RECAP: Katje’s 24 Points Lifts Kalamazoo Christian Over Bloomingdale in Boys Opener

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The Kalamazoo Christian Comets opened the boys basketball season Tuesday with a 53-41 victory over district rival Bloomingdale.   Senior Jordan Katje led the way offensively for the Comets, scoring 24 points, 22 of which came off field goals.  He also nabbed 13 rebounds.

The Comets had the game’s opening basket, but trailed for much of the first quarter.   Bloomingdale ended the first ahead 12-9, but were outscored 19-8 in the second for a 28-20 Comet advantage by halftime.   The Cardinals were three-pointer heavy in the first half, draining five triples.   However, they could only add two more in the second half.  Kalamazoo Christian extended the lead to as many as 17 in the third quarter.

Kalamazoo Christian travels to Saugatuck for their second game of the season Friday.  Bloomingdale returns to action at Eau Claire next Tuesday.    Listen back to Tuesday’s game below:

KALAMAZOO CHRISTIAN SCORING: Jordan Katje 24, Sean Cummings 9, Noah De Jong 8, John Cramer 6, Colin Sikkenga 4, Ben Cramer 2

BLOOMINGDALE SCORING: Karl Butler 9, Tyler Starbuck 8, Eric Gumpert 6, Austin Cripps 6, JoJo Butler 5, Michael Ellis 3, Tim Douglas 3, Tyler Campbell 1

PREVIEW: Portage Northern Plays Kalamazoo Eagles, Mattawan Meets Blades

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Listen live online Wednesday evening on the Slocum Sports Network to a high school hockey doubleheader at Wings West.  Up first at 5:30 p.m. is Portage Northern against the Kalamazoo Eagles, followed by Mattawan and the Blades of Southwest Michigan around 7:45 p.m.

Both the Eagles (0-2-0) and Huskies (0-1-0) are looking for their first win in SWMHSHL play.  The Eagles enter at 1-4-0 overall with Portage Northern at 1-5-0.   They met three times last year with the Huskies winning the most recent game, 4-2 in the conference tournament.   They split their regular season matches with a 5-4 Husky overtime win and a 5-2 Eagle win.

In game two, neither Mattawan (2-0-0) or the Blades (1-0-0) have been defeated by a league foe.    The Wildcats are 2-3-1 overall with the Blades at 6-1-0 thus far.   Mattawan won their tournament semifinal game last year over the Blades 5-0, plus got 6-4 and 6-1 regular season wins.   Mattawan has won at least 16 consecutive meetings over the Blades, according to the SWMHSHL’s scores listed back to the 2011-12 season.

Listen live to both games Wednesday online on the Slocum Sports Network with Portage Northern/Eagles at 5:30 p.m. and Mattawan/Blades around 7:45 p.m.

PREVIEW: Kalamazoo Christian Boys Open Against District Foe Bloomingdale

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Listen live online Tuesday evening around 7 p.m. on the Slocum Sports Network to high school boys basketball with the Kalamazoo Christian Comets hosting the Bloomingdale Cardinals.   These teams are in the same district for the sixth consecutive season, although they’ve not faced each other during that stretch.

Kalamazoo Christian finished 18-8 last season and made it as far as the Class C state quarterfinal.   The Comets graduated four seniors from last season’s team, including their leading scorer, Alex Visser.   They bring back six seniors and one junior who saw significant varsity time, including first-team SAC Valley selection Jordan Katje.

Bloomingdale went 14-7 last season in a huge turnaround from the five combined wins they had over the previous three seasons.  The Cardinals graduated top-scorer and rebounder Zaquarius Jeffries, who earned honorable mention All-State.   Notably back are first-team SAC Central pick Karl Butler and SAC Central honorable mention Michael Ellis.

Listen live to Tuesday’s game online on the Slocum Sports Network with tip-off scheduled for around 7 p.m., pending the JV game.

RECAP: Portage Central Downs Kenowa Hills, Grand Haven Drops United

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Saturday afternoon had teams from the SWMHSHL facing the OK Conference at Wings West, with both leagues getting a win.  Portage Central defeated Kenowa Hills 6-2 for their first win of the season.   Grand Haven bested Kalamazoo United 4-1 to get above the .500 mark.

Portage Central scored the first two goals of their game midway through the first period, first from Jaden Sorenson, then shorthanded by Skyler Sorenson.   Michal Boor put the Knights on the board before the end of the first.    PC then won the second period 3-0 off goals by Skyler Sorenson (powerplay), Konnor McLeod (shorthanded), and Canyon Morse.

The Mustangs added one more from McLeod on a powerplay in the third with Kenowa Hills getting their second score from Brendan Deneen.   Things got heated in the final two minutes with fighting breaking out, leading to three ejected players for both teams.  Unofficially, Portage Central goalie Gannon Miller made 23 saves.   Kenowa Hills’ Derek Smith had 29.   The Mustangs improve to 1-2-0 and Kenowa Hills drops to 0-5-0.

The other game was scoreless after the first period, despite Grand Haven winning the shots on goal battle 16-4.   Kalamazoo United drew multiple penalties in the second period and the Buccaneers made them pay, getting two powerplay goals by Branden Beeler and one from Jake Johnson.   Beeler added an even-strength goal late in the second to put Grand Haven up 4-0.   United’s Matthew Romano got his team’s lone goal in the third.

Unofficially, United goalkeeper Jake Gerhard had 46 saves in the loss.   Grand Haven’s Finn Bylsma had 17.   The Buccaneers improve to 3-2-1 overall and Kalamazoo United falls to 1-2-0.

United’s next game is Saturday at Northview.  Grand Haven neets Hudsonville at home on Friday, December 15.  Kenowa Hills hosts Jenison Wednesday.  Portage Central battles Detroit Country Day Saturday at Lawson Arena.

Listen back to Saturday’s games below:

UNITED VS GRAND HAVEN

PORTAGE CENTRAL VS KENOWA HILLS

RECAP: Gobles Locks Down Hackett in 4th Quarter for 36-23 Win

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The Gobles defense gets into position in the first quarter against Hackett Catholic

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.

PREVIEW: Kalamazoo United Faces Grand Haven, Portage Central Meets Kenowa Hills/Fruitport

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Listen live online Saturday afternoon on the Slocum Sports Network to a high school hockey doubleheader at Wings West.  Game one at 2:15 p.m. features Kalamazoo United against Grand Haven, followed by game two around 4:30 p.m. between Portage Central and Kenowa Hills/Fruitport.

Kalamazoo United sits at 1-1-0 overall, getting their first win Wednesday over the Kalamazoo Eagles.   Grand Haven enters the weekend at 1-2-1 with three of their four games going to overtime and all four decided by one goal.   Last December, Kalamazoo United beat Grand Haven 3-1, getting 38 saves from goalie Mitch Kihm.

Portage Central enters the weekend at 0-2-0 with Kenowa Hills/Fruitport at 0-3-1.  The Mustangs and Knights did not meet last season.   Their last meeting came in January 2015, a 2-1 Kenowa Hills win.

Listen live to both games online Saturday on the Slocum Sports Network with United/Grand Haven at 2:15 p.m. and Portage Central/Kenowa Hills around 4:30 p.m.

PREVIEW: Hackett Catholic Hosts Gobles in District Rematch

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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.

RECAP: Kalamazoo United, Mattawan Earn 4-1 Victories

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Kalamazoo United’s Jake Gerhard made 44 saves in Wednesday’s victory

Kalamazoo United and Mattawan picked up SWMHSHL victories Wednesday evening, as United topped the Kalamazoo Eagles and the Wildcats beat Portage Northern, both by finals of 4-1.   Both winners saw great goaltending as United’s Jake Gerhard made 44 saves and Mattawan’s Shaffer Moore tallied 34.

In the first game, Kalamazoo United’s Brenden Warner scored the opening goal with 10:28 remaining on the first.   The Eagles seemed to have a big opportunity midway through the second off a major penalty against United, but the Hams picked up a shorthanded goal by Garrett Warner.  The Eagles committed a major of their own late in the second and found themselves in a 5-on-3 situation, which United’s Topher Strunk used for a powerplay goal and a 3-0 lead entering the second intermission.

The Eagles scored their goal with 14:29 left thanks to Carter Maxey, but couldn’t beat Gerhard again, despite 20 shots on goal in the third period.   Brenden Warner tallied an empty net goal for the 4-1 final, giving him a three point night off two goals and one assist.   Eagle goalie Huston Born had 24 saves.  United’s win gives them a 1-0-0 start to league play and puts them at 1-1-0 overall.   The Eagles fall to 1-3-0 overall and 0-2-0 within the SWMHSHL.

In the second game, Mattawan’s Jason Moreau scored with 13:27 to go in the first period.   The 1-0 score held until Moreau struck again early in the second.   With 4:59 remaining in the second, Niko Stamas grabbed a Mattawan powerplay goal.   In the final minute, Jake Kruzich added a shorthanded goal for a 4-0 Wildcat lead.   Portage Northern’s lone score came early in the third period on a powerplay from Will Todd.

Kruzich finished with a three point night on his goal and assists on both Moreau goals.  Husky goalie Peter Todd had 22 saves.   Mattawan is 2-0-0 in league play and 2-1-1 overall, Portage Northern drops to 0-1-0 in league action and 1-4-0 overall.

Mattawan hosts West Ottawa Friday at Wings West, then travels Saturday against St. Joseph/Lakeshore.  Portage Northern heads to Jackson Saturday night.   The Kalamazoo Eagles make the trip to Northview Saturday.   Kalamazoo United hosts Grand Haven Saturday afternoon.

Listen back to Wednesday’s games below:

UNITED VS EAGLES – Box Score

MATTAWAN VS PORTAGE NORTHERN – Box Score

RECAP: Comstock Girls Open Season with 58-39 Win Over Vicksburg

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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:

PREVIEW: United Faces Eagles, Wildcats Battle Huskies

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Listen live online Wednesday on the Slocum Sports Network to a high school hockey doubleheader from Wings West.   Game one at 5:30 p.m. features Kalamazoo United against the Kalamazoo Eagles.  Game two around 7:45 p.m. has the Mattawan Wildcats versus the Portage Northern Huskies.

Wednesday will be the first Southwest Michigan High School Hockey League (SWMHSHL) game for Kalamazoo United, as they look to defend their regular season and tournament championship from last season.  It will be United’s second overall match, as they fell 4-2 in their opener at Canton on November 18.

Meanwhile, the Eagles lost their SWMHSHL opener last Wednesday 4-0 against Mattawan.    They’re still searching for their first win as well, sitting at 0-2-1 overall.   United’s lone league loss last season came to the Eagles, as they split their 16-17 meetings.   The Eagles won 4-3 on January 18, with United victorious 9-2 on December 14.

Like United, Portage Northern plays their first league game Wednesday.   They’re 1-3-0 thus far, with their most recent game Saturday in a 5-4 loss to Grand Haven.  Mattawan won their league opener last week against the Eagles.   It was their first overall win as well, with the Wildcats at 1-1-1.

Mattawan beat the Huskies twice last season, 3-1 on January 14 and 9-6 on December 7.   They split their meetings two seasons ago, with the last Portage Northern win on January 27, 2016.

Listen live to Wednesday’s doubleheader online on the Slocum Sports Network.   Kalamazoo United meets the Kalamazoo Eagles at 5:30 p.m., followed by Mattawan versus Portage Northern around 7:45 p.m.