Listen live online Friday on the Slocum Sports Network to boys and girls varsity basketball as the Schoolcraft Eagles host the Delton Kellogg Panthers. On both sides, it is the first test of the season within the always strong Southwestern Athletic Conference (SAC) Valley division. The girls varsity is scheduled for a tip-off around 6 p.m. with the boys to follow around 7:30 p.m.
Both girls teams are unbeaten on the young season with Schoolcraft at 3-0 and Delton Kellogg at 2-0. For the Eagles, they’ve won their games by 18, 18, and 19, trying to build off the 20-6 state quarterfinal run of last season. Delton Kellogg took their opening games by 25 and 19. Although the Panther girls were 8-13 last season, each of their all-SAC selections from last season return.
On the boys side, Delton Kellogg is 0-1, dropping their opener 64-39 Tuesday against a very strong Wyoming Kelloggsville team. For Schoolcraft, Friday’s game will be their debut. Both teams will need to replace more than two-thirds of their scoring output from last season. The Panthers finished 14-8 in 2016-17, the Eagles went 22-2.
The Schoolcraft boys and girls both swept Delton Kellogg last season. The Eagle boys rolled the Panthers 88-48 the first time, followed by a 69-29 score in the rematch. The girls saw a 62-31 Schoolcraft win in game one and a 48-30 score in game two. Delton Kellogg last beat Schoolcraft in girls play on February 17, 2015. For the boys, Schoolcraft has won 19 consecutive meetings according to scores available back to the 2008-09 campaign.
The Gobles girls basketball team spoiled Hackett Catholic’s home opener Friday, using a 12-1 fourth quarter to secure a 36-23 Tiger victory. Neither team led by more than one possession in the first half, with Gobles holding two point leads at the end of the first, second, and third quarters. The Tigers had a 14-12 advantage at halftime and a 24-22 lead entering the fourth quarter.
The Tigers built the lead to 28-22 midway through the fourth quarter. Gobles’ 2-3 zone defense was nearly impenetrable in the fourth, only allowing one point on a free throw in the final minute. Maddy Tiller topped Gobles with 16 points, all on two-point field goals. The Tigers limited Hackett’s Syndey Preston, who averaged around 16 per game last season, to a team-high of eight.
Gobles moves to 1-1 and has their home debut Tuesday against South Haven. Hackett begins 0-1 with a trip to Lawton ahead next Friday. Listen back to Friday’s game below:
Gobles scoring: Maddy Tiller 16, Kylee Mandigo 7, Libbee Nason 4, Emily Lopez 3, Tatum Miller 2, Zoey Allen 2, Kelsie Martin 2.
Hackett scoring: Sydney Preston 8, Annie Housler 6, Savannah Madden 4, Bianca Cronen 2, Emily Wheaton 2, Natalie Toweson 1.
Listen live online Friday around 7:30 p.m. on the Slocum Sports Network to girls basketball as the Hackett Catholic Irish host the Gobles Tigers. It will be the season opener for Hackett and the second game of the year for Gobles, who dropped their opener 41-34 at Allegan Tuesday.
Both squads are part of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SAC), although in different divisions. Both are also within the same district, with Hackett winning last season’s lone meeting in the district tournament, 40-22. Prior to that, Gobles held a five-game winning streak over Hackett. They didn’t meet two seasons ago. Three seasons ago, Gobles won 41-25 in a district meeting and 50-33 in the regular season.
Gobles finished 16-5 last season and graduated Hailey Baxter, who averaged a double-double per game. However, Baxter was the lone Tiger senior, meaning everyone else returns. Hackett went 18-6 and most notably lost All-SAC Valley selection Hope Baldwin. Their top two scorers from last season are back in Sydney Preston and Savannah Madden.
Listen live to Friday’s game online on the Slocum Sports Network with tip-off around 7:30 p.m, pending the JV result.
The Comstock Colts started the 2017-18 girls basketball season with a win on their home court Tuesday, defeating the Vicksburg Bulldogs 58-39. Vicksburg had the game’s first bucket, but Comstock responded with a three-pointer and held the lead for the rest of the contest.
The Colts started with a 14-4 run, although their lead shrank to 17-10 after the first quarter. Comstock led by as many as 11 in the second half, but numerous Colt fouls sent Vicksburg to the line, allowing them to get back within six by halftime, 26-20. Comstock cleaned up their defense in the second half, fouling only twice, allowing them to assume control the rest of the way.
Comstock’s top scorers were Daisy Ansel with 16 and Ahkyla Blakely with 15. Vicksburg’s Hannah Vallier led all players with 18 points, including a 6-6 mark at the foul line.
The Colts stay at home for their next contest on Friday against Niles Brandywine. The Bulldogs continue their opening road trip, heading to league-foe Three Rivers Friday. Listen back to Tuesday’s game below:
Listen live online Tuesday around 6:30 p.m. on the Slocum Sports Network as the Comstock Colts host the Vicksburg Bulldogs to begin the 2017-18 girls basketball season. It is the third consecutive season-opening meeting between the former Wolverine Conference rivals.
Comstock finished last season at 18-4, earning their first conference championship since joining the Berrien-St. Joseph-Cass (BCS) conference and their first girls basketball title in any league since 1992. The Colts return their top-five scorers from last season, including fourth-team All-State selection Daisy Ansel and second-team Kalamazoo Gazette Ahkyla Blakely.
Vicksburg ended last season at 10-11, second in the Wolverine Conference South division at 5-3. After a 3-8 start, the Bulldogs hit their stride in the second half of the season, finishing 7-3 in their final 10 games. Vicksburg lost seven seniors and both of their All-Wolverine selections, 1st-Teamer Layna Steele and honorable mention Kennedy Nabozny.
Comstock won last season’s meeting on the road, 51-43. Two seasons ago at Comstock, the Colts were 57-38 winners. They didn’t meet three seasons ago. As conference and division rivals four seasons ago, they split their two contests with the home team winning both times. Vicksburg’s last win over Comstock was 44-39 on December 3, 2014. Their last win at Comstock came January 26, 2012.
Listen live to Tuesday’s opener online on the Slocum Sports Network with tip-off set for around 6:30 p.m. from Comstock High School.
The Kalamazoo Cougars basketball program won both parts of their first home varsity doubleheader Tuesday evening, earning a 61-57 boys victory and a 61-9 girls win over the Wyoming Warriors. While the girls game was never in question, the Cougar boys had to erase a double-digit hole to remain unbeaten on the young season.
The first quarter saw three lead changes, ending with the Warriors holding a 15-11 lead. Wyoming remained ahead for the entire second quarter, using early Cougar foul troubles to lead by as many as 11 points. The Cougars finished the second on a 13-4 run, trailing 30-26 at the break.
Kalamazoo opened the third quarter on an 8-0 run to take the lead and held a 44-39 advantage after the third. They traded the lead in the fourth quarter, but Wyoming soon found themselves without two starters, one to injury and one fouled out. Down two in the final seconds, the Warriors missed a three and were forced to foul with four seconds remaining. Cougar point guard Isaac Geiger buried both of his free throws to put the game out of reach.
Geiger and Josh McDonald were big at the free throw line, going a combined 12-14. McDonald led the team with 20 points, followed by 14 from Pipo Hofstra and 12 from Geiger. Wyoming was led by 19 from Wil Tiesma, trailed by 12 from Jake Minard. The Cougar boys move to 3-0 overall with Wyoming at 0-2.
Meanwhile, the girls game was the first action of the year for both squads. Kalamazoo was dominant from the very beginning, holding a 25-3 lead after the first quarter and a 39-7 advantage at halftime. Lauren Tuin topped Kalamazoo with 16 points, followed by Hannah Hofstra with 11. All nine players that dressed for the Cougars scored at least two points.
Kalamazoo returns home next Tuesday for a varsity doubleheader against the Grand Rapids Grizzlies. Wyoming is off until Thursday, November 30 with the boys hosting St. Johns and the girls hosting Wellspring Preparatory.
Listen back to Tuesday’s games below:
The 2017-18 MHSAA girls basketball regular season kicks off in the final week of November. 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.)
|Galesburg-Augusta||17-4||12-0||Lost in District|
|Hackett Catholic||18-6||9-3||Regional Semifinalist|
|Constantine||11-11||4-8||Lost in District|
|Kalamazoo Christian||10-11||3-9||Lost in District|
|Delton Kellogg||8-13||3-9||Lost in District|
|Lawton||9-13||2-10||Lost in District Final|
|Watervliet||16-5||11-1||Lost in District|
|Gobles||16-5||11-1||Lost in District|
|Coloma||10-11||7-5||Lost in District|
|Lawrence||12-10||7-3 (Central)||Lost in District|
|Martin||8-12||6-4 (Central)||Lost in District|
|Saugatuck||7-14||4-8||Lost in District|
|Fennville||3-16||0-11||Lost in District|
Of the teams in the SAC, Schoolcraft made the deepest postseason run of 2016-17. The Eagles graduated five seniors, but all three of their all-conference selections return. Lydia Goble (All-Valley) and Kennedy Leighton (Honorable Mention) enter their senior seasons, along with sophomore All-Valley pick Gabi Saxman.
Valley champ Galesburg-Augusta will be seeing a number of new faces, losing six seniors including honorable mention All-State forward Madelyne Standley. The Rams bring back a honorable mention SAC selection in junior guard Sam Verburg.
Hackett Catholic had three All-Valley selections last season with only one gone in MHSAA Scholar-Athlete winner Hope Baldwin. Returning are All-State honorable mention Sydney Preston and Savannah Madden, their top two scorers. Preston earned Kalamazoo Gazette Dream Team 1st-Team, averaging 15.8 points per game.
Don’t be surprised to see Delton Kellogg make some noise in the strong Valley division as well. Their three honorable mention SAC selections from last year return with seniors Sam Mohn and Lilly Howard, plus junior Lexi Parsons. Mohn set the school single-season record for assists last season and Parsons averaged a double-double early last season.
Over in the Lakeshore, Watervliet loses both All-Lakeshore selections from last year (Logan Mizwicki & Katie Schultz) and one of their three honorable mentions (Casie Gohn). The other two Panther honorable mentions return for their senior seasons, Jaelyn Pitre & Zoe Smith.
Gobles only had one senior last season, although Hailey Baxter and her double-double per game will certainly be missed. Fellow first-team Lakeshore selection Maddie Tiller returns along with two honorable mentions in Kelsie Martin and Libbie Nason.
Lawrence had a pair of players that averaged 16 points per game in 16-17. They lose Daelynn Jackson-Peek, who had averaged a double-double. They return honorable mention All-Stater Kaytlyn Tidey, who also averaged around four assists and four steals per game as a junior.
|Kalamazoo Central||20-4||8-2||State Quarterfinalist|
|Gull Lake||13-8||6-4||Lost in District|
|Mattawan||6-16||4-6||Lost in District|
|Loy Norrix||4-17||2-8||Lost in District|
|Battle Creek Central||2-19||0-10||Lost in District|
|St. Joseph||17-5||8-0||Lost in District|
|Portage Northern||10-11||3-5||Lost in District|
|Portage Central||10-12||3-5||Lost in District|
|Niles||4-17||0-8||Lost in District|
Kalamazoo Central made the deepest playoff run out of the SMAC in 16-17. They’ll need to replace Kalamazoo Gazette Player of the Year Arjanae Morgan, 2nd-Team Gazette Toshanae Owens, plus three other seniors. The Maroon Giants do have the benefit of eight of last year’s varsity players back as seniors for this season. Talia Edmonds and Markiela Woodson have starting experience.
Lakeview graduated seven seniors from last season, including second-team All-State Emily Eldridge and honorable mention All-State Ava Cook. They, along with fellow seniors Jessalynn Genier and Chloe McAllister, made the Battle Creek Enquirer All-City team.
Gull Lake loses six seniors, but they got significant time out of six underclassmen in 16-17. One Blue Devil made the Battle Creek Enquirer All-Area team in Ashton Whitman, who topped Gull Lake in points (10.5) and rebounds (7.5) per game last season as a junior.
Although they struggled last season, Mattawan had many young players earn valuable varsity experience. Among them was Gazette honorable mention Natalie Foster, who stands in at 6’5” in only her sophomore year.
Loy Norrix has the benefit of bringing back their top scorer (Nuru Lewis) and third scorer (Falon Williams) for their senior campaigns. The Knights also return their #2 rebounder from last season in junior Abigail Roberts.
Over in the SMAC West, for Lakeshore, six seniors are gone. Four of those seniors started in their Regional semifinal loss, with the returning starter guard Cassie Pallett.
For St. Joseph, only three graduated, but 1st-team All-State selection Shelby Madison will be difficult to replace. Detroit Free Press 3rd-team All-State pick Anna Fischer is among a solid group back for the Bears.
Portage Central loses top scorer MacKenzie Pikkaart and two other seniors, but the Mustangs got starts and significant playing time from numerous underclassmen.
Meanwhile, Portage Northern had a very senior-heavy lineup last season. Returning junior Trinity Posey will be their top returning scorer.
|Plainwell||15-7||6-2||Lost in District|
|Allegan||15-8||4-4||Lost in District|
|Paw Paw||9-12||3-5||Lost in District|
|South Haven||5-17||0-8||Lost in District|
|Edwardsburg||19-3||8-0||Lost in District|
|Vicksburg||10-11||5-3||Lost in District|
|Three Rivers||10-14||4-4||Regional Semifinalist|
|Sturgis||4-17||3-5||Lost in District|
|Dowagiac||3-17||0-8||Lost in District|
Otsego had the deepest postseason run from the Wolverine Conference and has the players back for another strong run. Four of their starting five from their regional final are back, losing All-Wolverine 1st-Teamer Erica Drobny and three other seniors. Liz Barwegen and Mattison Rayman are returning 1st-Teamers along with 2nd-Teamer Jaycie Callaway. Those three averaged together around 30 points per game.
Just down the road, Plainwell must replace six seniors, including their top four scorers from 16-17. The top two returning scorers, Rebecca Gibson and Alivia TerMeer, both averaged just under four points per game last season as freshmen.
Allegan had two players earn All-Wolverine honors last season and must replace them both, point guard Leslie Scane and center Kara Bishop.
Paw Paw lost seven seniors, including 2nd-team Wolverine choice and top scorer Hannah Warner and top rebounder Mackenzie Newell. Their second and third-highest scoring players do come back in Brooklyn Walker and Emma Johnson. Johnson missed a good chunk of last season to injury and Paw Paw hopes she’ll be an impact player in 17-18.
Although South Haven struggled last year and did graduate five seniors, the Rams bring back 2nd-team Wolverine Frances Lyons, who averaged around a double-double per contest.
In the South, league-champ Edwardsburg returns Kaitlyn Zarycki, who grabbed 1st-team Wolverine and honorable mention All-State as a sophomore. Honorable mention Wolverine Alexa Markel is back as well for her senior season, although they did lose honorable mention Noelle Kraus and 2nd-Teamer Brayden Curtis. The Eddies also have the incoming JV class, coming off an unbeaten season.
Three Rivers surprised Edwardsburg and others for a District title last season. Three Wildcat seniors graduated, including #2 scorer Rhyeli Krause. Back is 2nd-Teamer Hadley Miller, who led Three Rivers in points and rebounds as a freshman, plus #3 scorer Arionne Fowlkes for her senior year.
Vicksburg lost seven seniors and both of their All-Wolverine selections, 1st-Teamer Layna Steele and honorable mention Kennedy Nabozny.
Dowagiac only loses two seniors, including Wolverine honorable mention Taylor Hulett. Their other honorable mention player returns for her junior season, Amiyah Smith.
|Comstock||18-4||9-1||Lost in District|
|Buchanan||16-4||9-1||Lost in District|
|Berrien Springs||6-12||4-6||Lost in District|
|Parchment||5-14||1-9||Lost in District|
|Bridgman||4-17||1-9||Lost in District|
Comstock could be a very dangerous team this season, as they return their top five scorers from 16-17. Daisy Ansel grabbed 4th-team All-State and Kalamazoo Gazette Dream Team as a sophomore last season, topping the Colts with around 15 points per game and nine rebounds per game. Ahkyla Blakely was 2nd-Team Gazette off 12.7 points per game and seven boards per contest.
Buchanan saw two AP honorable mention All-State selections. Back is Jayla Bibbs, gone is Brooke Wesner.
Parchment had a very young squad last season and had starts from juniors, sophomores, and freshmen. The most notable senior loss was starter Haley Knapp.
|Jackson Northwest||13-8||10-4||Lost in District|
|Coldwater||17-6||9-5||Lost in District|
|Pennfield||13-8||9-5||Lost in District|
|Harper Creek||12-10||7-7||Lost in District|
|Hastings||9-13||5-9||Lost in District|
|Lumen Christi||4-18||1-13||Lost in District|
|Parma Western||3-18||1-13||Lost in District|
No girls team in the area made a deeper run last season than Marshall. However, of the six players from their main rotation in 16-17, five are gone, including 1st-Team All-State Nikki Tucker and honorable mention Jill Konkle. The lone returning starter is Davenport commit Natalie Tucker. The rest of squad’s varsity experience was mostly limited to blowouts.
Alternatively, almost all of Coldwater‘s rotation last year were underclassmen. Their top four scorers last season, Carlee Crabtree, Malorie Rzepka, Tyler Scheid, and Olivia Foley, were either sophomores or freshmen. The next two in line, Izzy Foley and Jamie Wellet, both were juniors.
Jackson Northwest graduated two seniors and they return their top scorer in Sydney Shafer, plus sophomore Jozie Bontrager, among others.
Pennfield only lost one senior from their 16-17 crew and has their entire starting lineup back. Three Panthers made the Battle Creek Enquirer All-City team; Naomi Davis, Alicia Lake, and Claire LeRoux.
Harper Creek lost five seniors, most notably point guard Jacey Bowers. The top two scoring Beavers are back in junior Faith Hayes (14.3 PPG) and sophomore Maddie Alexander (12.9 PPG), both part of the Enquirer All-City team.
Lumen Christi graduated four seniors, among them top scorer Megan Saunders. Their most dangerous returner is Taylor Smith, who tallied 8.2 points per game and 9.4 boards as a junior.
|Centreville||19-2||Lost in District|
|Marcellus||15-6||Lost in District|
|Cassopolis||11-11||Lost in District|
|Hartford||11-11||Lost in District|
|White Pigeon||7-12||Lost in District|
|Bangor||5-15||Lost in District|
|Bloomingdale||4-15||Lost in District|
|Decatur||3-17||Lost in District|
|Eau Claire||0-19||Lost in District|
Centreville certainly enters the first ever Southwest 10 basketball season as the favorite, returning BCS-Blue MVP and honorable mention All-State Samara Schlabach for her junior campaign. They had two other BCS 1st-Teamers, losing Skyler DeMeyer, but bringing back sophomore Joanna Larsen. Two others earned BCS honorable mention and are back as seniors, Carly Todd and Carlee Odom.
Mendon was the lone district champ within the Southwest 10 teams, but will have to replace four of their top five scorers. The one returner is BCS honorable mention Hayley Kramer, who averaged around 6-7 points and rebounds per game as a sophomore.”
Marcellus had five players earn SAC Central honors. They bring back one 1st-Teamer (Morgan Hartline) and lose one (Jade Sibley). They lose two honorable mentions (Olivia Wildes and Aleyna Hutson), but return one (Grace Mihills).
Cassopolis should be a threat simply because of Santaja Gibson, who posted 17 points and 11 rebounds per game last season as a junior. Additionally, four of the top five scorers for the Rangers return.
The first MHSAA varsity girls basketball contests begin in the final week of November. Make sure to follow the Slocum Sports Network for girls and boys basketball broadcasts in the greater Kalamazoo area throughout 2017-18. Also stay tuned for the area boys basketball preview in the coming days.
The Country Day Yellowjackets advanced to the Class B girls basketball state championship by eliminating the defending champion Marshall Redhawks 46-42 Friday evening at the Breslin Center. The win moves Country Day to 25-1 overall and to their 16th championship appearance with chance to add a 12th title. Marshall finishes at 23-3, ending the high school basketball careers of five tremendous seniors.
The first quarter saw eight lead changes with Marshall finishing the frame ahead, 19-17. They had the game’s largest lead of six-points in the second and didn’t trail until Destiny Pitts sank a three-pointer at the buzzer for a 27-25 Yellowjacket halftime lead. Country Day stayed ahead in a defensive 6-5 third quarter as both teams dealt with players in foul trouble. The Redhawks briefly took the lead twice in the fourth quarter, but Country Day finished at the free throw line for the win.
Pitts topped the Yellowjackets with 13 points, followed by Tylar Bennett with 10. Marshall’s Nikki Tucker and Jill Konkle scored 13 each. They, along with fellow seniors Georgianna Pratley and sisters Carlee and Taryn Long, finish their high school basketball careers with a championship and semifinal appearance.
For Country Day to win their 12th title, they’ll have to knock off another defending state champion, as last year’s Class C winner Arbor Prep moved to 27-0 by defeating Freeland 54-47. The Class B final is Saturday evening at 6 p.m.
Listen back to the semifinal contest below
Listen live Friday evening on Michigan Sports Radio to the first Class B MHSAA girls basketball state semifinal between the Marshall Redhawks and Detroit Country Day Yellowjackets. The game is set for 6 p.m. from the Breslin Center at Michigan State University with the winner advancing to the championship Saturday at 6 p.m.
Marshall is the defending class B champion and sits at 23-2 overall. Their 2017 postseason has mirrored their 2016 run to this point, defeating the same five teams to start; Comstock, Harper Creek, Lakeshore, Otsego, and Grand Rapids Catholic Central. Tuesday’s 49-27 over GRCC avenged one of their two regular season losses.
For Country Day, they’re 24-1 overall with postseason victories over Pontiac Notre Dame Prep, Macomb Lutheran North, Clawson, Croswell-Lexington, Goodrich, and Detroit Mumford. No girls basketball coach in Michigan has seen more success than Frank Orlando, who has a state-record 760 victories and 11 championships since taking over the program in 1981. The Yellowjackets fell to Grand Rapids South Christian in the semifinals last season. Two seasons ago, they claimed their most recent title.
Both teams have an average margin-of-victory around 28 points per game, although they’ve taken different paths to get there. Country Day’s offense is averaging a stellar 68.1 points per game while allowing 40.2. Marshall’s defense is holding teams to 30.5 per contest, while scoring 58.1 on average. The Redhawk offense is led by first-team all state senior Nikki Tucker, averaging 15.1 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. Country Day has two first-team all state players, led by the Class B player-of-the-year in senior Destiny Pitts and her 22.7 points per game. The other, junior Kaela Webb, scores 14.6 per game.
Listen to the semifinal contest live on Michigan Sports Radio with tip off scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday. The winner plays in the championship Saturday at 6 p.m. against Freeland or Arbor Prep, who meet in their semifinal at 7:50 p.m. Friday. Both squads enter their semi at 26-0. Arbor Prep is the defending Class C state champion, while Freeland is looking for their first ever title, having made it to the final once in 1998.
The defending Class B girls basketball state champion Marshall Redhawks are heading back to the semifinals after defeating Grand Rapids Catholic Central 49-27 in Tuesday’s quarterfinal game at Otsego High School. The Redhawks never trailed in the contest and started the game on a 10-4 run. Their lead jumped to 14-6 by the end of the first quarter, 23-9 by halftime, and 39-20 for the end of the third quarter.
Marshall senior Nikki Tucker had a stellar performance, nearly outscoring the Cougars on her own with a 26 point performance.
“She was pretty darn good, wasn’t she?” said coach Sal Konkle after the game. “She was a coach’s dream tonight. She’s been so focused the last couple weeks. We talked about shot fakes and she sure as heck shot-faked the heck out of them and created space for herself to score.”
Younger sister Natalie Tucker and Carlee Long each had eight points for Marshall. Topping GRCC with eight was Shaniya Huggins.
For the second straight season, the Redhawks end the Cougars’ season in the quarterfinals. Marshall also avenges one of their two regular season losses, as GRCC beat them in January. The Cougars finish the year at 24-2 with Marshall moving to 23-2. The Redhawks move to the semifinal Friday at 6 p.m. at the Breslin Center at Michigan State University. They’ll meet second-ranked Detroit Country Day (24-1), who was a semifinalist last season. That game is scheduled for broadcast via Michigan Sports Radio.
NOTE: Due to unsolvable technical issues at Otsego, the broadcast of the Marshall/GRCC game has been cancelled. I am incredibly sorry and can’t apologize enough to all of those who wanted to hear this game.