High School Basketball Opeing Week Recap
By, Nick Vlietstra
I would have to say the surprise of the first week in the SMAC was the Kalamazoo Central-Portage Central game. I know the Giants are young and would be taking a step back regardless of who the coach is, but going to overtime with Portage Central is a big surprising. This is the type of game that leaves you with big questions on both sides. For the Giants, how did you get down by 23 to the Mustangs when playing at home? For the Mustangs, how did you blow a 23 point fourth quarter lead? I don’t want to take anything away from Portage Central, because they appear as though they have taken a step in the right direction. That being said, I don’t care who you are, and who you are playing. If you have played well enough to be up by 23 in the fourth quarter you can’t lose that game. It had to be a bit eye opener for K-Central, who was that close to a 0-2 start to the season.
On the other side of town Loy Norrix should be feeling good about themselves with a 2-0 start. Their opening win over Harper Creek should come as no surprise, but their Friday night win over Sturgis is a quality win. Bishop Robinson showed up as he should, averaging 24 points in the first two games of the season.
Elsewhere in the East, Gull Lake is not exactly off to the start they were hoping for, dropping their first two games, both being very winnable games. Their game with Lakeview was a little surprising. I guess I can see how Lakeview can win that game, but I was definitely surprised by a 16 point spread.
This week’s big games:
Tuesday: Portage Northern @ Loy Norrix
Friday: Benton Harbor @ Portage Central
Friday: Battle Creek Central @ Gull Lake
I think the start of the season was everything Otsego could hope for. Two easy wins, one over Caledonia, and the other over Comstock. Reid Dugan has been the big man in the middle. The elder of the two Dugans averaged over 20 ppg in the first two games. The youth of their team does not appear to be struggling to find their way either. The three sophomores, A.J. Atwater, Mike Williams and Seth Dugan combined to score 33.5 ppg through the first two games.
Vicksburg has opened the season in a very impressive way. I don’t think anyone would have been surprised, and no one would have blamed them, if they started out 0-2 seeing who was on the schedule (Schoolcraft and Paw Paw). I think they would have been satisfied with a split in those two games, but they started 2-0. I wouldn’t say it is a big shock to see them beat Schoolcraft, but I was definitely surprised by a 10 point win. Their second win over Paw Paw was close, but they pulled it out 53-50. Their scoring has come from three players as Abe Barwegen (17 ppg), Colin McCaw (15.5 ppg) and Grant Johnson (14 ppg) have combined to score close to 80% of the offense in the first two games.
In the West, South Haven and Edwardsburg both sit atop the standings with 2-0 starts. South Haven’s 63-40 win over Berrien Springs was certainly surprising. Edwardsburg has beat White Pigeon and Three Rivers, winning both game by close to 30. The Eddies got 30 points in the win over TR from Josh Kolzinski which included knocking down five three pointers.
Big Games this Week:
Tuesday: Dowagiac @ Vicksburg (Who made this schedule for the Bulldogs? This is a tough way to open a season)
Tuesday: Paw Paw @ South Haven
Tuesday: Otsego @ Edwardsburg
Friday: South Haven @ Dowagiac
Friday: Vicksburg @ Plainwell
I don’t think anyone in the KVA thought it was a great start to the season. On Monday Hackett opened up with a 77-75 loss to Gobles (not taking anything away from the Tigers, but supposedly top tier KVA team should beat most SAC teams). Then on Tuesday Schoolcraft lost by 10 to Vicksburg, Parchment turned the ball over 30 times in losing to Comstock and Hackett lost by 17 to Lawton. Some of those teams bounced back to get conference wins on Friday, as Hackett beat G-A and Schoolcraft took care of Kalamazoo Christian.
Luke Ryskamp has been great through his first two games averaging 21 ppg. He definitely needs some help though, as no one else on the team is getting more than 7 ppg. Pennfield certainly looked good in their season opening win over Parchment as they led by 23 heading into the fourth quarter, and ended up with a 10 point win.
Big Games this Week:
Tuesday: Olivet @ Parchment
Friday: Schoolcraft @ Hackett
Bloomingdale, Decatur, Watervliet and Lawrence are all off to the starts they were hoping for with all three teams opening up at 2-0. In Lawrence, Matt Cammire opened the season in a big way scoring 42 points in the first two games. Gobles has scored a lot of points in two games beating Hackett 77-75 and falling in OT to Saugatuck 73-68. If you look at the scores, you also notice that they have given up a lot of points in their first two games. Fennville has started 1-1, but they did collect a nice conference opening win beating Bangor 50-44.
Big Games this Week:
Tuesday: Lawrence @ Saugatuck
Tuesday: Watervliet @ Bangor
Friday: Fennville @ Gobles
Friday: Bloomingdale @ Saugatuck
St. Joe Valley/Cliamx-Scotts
Mendon, and Climax Scotts are off to good starts. Mendon rolled Constantine (67-37) and Centreville (76-47). Climax Scotts had no trouble in taking down Athens and Colon. White Pigeon is certainly a bit of a surprise to start the year. They have started 1-1, but are having big troubles scoring the ball. They lost to Edwardsburg 65-32 and then needed OT to beat Bronson 37-35. They are scoring just 34.5 ppg through their first two games.
Big Game this week:
Saturday: Albion @ Climax Scotts