Portage Central grabbed a varsity basketball sweep in their final action before the holiday break Thursday, defeating Paw Paw 59-44 in boys play and 56-27 in the girls game. In the boys contest, a 14-point fourth quarter from junior Jason Mih allowed the Mustangs to pull ahead after a back-and-forth affair. In the girls game, a 25-2 second quarter put the game out of reach.
Paw Paw hit the opening basket in the boys game and had their biggest lead of the game at the end of the first quarter, up 13-6. They stayed ahead until three minutes were left in the second quarter. After trading the lead, Portage Central tied the game at 25 going into the half with a no-look Griffin Baker pass setting up a triple from Zach Bumgarner.
The game stayed within two possessions for the entire third quarter, with PC holding a 38-34 advantage heading into the fourth. Then, Jason Mih came alive and delivered a 14-point quarter, including four consecutive threes, to gave Portage Central the final edge.
Mih finished with a team-high 20 points. Paw Paw’s Luke Toliver posted 25 points. The Portage Central boys improve to 3-1 with the victory and are off until January 9 at home against Lakeview. Paw Paw falls to 2-2 and hosts South Haven Friday night.
Neither team had a decisive advantage in the first quarter of the girls game, as Portage Central led 10-7 after one. The Mustangs were dominant in the second and third quarters, outscoring Paw Paw 35-2. Although Paw Paw won the fourth quarter 18-11, the hole was far too deep to climb out of.
Kayla Mathieu and Abby Long each scored 19 points for the Mustangs. Paw Paw got 14 points from Kiarra Herson. Portage Central moves to 4-2 and travels to Lakeview on January 9 for their next game. Paw Paw drops to 1-5 and hosts South Haven Friday.
Listen back to Thursday’s games below:
PORTAGE CENTRAL BOYS SCORING: Jason Mih 20, Jack Juday 9, Griffin Baker 8, Luke Leto 7, Max Godsil 6, Eli Potts 5, Zach Bumgarner 3, Max Longman 1
PAW PAW BOYS SCORING: Luke Toliver 25, Karsen Barnhart 5, Matt Lehto 4, Hayden Beck 4, Jakob Rickli 3, Ryan Brennan 3.
PORTAGE CENTRAL GIRLS SCORING: Kayla Mathieu 19, Abby Long 19, Annemarie Stacey 9, Kaitlyn Brannstrom 5, Meg Niedzwiecki 2, Jessica Roth 2
PAW PAW GIRLS SCORING: Kiarra Herson 14, Emma Johnson 5, Kierra Krogel 2, Anna Vavra 2, Anna Castelluccio 2, Megan Huggett 2
Listen live online Thursday evening on the Slocum Sports Network with Portage Central playing Paw Paw in boys and girls varsity basketball. The girls game is scheduled for around a 5:45 p.m. start with the boys around 7:15 p.m.
It’s the second consecutive year these schools have met in late December, meeting this season in Portage after playing last season at Paw Paw. Last year, the Paw Paw boys were 47-43 winners and the Portage Central girls were 43-29 victors. These schools also met two seasons ago in boys play, won 57-32 by the Mustangs.
Both boys teams enter Tuesday at 2-1 and both teams fell in their opener to Mattawan, 55-54 for Paw Paw and 53-35 for PC. Last week, Portage Central defeated Niles 63-52, then topped Harper Creek 55-32 Tuesday. Paw Paw has wins over Wolverine Conference foes Vicksburg (79-61) and Plainwell (65-57).
The Portage Central girls sit at 3-2. They dropped their opener 49-12 to Coldwater, then got wins over Lakeshore (38-22), Mattawan (40-34), and Niles (32-25). They fell Tuesday 36-32 at Harper Creek. Paw Paw has a 1-4 overall mark with a win over Vicksburg (44-41) and losses to Lakeshore (49-32), Dowagiac (47-42), Mattawan (52-29), and Plainwell (46-24).
Listen live to Thursday’s games online live on the Slocum Sports Network with the girls tipping around 5:45 p.m. and the boys around 7:15 p.m.
The Vicksburg Bulldogs used four takeaways to earn a 21-12 homecoming win Friday over Paw Paw. The win pushes them to 5-1, one away from clinching a playoff spot for the fourth consecutive year. Meanwhile, Paw Paw falls to 3-3 and must run the table to snap their three-year postseason drought.
The scoreless first quarter lasted all of 20 minutes, with both teams punting twice and having a turnover on downs. Vicksburg’s lone giveaway came on a Nick Schley interception in the red zone at the start of the second quarter. The Bulldogs forced a quick punt, then capped off a 49-yard drive with a 10-yard Garrett Ketelaar touchdown run with 6:55 remaining.
On the following drive, Paw Paw quarterback Jimmy Wressel had a pass tipped at the line, intercepted by a diving Ryan Morgan. Two plays later, Ketelaar was in the end zone again, this time on a nine-yard run. Wressel was picked off again near midfield, this time by Adam Henderson. Two plays later, Caleb Welch rushed for a 53-yard score, giving Vicksburg all 21 of their points within a four minute stretch. The Bulldogs held Paw Paw to only two first downs for the entire half and carried a 21-0 advantage into the break.
Paw Paw started strong in the third, taking the opening drive 63 yards on six plays with a 29-yard rushing score from Schley. A missed extra-point, hurt by a high snap, kept them behind 21-6. Paw Paw forced a punt, but surrendered their third interception shortly thereafter to Austin Bresnahan. Both teams would trade punts into the midway point of the fourth quarter.
Paw Paw pushed from their own 19 to the Vicksburg 19 with about seven minutes remaining. Tyler Pursley rushed ahead and got to the two-yard line before fumbling the ball, recovered by Vicksburg’s Henderson in the end zone for a touchback.
Paw Paw got it back after forcing a punt with five minutes to go and put together a 12-play, 54-yard scoring drive. Wressel sealed it with a QB sneak touchdown with 1:42 remaining, but couldn’t get to the pylon on the two-point conversion rush, keeping the game at two-possessions and ultimately out of reach for Paw Paw.
Unofficially, Ketelaar was 10-20 passing for 82 yards, along with 47 rushing yards and two scores. Welch led Vicksburg with 80 rushing yards, followed by 67 from Henderson. For Paw Paw, Wressel was 5-16 for 32 passing yards. Three players topped 100 rushing yards, Pursley (114), David Marshall (107), and Schley (104).
Vicksburg can clinch a playoff berth with a win next week against South Haven (0-6). Paw Paw hosts Allegan (1-5) for week seven. Listen back to week six’s game below:
Listen live online Friday night on the Slocum Sports Network as Vicksburg hosts their homecoming against Paw Paw for week six of the high school football season. Both teams sit in the top-half of the 10-team Wolverine Conference midway through the season and remain in contention for a playoff berth. Edwardsburg is the league’s lone unbeaten at 5-0. Vicksburg is in a three-way tie for second place at 4-1 with Three Rivers and Plainwell. At 3-2, Paw Paw sits alone in fifth.
Vicksburg erased a double-digit fourth quarter deficit in their opening 38-27 win over Dowagiac. They rolled Allegan 42-8 in week two, then suffered their lone loss at Plainwell, 22-19. Since then, the Bulldogs defeated Sturgis (35-17) and mauled Otsego (70-13). Vicksburg’s offense is averaging just under 41 points per game, getting five or more touchdowns in all but the Plainwell loss.
Paw Paw opened with victories over Otsego (47-0) and Sturgis (28-14). Edwardsburg crushed Paw Paw 52-0 in week three, followed by Paw Paw blanking South Haven 49-0. Last week, Three Rivers spoiled Paw Paw’s homecoming with a 14-0 shutout by the Wildcats. Paw Paw has held opponents to two touchdowns or fewer in all but the Edwardsburg loss.
Vicksburg has taken the last three meetings on the field over Paw Paw, with final scores of 28-7, 57-16, and 25-20. Prior to this stretch, Paw Paw had an 11-year winning streak against the Bulldogs. According to Michigan-Football.com, this week’s game will be their 47th football contest and Vicksburg leads the series with a 30-16 record. Vicksburg has made the postseason three consecutive years, while Paw Paw is hoping for their first winning season and playoff berth since 2014.
For the first time since January 16, 2015, the Paw Paw boys basketball team defeated South Haven, winning on their home court Friday over the Rams 53-48. In a very tight contest, free throw shooting played a key role. Paw Paw finished 20-29 at the line to a 10-21 mark for South Haven.
The Rams had the lead initially and didn’t fall behind until about halfway through the first quarter. Paw Paw never lost the lead from there, although the lead never got to double-digits. They took a 30-21 lead into halftime and while South Haven got back within one on multiple occasions, the Rams never could get ahead. Luke Toliver led the way with 27 points for Paw Paw, including a 10-13 mark at the free throw line. Nathan Smetana added 15. South Haven was topped by DaShaan Palmer’s 13 points and numerous blocked shots.
The Paw Paw boys now sit at 11-3 overall and 4-2 in the Wolverine Conference North Division. South Haven remains on top in the North at 5-1 and 11-5 overall.
Meanwhile, Paw Paw’s girls continued their dominance over South Haven, winning 77-50 in a game that was never in doubt. Brooklyn Walker led all plays with 15 from Paw Paw. Mackenzie Newell added 12. South Haven got 10 from Frances Lyons. Paw Paw improves to 8-7 overall and 3-3 in the North Division, while South Haven is 4-13 and 0-7 in league play.
Both Paw Paw teams play Three Rivers Tuesday with the girls staying home and the boys traveling. The South Haven boys play at Vicksburg Tuesday with the girls hosting Vicksburg.
Listen back to Friday’s games below:
Listen live Friday on the Slocum Sports Network as Paw Paw High School plays host to the South Haven Rams Friday in boys and girls varsity basketball. The boys game in particular is highly anticipated with both squads looking to extend a five-game winning streak.
The Paw Paw boys sit at 10-3 overall, with their most recent loss coming in their first meeting with South Haven, 59-53, back on January 6. Paw Paw since has topped the likes of Sturgis (11-2), Otsego (8-6) and Plainwell (7-6). Scoring 64.3 per game and allowing 53.1 per game, Paw Paw is second in the Wolverine Conference North Division at 3-2.
South Haven sits at the top of the division at 5-0 and holds an 11-4 overall record. They haven’t lost since dropping a quadruple overtime contest at Edwardsburg (71-65) on January 13. The Rams have also beaten Otsego and Plainwell in their current five-game winning streak and additionally have a win over a 6-4 Buchanan squad. The South Haven boys hold a four-game winning streak over Paw Paw, who last defeated the Rams on January 16, 2015. The Rams are scoring 58.6 per game while allowing 52.1.
In the earlier boys contest, the Rams saw a strong performance from senior post DaShaan Palmer, who led the team with 22 points. Teammate Luke Toliver added 14. Paw Paw was led by Trey Brennan’s 20.
In the girls meeting that same night, Paw Paw pulled off a 55-35 victory off a 15-point effort by Brooklyn Walker. Frances Lyons was the lone Ram to reach double-digits with 10. Entering the rematch, Paw Paw is 7-7 overall and 2-3 against the North division. South Haven is 4-12, trying to snap a six-game losing streak. They’re 0-6 against the North and have lost at least 12 consecutive meetings with Paw Paw. (The MHSAA’s records online end at the 2008-09 season).
Listen to both boys and girls action Friday on the Slocum Sports Network. The girls varsity is scheduled for 6 p.m. with the boys after, tentatively at 7:15.