The Plainwell Trojans and Gull Lake Blue Devils won their District 18 semifinal games Wednesday at Richland, pushing them into Saturday’s final. Ninth-ranked Plainwell survived a late rally for a 3-2 win over the Otsego Bulldogs. Gull Lake easily dispatched Harper Creek 5-1.
In the first game, Plainwell grabbed the lead in the fourth minute with Luke Morrell scoring off a Zakary Termeer throw in. Termeer would score himself midway through the first and the Trojans carried a 2-0 lead into halftime.
Plainwell dominated possession for the first 55 minutes, but Otsego goalkeeper Jayden Dentler made numerous great saves to keep Plainwell at two. He unofficially had 19 saves for the match. In the 59th minute, Josh Loll was able to tip the ball into the goal for Otsego and about five minutes later, Jace Engels did the same to tie the game at 2-2.
They traded chances the rest of the way. In the final minute, a wild sequence led to a controversial penalty kick call for Plainwell with 34 seconds remaining. Dentler had come out to make an initial save, but found himself out of the net trying to track the ball down. Plainwell’s rebound shot was blocked by a defender at the goal line, followed by a Trojan down with a brief injury. Following the injury stoppage, the penalty kick was awarded and Morrell put it by Dentler for the game winning goal. It’s unclear if the violation was a foul or handling to prompt the PK.
Listen back to the final moments of the game below:
Plainwell moves to 17-3-3 with Otsego finishing the season at 11-8-0. In the second game, Gull Lake dominated throughout, taking a 4-0 lead into halftime. Two goals came from Miles Renwick, one from Zach Reed, and another off a deflection by someone on a Jack Hirzel corner kick. JD Schroeder had Gull Lake’s second half goal with Harper Creek’s score coming on a Archie Hantz penalty kick.
Harper Creek finishes the season at 3-13-3 with Gull Lake improving to 10-8-1 overall and 8-2-1 on their home turf. The Blue Devils host Plainwell in the District 18 final Saturday at 5 p.m. Listen back to the full broadcasts from Wednesday below:
PLAINWELL VS OTSEGO
GULL LAKE VS HARPER CREEK
Listen live online Wednesday evening on the Slocum Sports Network to the District 18 boys soccer semifinals from Gull Lake High School. The first game, set for a 5:30 p.m. kickoff, features Wolverine Conference rivals Plainwell and Otsego. The second game to follow around 7:30ish has the host Gull Lake against Harper Creek.
The Plainwell Trojans are the district favorite by overall record (16-3-3) and are ranked ninth in the final Coaches Association Division 2 poll. The Trojans have claimed the district title in three consecutive seasons and defeated Otsego 3-0 in last year’s district final. The Trojans opened district play Monday with a 3-1 victory against Hastings.
The Otsego Bulldogs are 10-7-0 and defeated Battle Creek Central 2-0 in their first round match. Otsego is 6-2-0 in their last eight matches, including a tight 1-0 loss at Plainwell in their regular season finale Thursday. They will have to slay a nemesis, as this class of seniors at Otsego has never defeated Plainwell in soccer.
In the second match, the hosting Gull Lake Blue Devils are 9-8-1 overall and hold a 7-2-1 mark on their home turf. Gull Lake defeated Allegan 3-0 in their first round match and are on a three-game winning streak, including a victory over Division 4 #4 Hackett Catholic.
Harper Creek sits at 3-12-3 overall. The Beavers have already pulled off one upset, defeating Pennfield (who finished 10-8-1) Monday 3-2, despite having fallen to the Panthers twice in the regular season. Harper Creek and Gull Lake have not met this season.
Listen live to both semifinal matches online via the Slocum Sports Network Wednesday. Plainwell vs Otsego is set for 5:30 p.m. with Gull Lake and Harper Creek to follow from Richland.
Despite getting shutout offensively, the Harper Creek Beavers edged the Gull Lake Blue Devils 15-14 in their season opener from Richland. Two interception touchdowns from senior cornerback Dom Gibson, plus a fourth quarter blocked extra point, allowed the Beavers to sneak by.
Gibson started the Beaver scoring on Gull Lake’s opening drive, intercepting a fourth down pass in the end zone and returning it 102 yards. In the second quarter, the Blue Devils held possession for nearly 11 minutes between two drives, capping off a 72-yard drive with 7:18 remaining on a two-yard Thomas Vandermolen run. Gull Lake aggressively went for the two-point conversion and succeeded on a pass from Hunter Synder to Niner Stark, giving them an 8-7 lead which held into halftime.
After trading punts to start the third, Gibson intercepted Synder again, this time going 40 yards for the score. Harper Creek went for two and matched Gull Lake’s success, with Jackson Malone passing to Jon Taylor. Gull Lake’s next drive went seven minutes and 13 plays with two successful fourth-down conversions. However, their third try was denied, stopping them 18 yards from the end zone.
The Blue Devil defense continued to hold Harper Creek and forced a quick punt, but Gull Lake punted right back midway through the fourth quarter. The Beavers then committed their lone turnover on a fumble, recovered to the Beaver 25-yard line by John Volesky.
With 5:28 remaining, Snyder found Stark in the end zone for a 23-yard Gull Lake touchdown pass. Tanner Novak’s extra-point kick was blocked by linebacker Dakota Walbeck, which ultimately gave Harper Creek the one-point victory. The Beaver run game came alive on the final drive, getting four first downs to run out the remaining time for the 15-14 win.
Unofficially, Gull Lake out-gained Harper Creek offensively 207 to 133. Hunter Synder went 8-17 for 105 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. Volesky led all rushers with 56 yards. Beaver quarterback Jackson Malone and halfback Dawson Barlett each had 53 rushing.
Harper Creek begins Interstate 8 Conference play on Thursday with a trip to Jackson Northwest. Gull Lake hosts Portage Northern Thursday for a SMAC East vs West contest. Listen back to Friday’s game below:
Listen live online Friday on the Slocum Sports Network as the Gull Lake Blue Devils host the Harper Creek Beavers. These schools opened against each other last season as well, with the Beavers winning at home, 39-10.
Harper Creek finished 6-1 in the Interstate 8 Conference last year, including a 24-14 win over eventual Division 6 state champion Lumen Christi. Their lone conference loss, and one of two regular season losses, came to Coldwater 19-7. The Cardinals got the better of the Beavers again three weeks later in the Pre-District round 35-14, ending Harper Creek’s season at 7-3. Seven Beavers were named to the Battle Creek Enquirer’s All-City team with three back for 2017; Dawson Barlett (RB/LB/DB), Dakota Walbeck (LB), and Jon Taylor (TE/LB).
Gull Lake finished 2-7 overall last season with a 2-3 mark in the SMAC East division. Nine Blue Devils earned SMAC East honors and four of those players are back for 2017. Making first-team were Kaleb Clous (OL), Niner Stark (DB), and Thomas VanderMolen (WR) with Hunter Snyder (QB) on the second-team. Gull Lake also has a new coach for 2017 in Ryan Gallogly.
In addition to last season’s win, Harper Creek also defeated Gull Lake in 2013 and 2012. Prior to those meetings, they had not faced off since 1973. According to Michigan-Football.com, Harper Creek holds a 7-2-1 record against Gull Lake, with the last Blue Devil victory coming in 1969.
The defending Class B girls basketball champion Marshall Redhawks claimed District 35 at Comstock Friday evening with a 69-31 win over the Harper Creek Beavers. The Beavers played right with Marshall in the first quarter, never trailing by more than three with a 10-9 score after one. However, Nikki Tucker came alive and helped deliver a 23-8 second quarter and the Redhawks never looked back.
“Nikki was outstanding in that quarter scoring for us and the (Long) twins played terrific defense,” said Marshall coach Sal Konkle after the game. “These kids just have a will to win like no other team I’ve coached.”
Tucker finished with 25 points, followed by Jill Konkle with 18. Marshall’s final basket of the game got perhaps the loudest roar of the evening from sophomore Maddie Reynolds.
“Maddie has cancer, it’s Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” noted coach Konkle. “She had her second chemo treatment yesterday. She’ll be just fine, she’s a tough kid and a fighter. She’s got a great family to support her and a great basketball team to support her.”
The Redhawks move to 20-2 after beating the same two district opponents as they did last season. They’ll meet the same regional semifinal opponent Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. in Stevensville Lakeshore, who improved to 18-6 with a 59-32 win over Buchanan. On the other side of Regional 9, the hosting Three Rivers Wildcats moved to 10-13 after shocking Edwardsburg (19-3). They’ll meet Otsego (19-3) Tuesday at 7:30 after the Bulldogs topped Allegan. You can listen to the Regional 9 games live Tuesday and Thursday on Michigan Sports Radio.
Listen back to Friday’s game below
Harper Creek senior Jacey Bowers led her team with 13 in her final game. The Beavers finish 12-10, but return three starters next year.
The District 35 final of the MHSAA Class B girls basketball state tournament is set for Friday night at 7 p.m. from Comstock on Michigan Sports Radio following Wednesday’s semifinal games. Defending state champion Marshall downed the hosting Colts 55-29 and Harper Creek beat crosstown rival Pennfield 63-52.
Comstock gave Marshall a competitive first quarter, only trailing the Redhawks 12-7 after one. But the Marshall defense clamped down, allowing a lone basket late in the frame, for a 25-9 halftime advantage. They continued to pull away from there, led by 16 points from Nikki Tucker and 10 from Georgianna Pratley. Marshall moves to 19-2 with the win.
For Comstock, they finish a strong season at 18-4 with much of their roster returning, including their leading scorers from Wednesday in sophomore Daisy Ansel (15) and junior Ahkyla Blakely (12).
In the other contest, Harper Creek finally came out ahead after losing two tight regular season games to Pennfield. It was a slow start for the Beavers, trailing by as much as nine in the first quarter. But Harper Creek won the second quarter 17-6 to take a 25-21 lead into halftime. They would not surrender the lead down the stretch, with a strong 21-27 free throw effort making a huge difference. Maddie Alexander finished with a game-high 21 points for Harper Creek. Jacey Bowers had 20 and went 8-9 at the foul line, Faith Hayes scored 18 and shot 10-12 at the line. The Beavers improve to 12-9.
For Pennfield, their season ends at 13-8 overall, but they have reason for optimism. They had no seniors dressed for the game and return a host of juniors next year, including their top scorers against Harper Creek in Claire LeRoux (16) and Rachel Swartz (14).
Harper Creek now has the incredibly difficult task of facing Marshall for a third time this season in Friday’s district final. Although they were closer in their second meeting, the Redhawks dominated both earlier contests, winning 64-17 and 68-36. You can listen to Friday’s district final live on Michigan Sports Radio with tip off set for 7 p.m. from Comstock.
You can listen back to the semifinals from Wednesday below:
HARPER CREEK VS PENNFIELD
MARSHALL VS COMSTOCK
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.
The Harper Creek Beavers boys basketball team defeated the Three Rivers Wildcats at home Monday night 64-46, ending a seven-game losing streak to move to 4-7 overall. It also ended a four-game winning streak for Three Rivers, putting them at 6-3 overall.
The Wildcats initially built a four-point lead in the first quarter, but the Beavers jumped ahead thanks to eight-straight points by Javian Hodges. They took a 15-10 lead into the first break. Harper Creek slightly extended the lead by halftime to seven points at 25-18. Three Rivers started the third quarter on a 9-1 run and briefly reclaimed the lead. After a timeout two minutes into the frame, Harper Creek got back ahead and had a five point lead, 42-37, after the third. From there, the Beavers assumed control.
In only his third game this season, Pennfield transfer Dom Gibson led the Beavers by scoring 15 points. Three teammates, Hodges, Ryan McCafferty, and Jeremiah Davis, scored 11 points. Jalen Heivilin topped the Wildcats with 15 points. Tirrell Hausmanis added 13.
Three Rivers has little time to think about their loss, as they return to action Tuesday at home against Vicksburg. They then head to Edwardsburg Friday. The Beavers are off until Friday, when they head to Jackson to meet Northwest.
Listen back to this game below:
Listen to high school boys basketball Monday night on the Slocum Sports Network as the Harper Creek Beavers host the Three Rivers Wildcats.
For the Beavers, they’re looking to turn their season around. After winning their first three games, they’ve dropped seven in a row for a 3-7 record. It’s been a brutal schedule with six of the seven losses coming to teams above .500 and to their credit, Harper Creek only fell by two-possessions to the likes of Marshall (8-3), Parma Western (10-2), and Pennfield (6-3).
The schedule doesn’t get any easier Monday with Three Rivers sitting at 6-2 on the year. The Wildcats have won four straight, including an impressive 64-49 victory two weeks ago over Sturgis (8-2). Both the Beavers and Wildcats posted winning records last season, with the Beavers taking their lone meeting on the road, 67-47.
Listen to the action Monday online via the Slocum Sports Network from Harper Creek High School in Battle Creek. Tip off is scheduled for around 7 p.m.
Friday night in Battle Creek saw two high school basketball games decided by one possession. Ultimately, Pennfield came out on the winning side in both over Harper Creek, winning 60-57 in boys play and 65-63 in girls play.
The boys contest was back-and-forth in the first quarter, with a 14-12 edge for Harper Creek. Pennfield quickly got ahead and had the biggest lead of the contest in the second, at eight points. But the Beavers cut the deficit back to two by halftime, trailing the Panthers 32-30.
The game stayed tight the rest of the way with a fourth quarter surge from Ron Jamierson proving the difference for the Panthers. Jamierson drove for the bucket, and one, to reclaim the lead for good with 1:43 left. He’d add the next four points on a field goal and two free throws to extend the lead to six in the final minute. Harper Creek was able to get back within two and drew a foul with five seconds left. Jeremiah Davis missed the first free throw, then intentionally missed the second in hopes of a put-back. JaCory McNutt got the rebound, but couldn’t get a good look, allowing the Panthers to ultimately hold on.
Jamierson led all scorers with 18 points with teammate Devaire Todd getting 17. McNutt led the Beavers with 15, Jon Taylor was next in line at 13. The Pennfield boys move to 3-2 with the win, dropping the Beavers to 3-3.
In the girls contest, Pennfield never trailed and led for nearly the entire game. They built a 40-25 lead by halftime, but Harper Creek fought back, finally tying the game for the first time since the start with nine seconds remaining. Pennfield’s Alicia Lake was able to get the lead back with 1.4 seconds remaining. Harper Creek’s Jacey Bowers got a three-pointer off at the buzzer, but couldn’t connect.
Lake led all scorers with 25 points. Naomi Davis and Claire LeRoux both had 14 for the Panthers. Bowers topped the Beavers with 22, another 21 came from Faith Hayes and 14 came from Maddie Alexander. The Pennfield girls avenge three losses to Harper Creek from last year, putting them at 5-1 while dropping Harper Creek to 4-2.
Both the Pennfield boys and girls return to action with Coldwater on Tuesday; the girls stay at home with the boys on the road. The same can be said for Harper Creek, except with Jackson Lumen Christi as the opponent.
Listen back to both contests below: