Happy New Year! The one-year anniversary of the Slocum Sports Network is here and with it comes significant changes in the New Year as well.
Moving forward, my live broadcasts and the written content I produce will be over at JoeInsider.com. Many of you may know the site for its extensive coverage of teams/schools in St. Joseph County since 2013. The site is expanding in 2018 to include Kalamazoo County with the help of myself and others.
I will continue to broadcast events frequently, as I have with the Slocum Sports Network. The Slocum Sports Network Facebook page and my Twitter @JordanSlocum will be used to specifically highlight the games I’ll be broadcasting and covering. I also encourage everyone to follow @JoeInsiderSports on Facebook and other social media outlets for news/video/photos/etc throughout the area.
I want to thank all of my supporters, as well as the schools, coaches, and administrators of the area schools for all of their help over this last year. It is gratifying to know I made the right choice in coming to the Kalamazoo area and taking the big leap to start the Slocum Sports Network one year ago. This is another big leap in linking up with JoeInsider, but I am optimistic that great things are ahead and that the greater Kalamazoo area will get the extensive local sports content it deserves and needs.
The Otsego boys basketball team won at Marshall 80-60 and the Marshall girls earned a 54-24 victory Thursday. The Bulldog boys were an outstanding 39-44 from the free throw line, allowing them to pull away in a foul-infested fourth quarter and give Marshall its first loss. Meanwhile, the Redhawk girls were dominant throughout.
Neither team had a decisive advantage in the first half, with the largest lead staying within two possessions. The explosive Otsego offense, averaging 72.6 points per game coming in, had to find other scorers as they were without leading-scorer Zak Lukas. Marshall held a 14-13 lead entering the second quarter and were ahead by five entering the final three minutes of the second. However, the Bulldogs took a 31-28 lead into halftime, getting a three-pointer from Will Eldred in the closing seconds after the shot bounced high off the rim.
Otsego never surrendered the lead in the second half, although a tight third quarter only pushed the lead to 49-43. Fouls picked up significantly in the fourth quarter, including four Marshall technical fouls. The turning point came midway through the frame as a shooting foul on Jack Luciani also prompted technicals after the play from his brother Jeremy and Marshall head coach Doug Riegel.
Charles Woodhams would make all six free throw attempts, pushing the Bulldogs ahead by double-digits. He would make four more on later technicals and finish with a 14-14 mark at the line, getting 23 total points. Eldred was also flawless at the foul line, his 12-12 pushed him to 18 points. Jack Luciani topped Marshall with 18.
Both boys squads move to 5-1 following the game. It was the first time in their three late-December meetings that the road team was the victor. The Bulldogs return to play on January 9 at Edwardsburg, while Marshall travels to Jackson Lumen Christi on January 5.
Marshall led almost all of the girls game. Otsego’s girls were also missing a key cog with an injury to Grace VerHage. The Redhawks started with a 4-0 run, which Otsego matched. From there, Marshall finished the first quarter with a 13-3 advantage and built up a 39-17 score by halftime. Morgan Tatrow topped Marshall with 16 points. Nine players scored for the Redhawks. Mattison Rayman was Otsego’s top scorer with six.
The Marshall girls move to 3-4 with the win and drop Otsego to 5-3. The Redhawks have now beaten the Bulldogs five times in three seasons. Marshall travels to Jackson Lumen Christi on January 5 with Otsego hosting Edwardsburg on January 9.
Listen back to Thursday’s games below:
Listen live Thursday evening on the Slocum Sports Network to boys and girls varsity basketball between the Marshall Redhawks and Otsego Bulldogs. The girls varsity is set for around 6 p.m. with the boys around 7:30 p.m. It’s the third consecutive season that these schools will be meeting in late December.
In the boys contest, Marshall enters the boys game at 5-0, scoring 60 points per game and allowing 45.5. Otsego sits at 4-1 with an impressive 72.6 points per game, while allowing 61.2 per contest. Last season at Otsego, the Bulldog boys grabbed a 69-50 win. Two seasons ago at Marshall, the Redhawks won 71-40.
The Otsego girls enter Thursday at 5-2, scoring 51.8 points per game and allowing 35.1. Marshall is only 2-4, but they’ve had an incredibly strong schedule with a combined record at 34-3. The Redhawks have scored 35.5 points per game and allowed 41.6 thus far. Marshall is 4-0 against Otsego over the last two seasons, winning both regular season meetings and two Regional semifinal games.
Listen live to Thursday’s games online on the Slocum Sports Network. The girls as set for around 6 p.m. with the boys around 7:30 p.m.
Portage Central grabbed a varsity basketball sweep in their final action before the holiday break Thursday, defeating Paw Paw 59-44 in boys play and 56-27 in the girls game. In the boys contest, a 14-point fourth quarter from junior Jason Mih allowed the Mustangs to pull ahead after a back-and-forth affair. In the girls game, a 25-2 second quarter put the game out of reach.
Paw Paw hit the opening basket in the boys game and had their biggest lead of the game at the end of the first quarter, up 13-6. They stayed ahead until three minutes were left in the second quarter. After trading the lead, Portage Central tied the game at 25 going into the half with a no-look Griffin Baker pass setting up a triple from Zach Bumgarner.
The game stayed within two possessions for the entire third quarter, with PC holding a 38-34 advantage heading into the fourth. Then, Jason Mih came alive and delivered a 14-point quarter, including four consecutive threes, to gave Portage Central the final edge.
Mih finished with a team-high 20 points. Paw Paw’s Luke Toliver posted 25 points. The Portage Central boys improve to 3-1 with the victory and are off until January 9 at home against Lakeview. Paw Paw falls to 2-2 and hosts South Haven Friday night.
Neither team had a decisive advantage in the first quarter of the girls game, as Portage Central led 10-7 after one. The Mustangs were dominant in the second and third quarters, outscoring Paw Paw 35-2. Although Paw Paw won the fourth quarter 18-11, the hole was far too deep to climb out of.
Kayla Mathieu and Abby Long each scored 19 points for the Mustangs. Paw Paw got 14 points from Kiarra Herson. Portage Central moves to 4-2 and travels to Lakeview on January 9 for their next game. Paw Paw drops to 1-5 and hosts South Haven Friday.
Listen back to Thursday’s games below:
PORTAGE CENTRAL BOYS SCORING: Jason Mih 20, Jack Juday 9, Griffin Baker 8, Luke Leto 7, Max Godsil 6, Eli Potts 5, Zach Bumgarner 3, Max Longman 1
PAW PAW BOYS SCORING: Luke Toliver 25, Karsen Barnhart 5, Matt Lehto 4, Hayden Beck 4, Jakob Rickli 3, Ryan Brennan 3.
PORTAGE CENTRAL GIRLS SCORING: Kayla Mathieu 19, Abby Long 19, Annemarie Stacey 9, Kaitlyn Brannstrom 5, Meg Niedzwiecki 2, Jessica Roth 2
PAW PAW GIRLS SCORING: Kiarra Herson 14, Emma Johnson 5, Kierra Krogel 2, Anna Vavra 2, Anna Castelluccio 2, Megan Huggett 2
The Blades of Southwest Michigan and Portage Northern Huskies will enter 2018 at the top of the SWMHSHL standings off of Wednesday’s victories at Wings West. The Huskies won 4-3 in overtime against Kalamazoo United and the Blades defeated the Kalamazoo Eagles 5-0.
Although Portage Northern dominated the shots on goal 15-5, Kalamazoo United had the first period’s lone goal. With 11:28 remaining, Brenden Warner scored seven seconds into a powerplay. With 12:35 to go in the second, Will Todd evened the game for the Huskies and less than a minute later, Quentin Roseboom gave them the lead. United evened the game at 2-2 by the end of the period on a four-on-three powerplay score by Dominic Monendo.
United went back ahead with 13:58 on their third powerplay goal, this time from Hunter Laurin. They had a chance to potentially put the game away with about four minutes remaining on a penalty shot, but Warner’s attempt went wide. The Huskies were able to tie it up with 2:03 remaining on Todd’s second goal, forcing overtime. 40 seconds into OT, Roseboom won it for the Huskies.
The win puts Portage Northern into second in the SWMHSHL standings at 3-1-0 and moves them to 4-7-0 overall. The Huskies are off until they play the Blades in for first place on Wednesday, January 3. United falls to 1-6-0 overall and 1-2-0 in league play. They travel to Eastside Saturday and host Lakeshore/St. Joseph the following Saturday.
After an even and scoreless first period, the Blades dominated the shots on goal 27-6 in the second. Eagle goalie Drake Witt turned away 26, but the Blades finally beat him with 3:58 remaining on a powerplay score by Jaxon Dobrolowski. The flood gates opened in the third period with one goal from Chase Stenger and three by Cole Shafer. Blade goalie Zac Hattan was credited with 20 saves in the shutout.
The Blades move to 11-4-0 overall and remain unbeaten in league play at 4-0-0. They get right back at it Thursday hosting Kenowa Hills, then Adams and Reeths-Puffer the following weekend. The Eagles fall to 3-7-0 overall and 1-4-0 in the SWMHSHL. They travel to Jackson Saturday.
Listen back to Wednesday’s games below:
PORTAGE NORTHERN VS UNITED – BOX SCORE.
BLADES VS EAGLES – BOX SCORE.
Listen live online Thursday evening on the Slocum Sports Network with Portage Central playing Paw Paw in boys and girls varsity basketball. The girls game is scheduled for around a 5:45 p.m. start with the boys around 7:15 p.m.
It’s the second consecutive year these schools have met in late December, meeting this season in Portage after playing last season at Paw Paw. Last year, the Paw Paw boys were 47-43 winners and the Portage Central girls were 43-29 victors. These schools also met two seasons ago in boys play, won 57-32 by the Mustangs.
Both boys teams enter Tuesday at 2-1 and both teams fell in their opener to Mattawan, 55-54 for Paw Paw and 53-35 for PC. Last week, Portage Central defeated Niles 63-52, then topped Harper Creek 55-32 Tuesday. Paw Paw has wins over Wolverine Conference foes Vicksburg (79-61) and Plainwell (65-57).
The Portage Central girls sit at 3-2. They dropped their opener 49-12 to Coldwater, then got wins over Lakeshore (38-22), Mattawan (40-34), and Niles (32-25). They fell Tuesday 36-32 at Harper Creek. Paw Paw has a 1-4 overall mark with a win over Vicksburg (44-41) and losses to Lakeshore (49-32), Dowagiac (47-42), Mattawan (52-29), and Plainwell (46-24).
Listen live to Thursday’s games online live on the Slocum Sports Network with the girls tipping around 5:45 p.m. and the boys around 7:15 p.m.
The Kalamazoo Christian Comets scored a big SAC Valley division victory Tuesday, winning at Schoolcraft 63-56. The win keeps the Comets unbeaten entering the holiday break at 4-0 and drops the Eagles to 2-1. It was the first loss for Schoolcraft on their home floor since the Comets beat them on February 19, 2016.
K-Christian’s John Cramer opened the game with a three-pointer, but Schoolcraft answered with a 10-0 run, eight of the points coming from Kobe Clark. The Comets got back within two at the end of the quarter, 12-10, but didn’t reclaim the lead until about three minutes were left in the second quarter. K-Christian took a 23-21 advantage into halftime and never surrendered the lead, although the Eagles did tie the game a few times in the second half.
Both teams had their top scorers held in check in the first half, as K-Christian’s Jordan Katje was limited to four and Schoolcraft’s Trenton Lomason had zero. Both guys were key factors in the second half, finishing in the double-digits by the end of the night.
The Eagles were back within one at the end of the third quarter, 39-38. However, they also entered the fourth quarter with seven fouls. Despite struggling in their first three games at the foul line, the Comets went a solid 17-25, including an 8-10 mark for Sean Cummings and a 6-8 mark for Colin Sikkenga. In the final minute, Katje had the final dagger with a two-handed slam, drawing a huge roar from the visiting fans.
Sikkenga was the leading scorer for the Comets with 17, followed by 16 from Katje and Cummings. Clark topped Schoolcraft with 16, followed by 12 from Lomason and 11 by Jacob Huysken.
The Comets are off until the new year, traveling to Galesburg-Augusta on January 5. The Eagles compete once more in 2017, against Jackson on December 28 as part of the Chuck Turner Classic at Battle Creek Central.
Listen back to Tuesday’s game below:
KALAMAZOO CHRISTIAN SCORING: Colin Sikkenga 17, Jordan Katje 16, Sean Cummings 16, Noah De Jong 7, Adam Ritsema 4, John Cramer 3
SCHOOLCRAFT SCORING: Kobe Clark 16, Trenton Lomason 12, Jakob Huysken 11, Brice Walther 6, Bryce VanderWiere 6, Riley Piper 5.
Listen live online Wednesday on the Slocum Sports Network to a high school hockey doubleheader from Wings West in Kalamazoo. Game one at 5:30 p.m. has Kalamazoo United against Portage Northern. Game two around 7:45 p.m. sees the Blades of Southwest Michigan against the Kalamazoo Eagles. It is the final SWMHSHL doubleheader prior to the end of 2017.
Portage Northern is 2-1-0 in the league, tied for second with Mattawan, and 3-7-0 overall. The Huskies hold league wins over the Eagles and Portage Central, with their loss to Mattawan. Kalamazoo United is fourth in the league at 1-1-0 with a win over the Eagles and a loss to the Blades. United is 1-5-0 overall, most recently falling to Division 1 #9 Troy 6-5. United won both meetings against Portage Northern last season (6-3, 7-3).
The Blades sit at the top of the league standings at 3-0-0 on wins against Mattawan, United, and Portage Central. They’re 10-4-0 overall with the Eagles at 3-6-0 by comparison. The Eagles are fifth in the SWMHSHL at 1-3-0, getting the first win last week over Portage Central. The Eagles won 3-1 in their tournament meeting last season over the Blades, with the teams splitting their regular season games.
Listen live online Wednesday to both games on the Slocum Sports Network. United/Portage Northern is set for 5:30 p.m. with the Blades/Eagles around 7:45 p.m.
After dropping two out of their last three games, the Kalamazoo Cougars obtained a much-needed win against Big Rapids on Friday. The Cougars shook off a sluggish start to the game and beat Big Rapids 61-47, despite playing without two of their starters. Senior point guard Isaac Geiger was absent due to family leave, while junior post Mike Janik had to sit due to back spasms.
The Cougars were carried by the outstanding play of freshman guard Logan Greer, who filled in for Geiger as the point guard, and eighth-grade wing Ty Rykse. Greer scored a career-high 12 points, while Rykse poured in a career-high 23. Rykse came into the game averaging 7.4 points per game. The other significant scoring came from Pipo Hofstra (10) and Joshua McDonald (11), whose scoring was consistent with their season averages (12.8 and 11.3, respectively).
Big Rapids jumped out to an early lead to start the game as the Cougars had a difficult time guarding Joshua Kaufman, who scored 11 points in the first quarter and finished with 26 for the game. However, the Cougars climbed back into the game by making five threes in the second quarter, including a buzzer-beater by McDonald to give the Cougars much-needed momentum and a 34-23 lead going into halftime.
Their hot shooting from the perimeter continued in the third quarter, as Rykse and Greer made clutch threes to give the Cougars a 54-35 lead going into the final quarter. The Cougars’ bench withstood Big Rapids’ desperate press and preserved the lead for the rest of the game.
With the win, the Cougars improved to 7-4 on the season. They face the Holland Wave at home on Tuesday, December 19th, followed by an away game against the St. John’s Warriors on December 21st. The Cougars are looking to finish the first semester with two wins before they have a break from games over the holidays.
Listen live online Tuesday evening around 7 p.m. on the Slocum Sports Network to boys basketball with the Schoolcraft Eagles against the Kalamazoo Christian Comets. It will be their first meeting on the hardwood since last season’s regional semifinal, won 53-47 in overtime by the Comets. Schoolcraft won both of the regular season contests over K-Christian last season, 72-46 and 58-56.
The SAC Valley rivals are both unbeaten thus far, joining 4-0 Hackett Catholic at the top of the loaded division. Kalamazoo Christian is 3-0 with wins over Bloomingdale (53-41), Saugatuck (61-48), and Constantine (57-24). Schoolcraft is 2-0 with victories against Delton Kellogg (71-33) and Lawton (72-24).
Listen live to Tuesday’s game online on the Slocum Sports Network with tip-off around 7 p.m., pending the JV result.