Watervliet picked up a 53-37 boys basketball win and a 66-35 girls victory Saturday against current district and former conference rival Hartford. The Panther girls improved to 4-1 off the win and put Hartford at 3-1. The Panther boys jumped to 2-1 with the victory and dropped Hartford to 0-2.
In the boys game, Watervliet scored within the first five seconds and never surrendered the lead. The Panthers carried a 16-10 lead into the first quarter break, a 29-19 advantage at halftime, and a 40-31 score after the third. Hartford made it back within six a few times in the second half, but could get no closer. Three Panthers scored nine points; Bryant Kieft, Sheldon Tobar, and Garrett Matthews. Hartford’s Trey Ackerman topped all players with 16.
The girls game had three lead changes in the first two minutes, but saw Watervliet assume control midway through the first quarter. They led 18-9 after the first quarter and didn’t trail again, extending the score to 31-17 by halftime and 47-29 by the end of the third. Ariana Rowe topped the Panthers with 18 points with double-digit scoring also by Jaelyn Pitre (14) and Kara Liles (10). AJ Jackson led Hartford with 10.
The Watervliet boys and girls host Saugatuck Tuesday in their final game before the holiday break. Hartford’s boys travel to Decatur Tuesday with the girls hosting the Raiders. Both travel to White Pigeon Thursday.
Listen back to Saturday’s games below:
WATERVLIET GIRLS SCORING: Ariana Rowe 18, Jaelyn Pitre 14, Kara Liles 10, Victoria Smith 4, Taylor Shafer 4, Celina Klimkiewicz 4, Zoe Smith 4, Mikalah Clay 3, Emma Yazel 3, Alison Pazera 2
HARTFORD GIRLS SCORING: AJ Jackson 10, Cora Wesaw 9, Jessica Cortes 6, Mikenzie Chambers 6, Megan Nelson 4
WATERVLIET BOYS SCORING: Bryant Kieft 9, Sheldon Tobar 9, Garrett Matthews 9, Ryan Chisek 7, Daniel Cluster 6, James Bell 3, Jakob Aldrich 3, Omar Cardoso 3, LA Smith 2, Austin Roberts 2.
HARTFORD BOYS SCORING: Trey Ackerman 16, Buddy Earls 6, Evan DeLaRosa 6, William Martinez 3, Caleb Weston 2, Brandon Galvan 2, Garrod Johnson 2,
Listen live online Saturday on the Slocum Sports Network as the Watervliet Panthers host the Hartford Indians in boys and girls high school basketball. The girls varsity is scheduled for around 5 p.m. with the boys around 6:30 p.m. Although they are no longer conference rivals within the SAC, these schools are meeting twice again this season.
The Watervliet boys enter the weekend at 1-0, taking their opener 59-46 last weekend over Martin. Saturday’s game will be their third, as the Panthers face Fennville Friday. Hartford opens their season Friday against Marcellus, with their original opener Tuesday against Mendon postponed to January 4th due to snow. They met twice last season with the home team winning both times, 55-41 at Hartford and 54-35 at Watervliet.
The Watervliet girls come into the weekend at 2-1 and Hartford goes into the weekend at 2-0. The Panthers took both contests over the Indians last season, 67-51 and 48-44. The season before, Hartford won both meetings.
Listen to both games live online on the Slocum Sports Network with the girls varsity around 5 p.m. and the boys around 6:30 p.m. at Watervliet High School.
Listen live to all five games from District 79 of the MHSAA Class C boys basketball state tournament this week on Michigan Sports Radio. The action begins at Bloomingdale High School on Monday with the Kalamazoo Christian Comets (13-7) facing the Hartford Indians (9-11) at 5:30 p.m., followed by the Gobles Tigers (14-6) against the Bangor Vikings (0-20) at 7:30 p.m. The winner of the first game plays the Hackett Catholic Irish (19-1) Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. with the winner of the second game meeting the hosting Bloomingdale Cardinals (14-6) Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.
Hackett is the defending district champion and has advanced out the district round three consecutive years. The Irish made it to the quarterfinals last season and sit ranked tied for fourth in all of Class C in the final Associated Press poll. Their only loss came to Schoolcraft, although their potential semifinal opponent Kalamazoo Christian took them to the brink twice, falling 53-50 and 52-46 (OT) in their regular season meetings. The Comets haven’t made it out of the district round since their state championship 2008 season and first have to get through Hartford, who beat Kalamazoo Christian 46-45 in districts last year. Hartford last made it to regionals in 2004.
On the other side, the host Bloomingdale is significantly improved. After getting five total wins over the previous three seasons combined, the Cardinals sit at 14-6 and look to get to regionals for the first time since 2013. They’ll likely meet Gobles Wednesday as the Tigers are a heavy favorite against winless Bangor. The Tigers topped the Vikings 76-54 and 74-46 in the regular season and also hold 59-54 and 66-53 victories over Bloomingdale Gobles hasn’t gotten out of districts since 2006.
Listen to all five games from District 79 at Bloomingdale on Michigan Sports Radio. Monday, Kalamazoo Christian plays Hartford at 5:30, followed by Gobles and Bangor at 7:30. Wednesday, the Comet/Indian winner meets Hackett at 5:30, followed by Bloomingdale against the Tiger/Viking winner at 7:30. The district final is set for Friday at 7:30 p.m.