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RECAP: Hackett Defeats Class D Finalist Buckley 63-59

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After 26 lead changes, the Hackett Catholic boys basketball team emerged victorious Saturday afternoon at Kalamazoo College, beating Class D finalist Buckley 63-59.   It’s the second time this year the Irish have gotten the better of the Bears, as Hackett topped them 3-1 in the Division 4 soccer semifinal back in November.

Neither team led by more than four points.  Hackett held the lead at the end of the first quarter, 15-14.   At halftime, the game was tied at 28.   The Bears claimed a 46-43 advantage into the third quarter  Free throws and fouls ended up playing a big role down the stretch as the Bears lost one of their six-man rotation.  The Irish were 22-29 at the line, compared to Buckley’s 11-17.

Cooper Smith led Hackett with 23 points, including 9-13 at the foul line.  Heath Baldwin was next for the Irish at 14 points, nine of his points came in the third quarter.  Casey Gallagher had 11.  Austin Harris topped the Bears at 15 points.  Next in line were Joey Weber with 13 and Brock Beeman with 11.   Denver Cade, who led Buckley with around 21 per game last season, was held to nine.

The win puts Hackett at 2-0, joining their 62-22 win Friday over Lawton.   They return to action Tuesday at home against Wyoming Potter’s House Christian.   Buckley starts the season 0-1, their first regular season loss since March 1, 2016.   They begin Northwest Conference play Tuesday at Onekama.

Listen back to Saturday’s game below:

HACKETT SCORING: Cooper Smith 23, Heath Baldwin 14, Casey Gallagher 11, Brennan Creek 8, Jacob Niesen 4, Aidan Gillig 3

BUCKLEY SCORING: Austin Harris 15, Joey Weber 13, Brock Beeman 11, Denver Cade 9, Ridge Beeman 6, Tyler Francisco 5

PREVIEW: Hackett Catholic Battles Buckley at K-College in Marquee Boys Contest

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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.

RECAP: Hackett, K-Christian Suspended Late in 1st Half, Ruled 0-0 Tie, Split SAC Title

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Tied 0-0 with 13:26 remaining in the first half, a distant rumble of thunder stopped the de facto Southwestern Athletic Conference (SAC) girls soccer championship game between #2 Hackett Catholic and #8 Kalamazoo Christian.   Because of continuing thunder, no available lights, and Kalamazoo Christian’s graduation later in the night, they were unable to resume the contest.

Generally, you must complete at least one half of play for a game to be ruled official.   However, with the district tournament rematch set for Thursday, June 1, and with the Memorial Day weekend, the window to resume the game is very tight.   Thus, it was agreed to officially call the game a tie.   As a result, Hackett and Kalamazoo Christian split the SAC championship, both finishing the season at 9-0-1 in league play.    Hackett sits at 13-1-4 overall with K-Christian at 15-2-3.

Kalamazoo Christian has no more regular season games scheduled, while Hackett travels this Thursday to Parchment.    The Comets and Irish play again at 6:45 p.m. next Thursday in the district 52 tournament at Lawton High School.

Listen back to Wednesday’s game below:

RECAP: Kalamazoo Christian, Gobles Advance to District 79 Semis Against Hackett, Bloomingdale

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The District 79 boys basketball semifinals are set for Wednesday live on Michigan Sports Radio following Monday’s first round games at Bloomingdale.   Kalamazoo Christian defeated Hartford 58-48, setting up their third meeting of the year with Hackett Catholic, and Gobles earned a third meeting with Bloomingdale by defeating Bangor 68-47.

In the first game, Hartford used three-pointers for an early 9-3 lead, but the Comets finished the first quarter on a 12-2 run for a 20-11 lead after one.  Kalamazoo Christian made it 33-21 by halftime and they stayed ahead in a fairly even second half.   The Comets were led by Trey DeJong with 17 points.   Jordan Katje added 15 and Alex Visser scored 11, pushing the Comets to 14-7 overall.   The Indians were led by Will Martinez with 18 points and end their season at 9-12.

In the second game, winless Bangor started hot and led for almost the entire first quarter.   They were up by nine initially, but a three at the buzzer by Chase Miles tied the game up 16-16 after one.   The second quarter saw three lead changes with the Tigers holding a 33-29 advantage at halftime.   Gobles assumed control with an 18-7 third quarter and took care of business from there, led by 25 points from Tyler Hunt.  Adam Fifer added 17, pushing Gobles to 15-6 on the season.  Bangor finishes 0-21, led by 15 points from senior Gage Gardner and 12 from sophomore Thomas Bowen.

The semifinals are now set and can be heard live on Michigan Sports Radio Wednesday.   The Comets get another crack at 19-1 Hackett, who won their regular season meetings 53-50 and 52-46 (OT).  That game is set for a 5:30 p.m. start.   Bloomingdale (14-6) then hosts Gobles at 7:30 p.m.   The Cardinals lost to the Tigers 59-54 and 66-53 in their regular season meetings.

Listen back to Monday’s games below:
KALAMAZOO CHRISTIAN VS HARTFORD

GOBLES VS BANGOR

RECAP: Kalamazoo Central Defeats Battle Creek Central

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The Kalamazoo Central Maroon Giants topped the Battle Creek Central Bearcats in both boys and girls basketball Tuesday night, winning on their home floor 57-48 in boys play and 76-22 in girls play.    The boys contest stayed tight throughout with the Bearcats holding an 8-6 advantage after the first quarter.  K-Central started the second quarter on an 8-0 run, but a 13-3 finish from BCC put the Bearcats back up at the half, 21-17.

The third quarter saw five lead changes with the Maroon Giants leading after the third quarter, 40-34.  Neither team led by more than six until the fourth quarter, where K-Central finally started to pull away, in part due to free throw success.   They went 25-34 at the stripe, while the Bearcats were only 5-10.   The game did end with some jawing and bad blood and although a number of students ran onto the court after the game, no punches appeared to be thrown.

Isaiah Livers led K-Central with 21 points.  The future Michigan Wolvervine was also 9-13 at the free throw line, including a 6-6 run at the end.   Joshua Mann topped BCC with 14 points.   The win puts K-Central at 14-1 overall and at 8-0 in the SMAC East Division, securing the division title.   Next up for them is Gull Lake at home Friday.   The Bearcats drop to 13-3 overall and host Mattawan Friday.

Meanwhile, as expected by the records, the girls game was never in doubt, with a 76-22 final in favor of Kalamazoo Central.  They improve to 12-3 with the Bearcats dropping to 2-15.   BCC actually had the top scoring player in Tamera Gills, who scored 13 points.  12 players had a bucket K-Central, led by 11 from Anasia Harris.

Listen back to both contests below:
BOYS

GIRLS

PREVIEW: Comstock (13-2) Hosts Hackett Catholic (10-4) in Girls Basketball

bb-2-7Listen Tuesday evening live on the Slocum Sports Network to girls high school basketball as the Comstock Colts host the Hackett Catholic Irish.  Entering the contest, Comstock sits at 11-2 overall, tied for the BCS-Red Conference lead at 7-1 with Buchanan.   The Colts lost at Buchanan 37-33 on January 23, but avenged that defeat in their most recent contest, winning at home Friday 54-33.   Comstock’s only other loss was to Gull Lake (9-5) on December 13.   They’re averaging 50.5 points per game while allowing 35.9 per contest.

For Hackett Catholic, they dropped to 10-4 after a Monday overtime loss at Buchanan, 44-42.  They’ve lost two of their last three including a loss Galesburg-Augusta, who controls the Southwestern Athletic Conference Valley Division at 9-0 in league play, ahead of Schoolcraft (7-2) and Hackett (5-3).  All four of the Irish losses did come to teams with winning records and were decided by single-digit margins.   Hackett is averaging 48.7 points per game while allowing 33.2 per contest.

Last season, Comstock won over Hackett on the road, 46-36.  The Colts also two both contests the prior season (32-30, 37-31), which had started an annual meeting.   Comstock has had back-to-back winning seasons and can improve on last year’s win total (13) with a victory over Hackett.   Meanwhile, Hackett had a program-record 18 wins one year ago and would need a decent postseason run to reach that mark again.   Both schools are stocked with potential moving forward, as the top two scorers on both squads are underclassmen.

Listen to Tuesday’s girls contest live on the Slocum Sports Network with a scheduled varsity tip-off of 6:30 p.m.  While the girls meet at Comstock, these schools will also play Tuesday in boys action at Hackett.

RECAP: Kalamazoo United Claims First Regular Season League Title with 6-1 Win

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For the first time ever, Kalamazoo United has secured the regular season championship in the Southwest Michigan High School Hockey League (SWMHSHL).   United took the crown Saturday night with a 6-1 victory over the Blades of Southwest Michigan.    Based on their previous meeting’s overtime result (5-4 for United) and the first period, it appeared initially to be a very competitive match.  Both goalies had a strong first period with neither breaking until 2.4 seconds remained.  Quentin Cerutti scored, thanks to a great spin-o-rama assist from Noel Cavey, to give United the lead and momentum entering the first intermission.

Cavey scored 68 seconds into the second period to add to the lead and about four minutes later, Cerutti scored his second goal on a four-on-four to make the game 3-0.   The Blades had a golden opportunity midway through the period thanks to a major and minor United penalty, but all seven minutes, including a section of 5-on-3, was killed off.   United added two more goals late in the second, coming from Jacob Remelius and Cavey.   Noel then made it a hat-trick in the third period with the Blades getting the game’s final goal from Mason Fitch.

Cerutti finished with five points (two goals, three assists).  Cavey added an assist with his three goals.   Remelius had two assists with his goal.   The overall records go to 18-1-1 for United and 16-8-1 for the Blades.

As for the league standings, United moves to 8-1 and is guaranteed first, regardless of their game next Saturday with Mattawan.   At 6-2-1, the Wildcats are secured as second place in the standings.   The Blades are in fourth at 4-5, behind Portage Central at 5-4.   These two meet Wednesday with the winner taking third, as the Blades won their earlier meeting and would take the tiebreaker if they were to win again Wednesday.     The top four are locked in for the league tournament semifinals on February 15.

The bottom two spots are also determined, with the Kalamazoo Eagles fifth (2-6-1) and Portage Northern last (1-8).  Both of those teams also played Saturday and fell in non-conference play.   The Huskies dropped a 5-4 overtime bout to Lowell/Caledonia, with the Eagles losing 8-0 to Marysville.   The Eagles and Huskies play their final regular season league game against each other Wednesday.

Listen back to Saturday’s contest between United and the Blades below:

RECAP: Pennfield Boys/Girls Edge Harper Creek

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:

BOYS

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GIRLS

Working with Michigan Sports Radio

I’m proud to report that the Slocum Sports Network will be working with Michigan Sports Radio in the coming weeks.   They already do a nice job of getting more coverage out there for athletics in the state of Michigan and I’m looking forward to being able to help further that coverage.

Also, I’m humbled to already have some support from an established and successful brand.   Heck, their 12,000+ Twitter followers puts my legion of 128 to shame.   (Although, once games get going next week, I’ll finally have good reason to be active with updates and scores on Twitter.

They’ve got a very busy slate ahead as well for January, their full list of upcoming games can be found here.

Getting close now to getting underway, first broadcasts are set for next week!

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Initial Schedule

I’ve put together the tentative first two weeks of broadcasts for the Slocum Sports Network, listed below.   Obviously, it could be subject to change, but I’m thinking this will be a solid start.  Definitely ready to get things going soon!

DATE DAY SPORT HOME ROAD TIME
3-Jan Tue BBB Plainwell BC Lakeview 7:15 PM
4-Jan Wed HOCK Kalamazoo Eagles Mattawan 5:30 PM
4-Jan Wed HOCK SW Michigan Blades Portage Northern 7:45 PM
6-Jan Fri GBB Pennfield Harper Creek 6:00 PM
6-Jan Fri BBB Pennfield Harper Creek 7:30 PM
7-Jan Sat MBB KVCC Ancilla 3:00 PM
7-Jan Sat WBB KVCC Ancilla 1:00 PM
10-Jan Tue BBB Hackett Catholic Schoolcraft 7:00 PM
13-Jan Fri GBB Portage Northern Portage Central 5:45 PM
13-Jan Fri BBB Portage Northern Portage Central 7:15 PM