Listen live Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. on the Slocum Sports Network as the Hackett Catholic Irish meet the Buckley Bears in boys basketball from Kalamazoo College. These programs combined for 45 victories last season and this game should serve as a playoff-level test to start the season. Located about two-and-a-half hours apart, these schools first became acquainted back on November 1st with Hackett defeating Buckley 3-1 in the Division 4 soccer state semifinal.
Hackett was a Class C quarterfinalist two seasons ago in boys basketball. The Irish went 19-2 last season, eliminated by conference rival Kalamazoo Christian in the district tournament. Hackett returns 10 players from last year’s varsity team, including two guys who averaged double-digit points per game in Cooper Smith and Heath Baldwin. Saturday will be Hackett’s second game of the season, as they open at conference foe Lawton Friday.
Buckley finished last season 26-1, only losing in the Class D state championship game 78-69 to Powers North Central. The Bears return all six players who scored in their first state final appearance. Averaging double-digit points per game last season were Denver Cade, Austin Harris, and Joe Weber. Saturday’s game will be Buckley’s 2017-18 opener.
Listen live to Saturday’s game online on the Slocum Sports Network with tip-off scheduled for 1 p.m. from the Anderson Athletic Center at Kalamazoo College.
For the second time in three seasons, the Hackett Catholic Irish will be playing for a Division 4 boys soccer state championship. Hackett defeated the Buckley Bears 3-1 Wednesday at East Kentwood, getting all three goals from junior forward Max Keenan, giving him 44 total on the season.
Hackett brought the pressure immediately and Keenan earned a penalty kick in the fourth minute, putting it to the right on the ground by goalkeeper Joey Weber. It was the first goal Buckley had allowed in the postseason. In the 14th minute, Keenan got an assist from Aidan Gillig for the 2-0 Irish advantage.
In the 37th minute, Keenan found his way through three blue shirts to earn the hat-trick for a 3-0 lead at halftime, becoming the first team to score three on a Buckley squad which had allowed only 12 goals in 24 other matches. Possession remained in favor of Hackett for the rest of the match with Buckley finally getting a goal on a deflection from Denver Cade in the 89th minute. Unofficially, Irish goalkeeper Joe Carr had four saves with six by Weber for Buckley.
The Bears, eighth in the final Coaches Association poll, finish their program’s strongest ever season with a 20-2-3 record. The Irish, fourth in the final poll, move to 20-1-3 and will play in the championship for the sixth time in program history. They will play fifth-ranked Ann Arbor Greenhills, who knocked out two-time defending champion Genesee Christian 2-0. The Division 4 championship is scheduled for a 3 p.m. kickoff Saturday at Rochester Hills Stoney Creek and can be heard live via the Slocum Sports Network.
Listen back to the semifinal match below:
Listen live online Wednesday at 6 p.m. on the Slocum Sports Network as the Hackett Catholic Irish and Buckley Bears meet in a Division 4 soccer state semifinal from East Kentwood. Hackett is in the final four for the third consecutive season, meanwhile this is the deepest Buckley has ever advanced.
Hackett enters the semifinal with a mark of 19-1-3 and a #4 ranking in the final Division 4 Coaches Association poll. The Irish are the top-ranked team among those in the final four, averaging just over five goals per game and allowing 24 goals in 23 matches. They’ve scored multiple goals in all but three of their matches and have gotten three or more in all but five matches.
Hackett outscored their first four postseason opponents a combined 30-2, including a 6-2 district final win over #17 Kalamazoo Christian and a 8-0 destruction of previously unbeaten Howardsville Christian. The Irish were tested and forced into overtime by #11 Hartford in the Regional final Friday after 80 minutes of scoreless play. Goalkeeper Joe Carr held for an extra 20 minutes and junior Brennan Creek found the net for a 1-0 victory.
Hackett was knocked out in the semifinal last season in a 4-3 overtime thriller to Muskegon Catholic Central. In 2015, the Irish made it to the championship for the first time since 1995, but came up short in overtime 3-2 to Genesee Christian. The Irish have been state champions before, winning four times from 1991-1995. In recent history, the program has won seven consecutive District championships.
Buckley enters the semifinal at 20-1-3 and a #8 ranking in the final poll. The Bears have allowed only one goal in their last 12 matches and have allowed only 12 goals total all season, while averaging 3.75 scored per game. Whereas Hackett has been a yearly soccer power, Buckley’s soccer success is new, with the Bears winning their first ever district crown last season.
The Bears easily dispatched their three district challengers this year, outscoring them 21-0. Waiting for them in the Regional tournament was the daunting duo of #3 Western Michigan Christian and #2 Leland. Their lone loss of the year came to Leland 2-1 in the regular season, although the Bears did get the win back 3-0 two weeks later.
Against WMC, Buckley goalkeeper Joey Weber turned away 25 shots on goal to force penalty kicks after 100 scoreless minutes, then made two shootout saves for the Buckley win. Their Regional final Thursday against Leland had a similar script as Weber made 15 saves to force PKs after 100 scoreless minutes, then made two more shootout saves to punch their ticket to the final four.
Listen live online to Wednesday’s semifinal match on the Slocum Sports Network with kickoff set for 6 p.m. from East Kentwood’s Pat Patterson Field. The winner meets either #5 Ann Arbor Greenhills or #14 Genesee Christian in the championship Saturday with the time and location to be announced.