Greater Kalamazoo Area 2017-18 Boys Basketball Preview

Boys BB
December marks the start of the 2017-18 MHSAA boys basketball season.   This post takes a look at the teams in the greater Kalamazoo area and features teams within the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SAC), Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference (SMAC), Wolverine Conference, Berrien-Cass-St. Joseph (BCS) Red, Southwest 10, and Interstate 8.

(NOTE: Not all teams have rosters and/or statistical information available from the previous season.)

SAC Valley
Schoolcraft 22-2 11-1 Regional Semifinalist
Hackett Catholic 19-2 11-1 Lost in District
Kalamazoo Christian 18-8 7-5 State Quarterfinalist
Delton Kellogg 14-8 6-6 Lost in District
Constantine 6-15 3-9 Lost in District
Galesburg-Augusta 6-17 2-10 Regional Semifinalist
Lawton 6-17 2-10 Lost in District
SAC Lakeshore
Fennville 18-4 11-1 Lost in District
Saugatuck 13-8 8-4 Lost in District
Martin 13-10 8-2 (Central) Lost in District
Coloma 13-9 8-4 Lost in District
Gobles 16-7 7-5 Lost in District
Watervliet 7-15 4-8 Lost in District
Lawrence 0-21 0-10 (Central) Lost in District

Kalamazoo Christian had the deepest postseason run out of the SAC, using a balanced attack and not emphasizing any one shooter.   The Comets graduate four seniors, including leading scorer and first-team SAC Valley Alex Visser and honorable mention Drew Scheffers.   Their other first-teamer returns in Jordan Katje, who averaged a double-double last season and also earned Kalamazoo Gazette second-team.  Also back are six other seniors and one junior with varsity experience.

Hackett Catholic loses four seniors and returns five varsity contributors.   The biggest loss is first-teamer Teddy Oosterbaan and his near double-double per game.  Among those back are first-teamer Cooper Smith and his 13 points per game, plus honorable mention Jacob Niesen and Heath Baldwin

Schoolcraft suffered significant losses, including eight seniors and their top four scoring players.  First-team SAC Valley Ricky Clark and Kalamazoo Gazette Dream Teamer Caleb Eustice, plus honorable mention Max Kulczyk and Jason Feddema will need to be replaced.   Despite this, the Eagles still have solid talent, including five seniors with varsity experience and sophomore Kobe Clark.   Another wild card is Trenton Lomason, a senior transfer who was a big contributor last season at Vicksburg.

Delton Kellogg loses around 75 percent of their 16-17 scoring, needing to replace 20 points per game from second-team Associated Press All-State pick Cogan McCoy.    He and six other seniors leave holes to be filled.  Returning seniors Josh Lyons and Brock Pape will be called upon to contribute significantly.

The one first-team SAC Valley pick yet to be mentioned was Trevor Patterson, who returns for his senior season in 17-18 at Galesburg-Augusta.

Over in the Lakeshore, Fennville must replace their two first-team SAC selections in top-scorer Julian Martinez-Grigg and JP Alfaro.    #2 scorer and Lakeshore honorable mention Austin Lewis is back, he averaged 11 points per game as a junior.  The other Blackhawk honorable mention returns as well in Ben Renkema.

Saugatuck loses second-team All-State Blake Dunn and his impressive 23 points per game, but still have first-team Lakeshore pick Teaque Tiemeyer and his 16 points per game.  Tiemeyer joins seven other Saugatuck players back with varsity experience, including Blake’s younger brother Brad, fresh off All-State football honors.

Martin has the challenge of replacing longtime varsity starters Tanner Curry and Matt MacVean, both first-team Lakeshore selections.  Both Clipper honorable mention players return to the lineup in Carter Hinton and Andrew Boss.

At Coloma, first-team Lakeshore guard Zach Goodline returns, entering his junior season already as the all-time scoring and assist leader at Coloma.   He comes back with help as well with senior honorable mention Lakeshore Levi Wilkens joining him in the backcourt.

Gobles graduated seven seniors, including top-scorer and first-teamer Tyler Hunt and honorable mention Clayton Stapert.  Together, they averaged 28 points and 18 boards per contest.  Two returning seniors will be called on to shoulder the load, Peyton Austin and Tyler Stedman.

Watervliet loses only three seniors and gets back all three of their SAC Lakeshore honorees.   Watervliet’s strengths will be inside.   6’8” Dan Cluster earned first-team and is one of the bigger centers within the SAC.   Honorable mention forwards Sheldon Tobar and Bryant Kieft helped propel the football team to the quarterfinal, with Kieft getting first-team All-State on the gridiron.

Despite their struggles, Lawrence did get three SAC Central honorable mention picks.  Two graduated, Andrew Lowe and Jacob Ghidotti.   Back is Brandon Lopez, who earned the honor last season as a freshman.

Kalamazoo Central 21-4 10-0 State Quarterfinalist
Battle Creek Central 19-4 8-2 Regional Semifinalist
Lakeview 8-15 4-6 Lost in District
Mattawan 7-14 3-7 Lost in District
Gull Lake 6-15 3-7 Lost in District
Loy Norrix 3-18 2-8 Lost in District
Portage Central 17-4 8-0 Lost in District
St. Joseph 12-11 4-4 Lost in District
Portage Northern 9-12 4-4 Lost in District
Lakeshore 7-14 3-5 Lost in District
Niles 6-16 1-7 Lost in District

Kalamazoo Central boasted an impressive 2017 class of seniors continuing their basketball careers at the college level.   Isaiah Livers (now a Michigan Wolverine) earned the Mr. Basketball award as the best player in the state and the Maroon Giants will need to fill his void.   Another tough one to replace will be first-team Gazette and honorable mention All-Stater Rog Stein and his double-double per game.    Four players are back with varsity experience.

Battle Creek Central also loses a very strong senior class, including four members of the Battle Creek Enquirer All-City team (Juan Warren, Jahmiel Wade, Demetrius Craig, Denzell Banks).  They do have a solid post presence back in Orlando Lee, who cracked the Bearcat starting lineup as a sophomore.

Lakeview must replace four-year varsity point guard CJ Foster and leading scorer Jaylon Johnson, plus seven other seniors from the 16-17 squad.

Mattawan looks to have great size back for the new season, including Nolan Foster (6’9”), Jaden Mabin (6’5”) and Chris Becker (6’4”).

Gull Lake loses their lone Enquirer All-Area selection in Sawyer Olsen, plus seven other seniors.

Gone from Loy Norrix is Delano Swift and his 16 points per game.   The Knights also graduated their #2 and #4 scorers from last season, although they do have nine returning players that have seen varsity action.

To the SMAC West, Portage Central lost honorable mention All-State Austin McCullough and his 17 points per game, along with honorable mention Johnny Maier and four other seniors.  Six guys are back from last year’s varsity roster.

St. Joseph brings back a few notable contributors for their senior campaign in Cade Shimulunas, Trevor Dilley, and Ryan Haynes.

Portage Northern only had two seniors on last season’s team, Duane Jackson and Parker Simon.  The Huskies had six players see significant time last season as sophomores or freshmen, including Gazette honorable mention guard Devin Marshall.

Lakeshore will need to replace their top three scorers, Max Gaishin, Lucas Meyer, and Colin Brushwyler.   Like the Huskies though, they had five sophomores and freshmen last year hit the varsity floor.

Wolverine North
South Haven 15-7 7-1 Lost in District
Paw Paw 18-5 6-2 Lost in District
Otsego 11-11 4-4 Lost in District
Plainwell 10-11 3-5 Lost in District
Allegan 2-19 0-8 Lost in District
Wolverine South
Three Rivers 15-8 7-1 Regional Semifinalist
Sturgis 15-6 5-3 Lost in District
Vicksburg 9-12 4-4 Lost in District
Dowagiac 8-13 3-5 Lost in District
Edwardsburg 6-15 1-7 Lost in District

In the North, South Haven loses six seniors, including first-team Wolverine selection Joe Wilkins.  Honorable mention pick Caleb Ford returns with seven other players back with varsity experience.

Paw Paw must replace first-team point guard Trey Brennan, but they return one of the conference’s most dynamic scoring threats in Luke Toliver.  He grabbed first-team Wolverine and Gazette Dream Team with 21 points and eight rebounds per game.   Paw Paw loses six other seniors and brings back four players with varsity minutes.

Otsego graduated first-team Wolverine Bill Woodhams and honorable mention Tyler Rayman, plus five other seniors.   Second-team pick Zak Lucas leads six players returning from the varsity team.

Plainwell could be a significant threat, bringing back four of their top five scorers from last season.   First-teamer Luke Morrell and second-teamer Evan Finch combined for around 33 points per game.   They do lose second-team point guard Ben Gibson, but have Zakary Termeer, second in assists last season, to take his place.

Allegan’s lone All-Wolverine pick, Caleb DeKryger, returns this season for the Tigers.

To the South, Three Rivers lost eight seniors, most notably second-team Wolverine Carson Charvat and honorable mention Eric Johnson.   However, the Wildcats did have a few underclassmen with starts in 16-17, including first-team Wolverine Tirrell Hausmanis and honorable mention Jalen Heivilin.   Gavin Charvat and Jensin Blyly also were significant contributors who return.

Sturgis has to replace first-teamer Matt Polzin and honorable mention Brandon Wetzel.   Their other honorable mention pick, Brecken Stewart, leads those back for the 17-18 campaign.

Vicksburg graduated 20 points and nine boards per game from honorable mention All-State Deondre Lovell.   The Bulldogs also need to replace second-team Wolverine Blake Rankin, honorable mention Adam Grabowski, plus notable contributors Brenden Lovell and Trenton Lomason.

Dowagiac’s first-team Wolverine pick Adrien Bucha-Moore is gone, along with honorable mention Jayden Smith.   Two honorable mentions are back in Jamin Hunt and Demetrius Lanier, with Lanier getting the honor as a freshman last season.

Edwardsburg only saw one All-Wolverine selection in 16-17 and must replace him in second-teamer Adam Kozinski.

Brandywine 19-3 8-1 Lost in District
Comstock 9-12 6-3 Lost in District
Berrien Springs 11-11 6-4 Lost in District
Buchanan 11-10 5-5 Lost in District
Bridgman 7-15 3-7 Lost in District
Parchment 4-17 1-9 Lost in District

Brandywine loses honorable mention All-State point guard Hunter Slaughter from their 16-17 team.    They also lose guard Brady Duval, but notably have post presence Jaden Croom back for his junior campaign.

Comstock must fill a huge hole with the graduation of Tyrese Gardner, who earned first-team All-State on 20.8 points and 10.3 rebounds per game.

Buchanan loses five seniors and returns six players with varsity experience.   At Bridgman, six seniors are gone and eight others return.

Parchment brings back almost their entire squad, graduating only two seniors.  Darrion Turner, Ontayveon Fry, and Garrett Stutz are among the returners who had varsity starts last season.

Interstate 8
Parma Western 16-5 11-3 Lost in District
Marshall 15-6 11-3 Lost in District
Coldwater 15-7 10-4 Lost in District
Pennfield 14-8 8-6 Lost in District
Harper Creek 15-9 8-6 Lost in District
Jackson Northwest 4-17 3-11 Lost in District
Lumen Christi 3-18 3-11 Lost in District
Hastings 5-17 2-12 Lost in District

Western brings back forward Steele Fortress, who got honorable mention All-State and just earned Jackson Citizen Patriot football player of the year.    Fortress enters his senior season alongside fellow starting forward Desmond Price.

Marshall loses point guard Marcus Waters, a Battle Creek Enqurier All-Area selection.   Their other All-Area pick and all-conference selection Jeremy Luciani returns, he averaged 14 points per game for the Redhawks last season as a sophomore.   His twin brother Jack also comes back as honorable mention Interstate 8.

Coldwater was led last season by honorable mention All-State pick Gage McGuire, who led the team in both points per game (16.6) and rebounds per game (8.8) as a sophomore.   He joins seven returning players with six seniors gone.

Pennfield graduates all three of their Enquirer All-City selections in Ron Jamierson, Francois Jamierson, and Deveaire Todd.  Together, they averaged around 46 points per game for the Panthers.  Although certainly tough to replace, those three were the squad’s only seniors last season.

Harper Creek also saw three All-City selections with two gone, leading scorer Jeremiah Davis and JaCory McNutt.  Davis also earned honorable mention All-State with just under 19 points per game.   Their third All-City choice returns in Dom Gibson, along with starter Jon Taylor.

Southwest 10
Cassopolis 18-5 Regional Semifinalist
Bloomingdale 14-7 Lost in District
Centreville 14-7 Lost in District
Marcellus 12-11 Regional Semifinalist
Mendon 10-12 Lost in District
Eau Claire 9-12 Lost in District
Hartford 9-12 Lost in District
Decatur 6-15 Lost in District
White Pigeon 3-18 Lost in District
Bangor 0-21 Lost in District

Although Cassopolis loses 13 points per game from Shane Los, the Rangers have nearly 40 points per game returning with junior Tyrese Hunt-Thompson (BCS-Blue MVP) and seniors Kiambu Gary and Xander Smith.  Seven other players come back with varsity experience, making Cassopolis the favorite in the Southwest 10’s first basketball season.

Bloomingdale has big shoes to fill with the graduation of honorable mention all-state Zaquarius Jeffries, who posted 20 points, nine rebounds, and four blocks per game.   The Cardinals do return first-team SAC Central selection Karl Butler and honorable mention Michael Ellis.

Centreville graduated first-team BCS Blue Coletin Gascho and honorable mention Tyler Carpenter.  Back is first-team BCS Blue Hayden Stauffer for his senior season.

Despite losing six seniors, Marcellus brings back most of their starting lineup for 17-18.  Gone is first-team SAC Central Brandon Clark, but back are first-teamer Trevor Henry, and honorable mentions Eli Robinson and Jack Sumners.

Five seniors are gone for Mendon, but the top three scorers from last season are back for the Hornets.  Lukas Crotser, Hunter Lovell, and Keaton Crotser combined for around 29 points and 17 rebounds per game last season.

Hartford’s lone SAC Lakeshore first team selection graduated in Austin Nelson.   Both of their honorable mentions return, William Martinez and Garrod Johnson.

Decatur’s first-team SAC Central pick Erik Mroczek and honorable mention Matthew Stambek both return for the Raiders.

The first MHSAA varsity boys basketball contests begin December 4.   Make sure to follow the Slocum Sports Network for girls and boys basketball broadcasts in the greater Kalamazoo area throughout 2017-18.   For the girls season preview, click here.

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