    Championship Friday @ 8:00

    A & K Enterprises Holiday Basketball Tournament

    This holiday tournament has become a staple of the holiday break and past tournaments have proved to be very entertaining. It features different levels of play with two class C teams, one Class B and one Class A.  Over the years Kalamazoo Christian has dominated this tournament, but in recent years results have been mixed.  Sturgis is the defending champions as they beat Portage Northern 47-46 in last year’s championship.

    Schedule:

    Kalamazoo Christian @ Sturgis Thursday @ 7:30

    Bronson @ Portage Northern Thursday @ 7:30

    Consolation Friday @ Kalamazoo Christian 4:30

    Championship Friday @ Kalamazoo Christian 7:30

    Centreville Holiday Tournament

    The highlight of this tournament could be the likely match-up between Mendon and Decatur in the Championship on Friday.  Both teams come in undefeated. 

    Schedule:

    Mendon vs. Eau Claire Thursday @ 5:30

    Decatur vs. Centreville Thursday @ 7:00

    Consolation Friday @ 5:30

    Championship Friday @ 7:00

    White Pigeon Holiday Tournament

    Some good small school talent will be on the court in White Pigeon.  The night cap game of the first day with White Pigeon and Gobles could be very entertaining. 

    Schedule:

    Niles Brandywine vs. Comstock Thursday @ 6:00

    Gobles vs. White Pigeon Thursday @ 7:15

    Consolation game Friday @ 5:00

    Championship Game Friday @ 7:00

  • High School Basketball Blog

    Posted by Nick Vlietstra

    High School Basketball Week Three Recap

    SMAC

    Is it safe to say yet that Portage Central is for real?  It was another great week for the Mustangs who are off to a 4-1 start, and if they could have closed out Kalamazoo Central would be 5-0.  Their most impressive win came Friday when they went down to St. Joseph and beat the undefeated Bears 47-42.  They have done the job on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.  They are averaging over 58 ppg which is good for third in the conference behind only Loy Norrix and Kalamazoo Central.  Quae Furlow has been the main offensive threat scoring close to 20 ppg, but he has been helped by Rodney Turner who is scoring 13.8 ppg.  On the other end they are surrendering 51 ppg, but that is still in the top half of the conference.  They have allowed 47 points or less in every game except for that K-Central game when they gave up 89 in overtime.  It still is early, and they have a long way to go, but being in second place at Christmas break is always a good thing, no matter who you are.

    In the East division Marshall is off to a great start with a 4-1 record and went 2-0 in the past week with wins over rivals Albion and on the road at Coldwater.  They are not scoring many points, getting just over 47 ppg, but it is the defensive side that has been their bright spot giving up just 41 ppg.  They have not allowed over 50 points in any game this season.  Robby Ranville has been the key offensive contributor scoring 20 ppg.  Trevor Travis (10 ppg) and Tony Wimberly (9.5 ppg) have both pitched in plenty as well, as those three are accounting for 83% of the offense at this point.

    A few cancellations made for an uneventful week for some teams.  Loy Norris had their lone game postponed against Battle Creek Central, while Harper Creek had their game with Pennfield called off.

    Stars of the week:

    Quae Furlow, Portage Central

    Furlow has been the main scoring threat this season and he had a great week over this past week.  He averaged 16.5 ppg in two wins over Lakeview and St. Joe.  He scored 21 against the Spartans and added 12 against the Bears.

    Devin Alexander, Benton Harbor

    Benton Harbor played only one game this past week but Alexander made the most of it.  He put up 27 points in a home win against Jackson.  Alexander has scored over 22 ppg this season, but unfortunately his team is off to a 1-4 start.

    Josh Bass, Harper Creek

    Harper Creek is only 2-3 but Bass has been the big spot at this point scoring over 21 ppg.  He poured in 22 points in the Beavers lone game this past week, a 67-55 loss at St. Joe.

    Wolverine:

    It has been a fun first three weeks to watch the Wolverine.  There are clearly plenty of quality teams in the conference, and a lot of those teams got to lock up in early season battles.  It is hard to say what team is the best at this point, but going into Christmas, if I had to say, I might still go with Otsego.  They have played a very tough schedule which included games with Vicksburg, South Haven and Edwardsburg, and have survived to hold a 5-1 record.  Vicksburg has had the toughest schedule so far with games against, arguably, the top three teams in the conference Otsego, Dowagiac and Edwardsburg to go along with games at Paw Paw and Plainwell.  They have survived to go 3-3 with an upset win over Edwardsburg this past week. 

    In the West you still have Edwardsburg who is 5-1 with a win over Otsego.  They have Josh Kozinski who is a D-1 athlete going to Central Michigan, and scoring 22 ppg.  Dowagiac may have had the easiest schedule out of all the top teams so far, but it still included wins against South Haven and Vicksburg.  They have gone undefeated and also have Dontel Highsmith who is leading the conference in scoring.  The Chieftains have scored over 90 points twice this season and lead the conference in scoring at over 77 ppg.

    As you can see it is hard to say who is really the top team in the conference, and it will be a fun conference to watch post-christmas.

    Players of the week:

    Abe Barwegen, Vicksburg

    Barwegen had quite a week scoring the ball as Vicksburg went 1-1, getting an upset win over Edwardsburg and falling to Otsego.  Against the Eddies the Senior went for 24 points and then poured in 28 as Vicksburg nearly pulled off the upset against Otsego.  Barwegen is the leading scorer for the Bulldogs scoring 19 ppg.

    Reid Dugan, Otsego

    The elder of the two Dugan brothers is having a great Senior season and put together another great week leading the Bulldogs to wins over South Haven and Vicksburg.  Dugan averaged 22.5 ppg in the two wins and is scoring 20.7 ppg this season.  He has scored 20 or more points in five out of their six games this season.

    KVA

    It was a light week for the KVA.  Kalamazoo Christian gained another good win by beating Parchment on Tuesday.  It was not looking like a good schedule going into Christmas for the Comets with games against Schoolcraft, Pennfield, Olivet and Parchment, but they have responded to go 3-1.  Nate Niewoonder and Brenden Heidema have been the top scorers this season.  The two of them are providing over 50% of the offense this season.  They have plenty of shooters as well, and that was seen on Tuesday when they hit 10 threes against Parchment.  It is a different Kalamazoo Christian team from the old days.  They very rarely press, there are three Sophomores on the Varsity, and on Tuesday they played zone defense the entire game.  Still the execution on offense is still there.  It is still a lot of the same set plays they have been running for years.  They still show plenty of patience and will work for a good shot on most possessions. 

    The question mark teams in the conference so far have been Hackett and Parchment, as both were expected to have quality squads.  Parchment is now 0-5, and Hackett is just 1-4.  Hackett lost this past week to Constantine, and have also lost to a very down Delton team.  Parchment has their issues, but have also lost to three teams who are at the top half of the conference.  Their schedule after Christmas gets a lot more favorable.  Both teams biggest issue is on the defensive end.  Parchment is allowing over 62 ppg and Hackett sits last in the conference allowing 63 ppg.

    Players of the Week:

    Peyton White, Constantine

    White is now a four year player on varsity for the Falcons and the Senior had a career high on Thursday against Hackett.  He scored 24 points and pulled down 10 rebounds in their 60-57 win.  White is scoring over 17 ppg this season playing in three out of his team’s five games.  Since White rejoined the line-up the Falcons have gone 2-1.

    Ted Rider, Hackett

    Rider had his best game of the season on Wednesday, but it came in a loss to Constantine.  The Senior scored 21 points.  Rider leads the Irish in scoring at close to 12 ppg, and is one of three on the team scoring in double figures.

    SAC

    Three teams in the conference have been overly impressive so far.  Decatur and Watervliet are both undefeated in the South and Saugatuck is 5-1 and undefeated in conference in the North.  They have separated themselves as the top teams going into the break.  Saugatuck pulled out two close road wins this past week, winning at Hartford 66-59 and at Fennville 66-61 in overtime. 

    Decatur beat Gobles 70-63 on Tuesday and had their Friday game postponed.  They are the top scoring team in the conference at almost 70 ppg.  The Ceveren brothers are doing all the damage combining for close to 40 ppg.

    Watervliet beat Bloomingdale on Tuesday and was also postponed on Friday.  They have not been scoring a ton of points, but they also have been one of the better defensive teams in the conference.  They have allowed over 49 points just once and that was in overtime.  It seems like football season all over again, as it is still Travis Bolin and Jake Cowsert leading the way on offense for the Panthers.

    Players of the week:

    Michael Winowiecki, Saugatuck

    It was quite a week for Winowiecki in leading the Indians to wins over Hartford and Fennville.  On Tuesday he dumped 39 points on Hartford and followed that up with 24 points against Fennville to average over 31 ppg for the week.  He is scoring 22.3 ppg this season.

    Tom and Tim Cerven, Decatur

    The brother duo had another big game on Tuesday helping the Raiders to a 70-63 win over Gobles.  Tom scored 25 point, dished out six assists and went 16-17 from the free throw line.  Tim pitched in with a double-double scoring 20 points and pulling down 12 rebounds.  The two are accounting for over half of the points scored by Decatur.

    St. Joe Valley/Cliamx-Scotts

    Mendon and Climax Scotts continue their hot play.  Climax Scotts improved to 5-0 this past week winning two games.  They won at Bronson 61-36 and at Hillsdale Academy 62-46.  Aaron Cook averaged 18 ppg in the two games this past week.  The Panthers are scoring 60.2 ppg and giving up only 37.2 ppg. 

    Mendon played only one game this week but beat Marcellus Howardsville Christian 66-53 and they too are now 5-0.  They are outscoring opponents by an average of 17 per game.  Joe Gales continues to lead the Hornets scoring 16.2 ppg.