Monthly Archives: February, 2017

PREVIEW: Marshall vs Comstock, Harper Creek vs Pennfield in District 35 Semifinals

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Listen live Wednesday from Comstock High School on Michigan Sports Radio to the District 35 girls basketball semifinals of the MHSAA Class B State Tournament.  The evening features defending the state champion Marshall Redhawks (18-2) against the hosting Comstock Colts (18-3), as well as the Pennfield Panthers (13-7) versus the Harper Creek Beavers (11-9)

The second contest of the evening at 7:30 p.m., features the two favorites in the district between the defending champion Redhawks and the hosting Colts, both with 18 wins on the year.    Marshall was placed sixth in the final Associated Press poll of the season, with all but two of their victories by 20+.  They’re on a seven-winning streak, only losing to fourth-ranked Grand Rapids Catholic Central on January 28 and third-ranked Williamston in their December 2 opener.

For Comstock, they bounced back from their one-point season finale defeat to Otsego with a first-round district win Monday over Parchment 47-23.   Their only other losses came to Buchanan (who they downed in their rematch) and Gull Lake.  These teams last faced off in last season’s district tournament, which Marshall won 58-38 in the first win of their 2016 postseason run.

In the first game Wednesday at 6 p.m. with Pennfield and Harper Creek, it’s the third meeting between the crosstown and Interstate 8 Conference rivals.   The Panthers won both meetings in tight contests, 65-63 on the road on January 6, and 45-41 at home on February 10.   Pennfield won four of their last five for a 13-7 overall record, while Harper Creek took three of their last four to finish 11-9.

Listen to both games Wednesday evening on Michigan Sports Radio courtesy of the Slocum Sports Network.   Pennfield against Harper Creek is set for 6 p.m. with Comstock against Marshall tentatively at 7:30.

RECAP: Lowell/Caledonia Drops Kalamazoo United 7-2 in Pre-Regional

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The postseason began and ended Monday evening at Wings West for Kalamazoo United, as they fell 7-2 to Lowell/Caledonia in the MHSAA Division 1 Pre-Regional 5 semifinals.   It avenges last year’s 7-6 Pre-Regional loss for L/C, who moves to 14-10-1.   United finishes at 21-4-1, a disappointing end to the strongest season in program history.

Lowell/Caledonia grabbed the momentum right away, as Nick Vantil tallied the opening goal less than three minutes into the game.  L/C added a shorthanded goal midway through the first by Alex Osborn to carry a 2-0 lead into the first intermission.   United fought back, as Brenden Warner scored on the powerplay only 22 seconds into the second period.   Eddie Heikkila matched it though for L/C with 11:59 remaining, but another Warner powerplay goal with 8:25 in the second gave United some hope.

The momentum would shift drastically when Ethan Pinto scored for Lowell/Caledonia with 71 seconds remaining in the second, giving L/C a 4-2 lead into the break.   Osborn scored his second goal of the contest only two minutes into the third and L/C controlled the game from there, adding goals late by Nolan Winterburn and Austin Whaley.

Lowell/Caledonia moves to the Pre-Regional 5 final Wednesday at Wings West at 6:30 p.m. against East Kentwood (7-16-2).   East Kentwood knocked off Lowell/Caledonia 3-1 in their regular season meeting on December 9.

Listen back to Monday’s broadcast below:

PREVIEW: 5th Meeting Between Mustangs & Huskies Comes in Postseason

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Listen live Tuesday to postseason hockey from Wings West in Kalamazoo as the Portage Central Mustangs and Portage Northern Huskies meet in Pre-Regional #20 in the Division 2 MHSAA State Hockey Tournament.   It’s the fifth time the crosstown rivals will have met this season, although this one means more than the others with the loser seeing their season come to an end.

On the ice, the Mustangs have controlled their meetings.   They won the first contest 6-4 in official league play on December 12.  Five days later, the Mustangs won 4-3 in the Jenison Tournament, but that game later was ruled a forfeit in favor of the Huskies.   The second league game went to Portage Central 6-2 on January 11, then in a consolation game at the SWMHSHL tournament on February 18, the Mustangs were victorious 6-3.     Portage Central also won 4-2 in their Pre-Regional game last season.    Apart for the forfeit, the last Husky victory came over the Mustangs on January 13, 2016.

Overall, Portage Central sits at 8-16-1 with Portage Northern at 7-17.  The winner moves to the Region 10 final Saturday at the Patterson Ice Center in Grand Rapids against either Grand Rapids Christian (15-8-1), Ada Forest Hills Eastern (15-9) or Grand Rapids Kenowa Hills (4-20).    Listen to Tuesday’s game set for 6:30 p.m. live through Michigan Sports Radio or simulcast through the Slocum Sports Network.

PREVIEW: Kalamazoo United Faces Lowell/Caledonia in Pre-Regional

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The postseason begins Monday for high school hockey in Michigan with Kalamazoo United hosting Lowell/Caledonia in the MHSAA Pre-Regional 5 semifinal at Wings West in Kalamazoo.  These teams met in this round last season in a game that United won 7-6

United finished the regular season at 21-3-1, grabbing their first ever Southwest Michigan High School Hockey League (SWMHSHL) regular season and tournament titles.  They’re looking to advance to the regional final for the first time in program history.   United has the best winning percentage within the Division 1 field, however, SWMHSHL teams have struggled at the state tournament level in recent years.  The last time any league team made it to the final eight was in 2009, when both Portage Central and Mattawan did it.

The Hams also are looking to rebuild their momentum with the start of the postseason.  After  winning the SWMHSHL final over Mattawan on February 18, United lost its final two regular season games, 7-5 to Northview and 6-3 to Gabriel Richard.

For Lowell/Caledonia, they went 13-10-1, ending with back-to-back losses to Grand Haven and East Grand Rapids.  Their last playoff victory came in the first round over United 9-3 in 2014.   Like United, L/C hasn’t had much postseason success historically.  Interestingly enough though, of the seven teams within Region 3, L/C and United are the only squads with a winning record on the season.

Listen to Monday’s broadcast from Michigan Sports Radio and simulcast through the Slocum Sports Network.   Puck drop is set for 6:30 p.m.

RECAP: Hackett Boys Win in OT, Irish Girls Fight Back Against Kalamazoo Christian

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The Hackett Catholic Irish basketball teams earned a sweep Friday night over the Kalamazoo Christian Comets, although neither victory came easy.  The boys game was decided in overtime, 52-46, in favor of the Irish, with the girls game ending on a 55-45 final.

The boys game stayed tight throughout the contest.  Hackett scored first and took a 10-6 lead into the second quarter.   The Comets grabbed their first lead early in the second and after four lead changes, the Irish carried a narrow 21-18 advantage into halftime.   Hackett made it 36-29 after three and led by as many as nine in the fourth quarter, but their lead fell with 2:35 remaining after a three-point play by Trey De Jong.   Teddy Oosterbaan tied the game back up at the free throw line, then reclaimed the lead on a bucket after a quick steal.  Drew Scheffers put the score at 44-44 for K-Christian with 35 seconds remaining.   Hackett held for the final possession and missed a three at the buzzer, sending the game to OT.

Seconds into overtime, Cooper Smith put Hackett ahead and they would not lose the lead from there, holding the Comets to only two points in the extra period.  Smith led the Irish with 23 points, followed by 11 from Oosterbaan.  Strong free throw shooting also lifted Hackett, going 19-24 from the line to K-Christian’s 12-18.  Sean Cummings topped the Comets with 10 points.   The Irish boys move to 17-1 overall and 10-1 in Southwestern Athletic Conference Valley Division play, fighting with Schoolcraft (9-1 entering the evening) for the top spot.   The Comets fall to 11-7 overall and 6-5 in the Valley.  It’s the sixth consecutive win for the Irish over the Comets.

It was also the sixth consecutive for the Hackett girls in their 55-45 win over the Comets.  Despite the final, Hackett didn’t lead until Jessie Wenzel put them ahead on the game’s lone lead change early in the fourth quarter.   The Comets led 26-20 at halftime and by as many as 10, but couldn’t hold on in the fourth after a 14-14 finish at the free throw line for Hackett between Sydney Preston and Emily Matthews.   Preston led all players with 17 points with 13 from Matthews.  Haley Balkema scored 16 for the Comets, followed by 10 from Jaxsen Meldrum.

The Hackett girls end the regular season at 14-5 with the Comets ending at 10-10.   They meet again to start the postseason on Monday 5:30 p.m. from Kalamazoo Christian in the first round of District 79.   The boys could potentially meet in the second round of districts in two weeks, but they both still have regular season games ahead.   The Comets host Bangor Tuesday, followed by Lawton at home Thursday.  Hackett hosts Watervliet Tuesday, then ends at Galesburg-Augusta Thursday.

Listen back to Friday’s games below:
BOYS

GIRLS

PREVIEW: Hackett Catholic Hosts Kalamazoo Christian

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Listen live Friday evening on the Slocum Sports Network to boys and girls basketball as the Hackett Catholic Irish host the Kalamazoo Christian Comets.   This late season meeting from the Southwestern Athletic Conference Valley Division serves as a district preview for the girls and a potential district preview for the boys.

In the boys contest, Hackett looks to bounce back after suffering their first loss of the season Tuesday at Schoolcraft.   The Irish are 16-1 overall and tied with Schoolcraft at 9-1 in the Valley division.  The Comets enter at 11-6 and 6-4 in the Valley division, having won their last game over Delton Kellogg.   Last Friday, Kalamazoo Christian very nearly beat Schoolcraft, falling to the Eagles 58-56 at home.  They came up just shy of knocking off Hackett when they hosted them January 20, with the Irish taking a 53-50 win.

It will be the 121st boys basketball meeting between the two schools with Hackett winning the last five meetings.     The boys could meet again in the district 79 semifinals in Bloomingdale on March 8, if the Comets defeat Hartford in their first round playoff game.

Meanwhile, the girls will for sure be meeting in their first round district 79 game on Monday, which could make their regular season finale against each other Friday night interesting.   Hackett moved to 13-5 with their Tuesday win over Schoolcraft and sit second in the Valley Division at 8-2.   Kalamazoo Christian is 10-9 overall and 3-8 against the division, having lost their last two contests to Schoolcraft and Delton Kellogg.  The Comets took Hackett to the limit when they played in January, but fell to the Irish in a defensive affair, 37-32.   As in the boys matchup, the Hackett girls have won the previous five meetings over Kalamazoo Christian.

Listen to Friday’s games live on the Slocum Sports Network with scheduled start times of 6 p.m. for the girls and 7:30 for the boys.

RECAP: Schoolcraft Boys Become First to Knock Off Hackett, Irish Girls Rally

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It was a packed house Tuesday at Schoolcraft High School for big games between the Eagles and Hackett Catholic Irish.  In the boys contest, Schoolcraft ended 2nd-ranked Hackett’s unbeaten season with a 63-47 victory.   In the girls game, Hackett erased a 12-point hole for a 51-38 win.

In the boys game, the Eagles led the entire contest, although they didn’t start to pull away until the second half.  Schoolcraft held a 18-9 lead after the first quarter, a 34-27 advantage at halftime, then a 49-36 lead after three.   The X-factor was Caleb Eustice, who wasn’t available in their January loss at Hackett because of transfer rules.   He led the Eagles with 22 points   Next in line was Max Kulczyk with 14.   Cooper Smith topped the Irish with 18.

It ends a five-game drought for Schoolcraft against Hackett, getting their first boys win since January 31, 2014.   Both teams are 16-1 overall and 9-1 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference Valley Division.  They split the season series with a potential rubber match looming in the regional tournament in a few weeks.

The girls ended up splitting the season series as well, as Hackett avenged an overtime loss on their home floor from January.   Schoolcraft controlled the game early, holding a 12-point lead at one point.   They went into halftime up 28-19.   The Irish responded with a 32-10 second half, starting with an 18-5 third quarter, to pull off the win.

Sydney Preston led Hackett with 19 points, Hope Baldwin added 14.  Both Lydia Goble and Wynn Stitt topped the Eagles with eight.   Both squads sit at 13-5 on the season, Schoolcraft is 8-3 in Valley play with Hackett at 7-3, both sit behind unbeaten Galesburg-Augusta.   Like the boys, these teams could meet again in the regional semifinals.

Hackett hosts Kalamazoo Christian in boys and girls play Friday, which can be heard on the Slocum Sports Network.   Schoolcraft will welcome Delton-Kellogg Friday night.

Listen back to both of Tuesday’s games below:

BOYS

GIRLS

PREVIEW: Schoolcraft Hosts Hackett Catholic in Huge Basketball Showdown

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Listen Tuesday live on the Slocum Sports Network to boys and girls high school basketball as the Schoolcraft Eagles host the Hackett Catholic Irish.  Both boys and girls teams are looking to grab some momentum with a big victory just before the start of the postseason.

On the boys side, Hackett Catholic is shooting for their second consecutive unbeaten regular season.  At 16-0, they’ve put up 80+ points in their last four games and 70+ in their last seven.  In last week’s Associated Press poll, the Irish were placed second best in Class C.   At 9-0 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference’s Valley Division, they could effectively seal the division title with a win over the Eagles, as Schoolcraft is their closest competitor at 8-1.

For the Eagles, they’re 15-1 overall with their lone defeat coming at Hackett, 50-39, on January 10.  Since then, Schoolcraft has won ten straight and in that stretch has outscored opponents by an average of nearly 37 points per game.  Although they’ve been close, the Schoolcraft boys have fallen in the last five meetings against Hackett, last winning on January 31, 2014.

Meanwhile, the Schoolcraft girls edged Hackett in overtime 45-42 in last month’s meeting in Kalamazoo.   The Eagles are 13-4 and are looking to rebuild their momentum after tight losses to start the month against Galesburg-Augusta and Vicksburg.  G-A controls the Valley division at 10-0, followed by Schoolcraft at 8-2 and Hackett at 6-3.   For the Hackett girls, they’re 12-5 overall and like Schoolcraft, lost to strong teams at the start of the month in Buchanan and Comstock.   Both Hackett and Schoolcraft have played great defense over the course of the season, allowing 34.2 and 32.4 per game, respectively.

Listen to both the boys and girls varsity games live Tuesday on the Slocum Sports Network with tip off scheduled for 6 p.m. (girls) and 7:30 p.m. (boys).

RECAP: Kalamazoo United Wins First Ever Tournament Championship

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Kalamazoo United added a Southwest Michigan High School Hockey League (SWMHSHL) tournament championship to their accolades Saturday, defeating last season’s champion Mattawan 3-2.  It’s first ever tournament title for United, added with their first ever regular season crown grabbed earlier this month.

The lone goal of the first period came with 3:02 remaining when Noel Cavey put it in on the powerplay, giving United a 1-0 lead.   Mattawan killed off a five minute boarding major midway through the second period, but right after the penalty, defenseman Eric Smith tallied his first goal of the season for a two-goal United advantage.   That advantage lasted all of seven seconds as Ben Berkowitz took off after the faceoff and buried it to put the score at 2-1 into the second break.

United regained a two-goal lead with 14:48 left in the third period on a score by Dominic Monendo and held the two-goal advantage into the final two minutes.   With the goalie pulled, Ben Berkowitz put the Wildcats back within one with 1:24 remaining.   However, KU goal Mitch Kihm held firm and delivered the tournament title to United.   Jacob Remelius had two assists for United, Jake Kruzich grabbed two assists for Mattawan.

United moves to 21-1-1 overall with Mattawan dropping to 11-11-2.  Both teams have one week of regular season play prior to state tournament play.   United travels to Northview Wednesday night, then hosts a very strong Gabriel Richard squad Saturday at 1:30.   Mattawan ends their regular season Saturday at home at 6 p.m. versus Grandville.

Listen back to the tournament championship below.    In consolation games Saturday, Portage Central beat Portage Northern 6-3 and the Kalamazoo Eagles downed the Southwest Michigan Blades 3-1.

Following the game, season awards were given out with KU well represented.   Cavey and Remelius split the league MVP award with Kihm earning goalie of the year.   Coach of the year went to Tyler Eddy of the Blades.   All-league teams are below:

1st-Team All-League
G- Mitch Kihm (Kalamazoo United)
D- David Kiel (Kalamazoo Eagles)
D- Jacob Remelius (Kalamzoo United)
F- Noel Cavey (Kalamazoo United)
F- Jeff Kirkendall (Mattawan)
F- Max Mones (Portage Central)

2nd-Team All-League
G- Zac Hattan (SWM Blades)
D- Brad Kolinski (Mattawan)
D- Kobe Vincent (Portage Central)
F- Evan Wilson (SWM Blades)
F- Ben Berkowitz (Mattawan)
F- Quentin Cerutti (Kalamazoo United)

RECAP: WMU Stallions Claim Final Home Game of Year Over Oakland

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The Western Michigan Stallions hockey club defeated the Oakland Golden Grizzlies in the final home contest of the season at Wings West Saturday by a final of 7-2.

The game stayed even after the first period at 1-1.   Devin Farkas’s 19th goal of the season gave the Stallions the lead with 11:26 remaining, but Zach Tuchklaper’s response tied it for Oakland with 1:35 in the frame.   The Stallions then used the powerplay to dominate the second period, getting scores from Corey Siwula and Zach Mudge on the advantage, plus an even-strength deflection from Joey Olmsted, for a 4-1 lead after two.

Oakland tried to stay alive, getting back within two on a Michael McKinnon goal with 6:49 remaining.   But Brandon Grillo, Kyle Keeder, and Zachary Roberts would each light the lamp in the final five minutes to ensure an emphatic victory.

The Stallions improve to 17-14-1-1 overall and 5-8-1-0 in Great Lakes Collegiate Hockey League (GLCHL) play.   The win also pushes them to sixth in the standings, ahead of Kent State.   They could finish as high as fifth still with a Saturday win over Oakland and two Rochester College losses to Michigan-Dearborn.    For Oakland,. they remain in eighth at 1-11-2-0 in league play and 5-22-2-1 overall.       The Stallions and Golden Grizzlies end their regular seasons against each other at 8:30 p.m. Saturday at Oakland.

Listen back to Friday’s game below: