Author Archives: Jacob Szetela

LIONS SIGN SEVEN 2022 NFL DRAFT SELECTIONS

Detroit also signs 12 undrafted rookie free agents

Allen Park, Mich.— The Detroit Lions announced today that they have signed the following 2022 NFL Draft picks:

DL Aidan Hutchinson – Michigan
WR Jameson Williams – Alabama
Kerby Joseph – Illinois
TE James Mitchell – Virginia Tech
LB Malcolm Rodriguez – Oklahoma State
LB James Houston – Jackson State
CB Chase Lucas – Arizona State

In addition, the Lions have signed the following undrafted rookie free agents: 

RB Greg Bell – San Diego State
CB Cedric Boswell – Miami (Ohio)
TE Derrick Deese Jr. – San Jose State
Obinna Eze – TCU
TE Nolan Givan – Southeastern Louisiana
Kevin Jarvis – Michigan State
WR Josh Johnson – Tulsa
Zein Obeid – Ferris State
WR Kalil Pimpleton – Central Michigan
WR Corey Sutton – Appalachian State
DL Demetrius Taylor – Appalachian State
CB Jermaine Waller – Virginia Tech

The Lions will open at home on September 11, 2022 against the visiting Philadelphia Eagles.

Unity Christian Freshman Arie Landstra Sinks Hole in One

Arie Landstra began developing a love for the game of golf at a young age during outings to the course with his father. 8 years later, the Unity Christian freshman is in his first year of high school golf as part of the Crusader junior varsity golf team.

The individual nature of the game appeals to Landstra, “unlike the sports I play like basketball or football… there is a lot more of a mental game in golf.” That focus and mental game was tested last Wednesday when Unity Christian participated in a jamboree against five other schools at Pigeon Creek Golf Course.

Landstra opened with a slow start and triple bogeyed his very first hole. He shook off the nerves and managed to get clicking. By hole 17, a 170 yard par 3, he was in a rhythm. He approached the tee wielding his 7 iron and with the wind at his back. He entered his backswing and launched a beautiful shot that sailed towards the flag and disappeared from view.

Landstra was immediately overwhelmed by what he was almost certain he had seen and took off running towards the pin to verify it for himself. What he found was what all golfers aspire to achieve; his golf ball nestled soundly in the bottom of the cup. A hole in one.

He closed the day shooting a 41 on 9 holes, which placed him first as an individual and aided Unity Christian in sealing the team victory as well.

Landstra has checked this milestone off his bucket list, but several goals still stand before him. He hopes to close his freshman campaign with a winning record and work towards earning a spot on varsity next year. His long term goal is to raise a state championship trophy. He is certainly off to a great start.

Kent City Did It Again

There are few teams that lost as much as the Kent City Eagles did last spring as two all-time Kent City greats, Kenzie Bowers and Jenna Harrison, graduated. The two school and state record holders left the small town of Kent City, Michigan to continue their basketball careers in the collegiate ranks (Bowers at Illinois State and Harrison at Siena Heights).

One could have been forgiven for assuming the Eagles would take a step back in 2022, even as they brought back several key pieces of that historic run. The Eagles had other plans and have battled their way into the state final with an unblemished record for the second straight season after handling Madison Heights Bishop Foley with relative ease. The Eagles got a huge boost from junior guard Lexie Bowers, who was held to just 6 points in the state quarterfinal, but was on fire inside Breslin for the second straight year.

Last year the Eagles faced Grass Lake and Big 10 Indiana commit Lexus Bargesser & Northwood commit Gabi Lutchka. This year the Eagles advance to challenge another giant, Ypsilanti Arbor Prep.

The Gators are loaded with Division 1 talent and led by Texas A&M commit Mya Petticord and Bethune-Cookman commit Karianna Woods.

One could also be forgiven for thinking the Eagles should shift into “just glad to have made it” mode with such a task ahead of them Saturday evening. While Arbor Prep’s aggressive and physical style of play will be on display in the final, it should be expected to see a Kent City team ready to respond and play with a chip on their shoulder as well.

It is not often that the David in the “David and Goliath” metaphor is the defending state runner-up, but it is the place Kent City finds itself and the stigma they’ve been upending all season long on their way to a perfect 26-0 record going into the final matchup of the season with a state championship on the line.

Clean Sweep for Area Girls Basketball

The talents of west Michigan girls basketball were on full display Tuesday night. Kent City traveled an hour south to face Schoolcraft in the quarterfinal for a second year in a row, Rockford welcomed East Lansing just down the road at Calvin University and West Catholic faced undefeated Edwardsburg in Wayland.

A year after Kent City (25-0) routed Schoolcraft (finished season 23-2), the teams battled it out through four quarters of defensive brilliance. Schoolcraft managed to slow Kent City star, Lexie Bowers, and held her to just six points. However, sisters Emma and Maddie Geers played sister-sister and led the Eagles on the offensive end to the 34-33 victory. The Eagles will head to Breslin for the second time in school history in as many years. They will face Madison Heights Bishop Foley (20-3).

While it took the Kent City faithful four quarters to find out if their Eagles would advance, West Catholic (24-1) had their answer much earlier in the night. Undefeated Edwardsburg (finished season 24-1) was outmatched from the jump and never got their bearings. The Falcons ran away with things in the first half and did the unthinkable by forcing a running clock in the second half during the state quarterfinal. West Catholic advanced with the stunning 82-27 final. The Falcons are playing with a fire brought on by a heartbreaking exit last year, partially due to Covid protocols and will have something to prove against Detroit Country Day this Thursday.

The final showcase of west Michigan girls basketball talent was the Rockford Rams (23-2) and East Lansing Trojans (finished season 19-5). Both teams are stacked with stellar guards able to handle and shoot the ball with efficiency. East Lansing also had the unique aspect of a post presence in senior center, Ella Miller. Both teams played a hard-fought first half with Rockford freshman Anna Wypych giving a standout shooting performance on the way to a 23-21 lead at the break. East Lansing’s offensive efficiency waned in the third quarter after coming out hot in their first few possessions and fell behind double digits. The Trojans made several runs, but couldn’t sustain them long enough to overcome the Rams’ hot shooting touches. The Rams advanced to the state final with the 54-43 victory.

All three west Michigan programs advance, proving once again that west Michigan hosts some of the best girls basketball in the state and deserves more recognition in the state-wide hoops landscape.

Northview Advances to Face West Ottawa

The gym was electric on Tuesday night in Grand Haven, MI. Elite basketball talent was on display all evening and four teams entered the confines of Grand Haven High School with plans to leave with berths into the regional championship. The unfortunate nature of the post-season meant that two teams would be leaving empty-handed.

Wyoming narrowly led West Ottawa at the half and seemed to be in control of that slim margin for most of the second half, but things began to slip as desperation set in for West Ottawa. With their season on the line, they managed to put together a small run and gain the advantage. That put them in the driver’s seat and allowed them to play keep away for most of the final 6 minutes. That strategy put them at the line and the Panthers managed to sink all but a couple down the stretch. Despite mounting a spirited effort, Wyoming could not get over the hump and lost a battle in the regional semifinal.

The second matchup of the night was a slugfest between two favorites to go the distance this post-season. The unfortunate news was that the two would be facing one another in the round of 16. Muskegon seemed poised for the opportunity to upset Northview and Mr. Basketball finalist, Kyler VanderJagt. They jumped all over the Wildcats in the early going behind impassioned defense and incredible shooting.

Northview also found themselves as the beneficiary of severe foul trouble to three of its starters and top two scorers, VanderJagt and Jalen Charity. That meant the Wildcats had to turn to their bench and next level of scorers to deliver quality minutes and most importantly: points. Not only did the Wildcats answer the call, but managed to maintain a lead going into half.

The second half saw more tough fouls called against Northview’s scorers, but Charity was able to see prolonged minutes, while VanderJagt patiently waited for time to dwindle low enough to step back on the floor in a close contest. Northview’s balanced attack slowly began to drain the Big Reds and the lead began to expand. However, every time it looked like Northview might run away with it, Muskegon would mount another run that kept things hopping in the packed gymnasium. In the end, Northview played like a veteran roster and never lost their composure, even as Muskegon pulled within striking distance multiple times. That poise will be necessary if the Wildcats are going to achieve their goal of a state championship.

Northview will face West Ottawa in the regional final on Wednesday night as heavy favorites.

Kenzie Bowers and Illinois State Redbirds are Going Dancing

Just a year removed from leading the Kent City Eagles to their school’s first ever state championship game, Kenzie Bowers is flying high again as a true freshman with the Illinois State Redbirds. ISU just punched their ticket to the NCAA tournament after stunning victories in the Missouri Valley semifinal and final games.

Though Bowers’ role has looked much different this year than when she wore the red & white of Kent City, she has played an important one for the emergent Redbirds with stretches as a starter when others were down due to covid protocols and as a reliable player of the bench.

Whatever her role will be in the Redbirds opening matchup with #2 seed Iowa, it is certainly an incredible moment in her young collegiate career and one that many excellent players never achieve. Such a moment may not come again, but for now the Redbirds have this season and only one task in front of them: beat the Hawkeyes.

Area Teams Prepare for Big Playoff Matchups

Boys Basketball Roundup

Northview will have one of the best showdowns in the area as they face a battle-hardened Muskegon team in Grand Haven. Despite being favorites for much of the season and knocking off several giants throughout the regular season, Northview will have their hands full with Muskegon and stellar forward Ethan Hill. Northview has some players to be contended with as well and it will be tough for the Big Reds to slow down all of them. Expect Northview to not overlook this matchup even though they have bigger goals on the horizon.

A year removed from a trip to Breslin and a state runner-up finish, Tri-Unity Christian will look to continue their run this year with goals of taking down the title in star Brady Titus’ senior campaign. It’s championship or bust this year for the Crusaders.

Girls Basketball Roundup
Kent City is no stranger to long post-season runs and will not be unfamiliar with their state quarterfinal opponent, Schoolcraft. The two teams met last year in the quarterfinal round with Kent City dominating their way to a nearly 40 point victory. While both teams have been rolling again this year, Kent City has had to find a new identity behind first year head coach, Aleah Holcomb, and emerging playmakers Maddie Geers and Lexie Bowers with the Eagles losing several key pieces from the 2021 squad. Despite those key changes from last year, Kent City is certainly a favorite to emerge as the victor and head for their second ever trip to the Breslin Center later this week.

The Rockford Rams will have a tough matchup against visiting East Lansing at Calvin University on Tuesday Night. The Rams upset Hudsonville by 22, despite losing both regular season matchups by double digits. The Rams will have another tough test as they face a very well-rounded East Lansing team, which has been rolling as well the last month. This one could go either way, but the Rams will look to play the role of underdog again, but are fully capable of turning the tables as well.

West Catholic got revenge over Newaygo, the team responsible for knocking them out of the tournament last spring. While Newaygo may have got the better of the Falcons that day, West Catholic had vindication on the brain as two of their key players were out of that previous matchup due to covid protocols. This year was a different story and West Catholic dominated for the full 32 minutes. They will have a solid matchup in southern Michigan this Tuesday, but should come out the victors and head to Breslin later this week.

Other Teams in Action this Week

Calvin Christian High School
Sparta High School
Wyoming High School
West Ottowa High School
Grand Rapids Christian High School
Grand Rapids Catholic Central

Potter’s House Raises Banner and Downs Grand River Prep for Homecoming

There is an adage that spans the parlance of the battlefield to the chessboard to the gridiron: the best defense is a good offense. Well the Potter’s House Pumas set out to prove two things on Friday night at “The House.” The first was that the age old phrase fits the confines of the hardwood and that the inverse of the popular colloquialism is also apropos: The best offense is a good defense.

The Lady Pumas dominated the court with defensive pressure running the length of the gym and were able to keep the visiting Grand River Prep Titans from crossing halfcourt for what seemed like the majority of the game. Wave after wave of fresh players left the bench and entered play to continue the defensive onslaught, which generated fast break points on the offensive end. That in turn gave the Pumas a sizable advantage early in just the first few minutes of play and they made sure to never look back again.

The pressure proved too much for the Titans and the Pumas gave Potter’s House its first varsity victory of the Homecoming festivities.

Potter’s House was not done celebrating after the teams left the floor and the Puma faithful welcomed and honored their 2021 state champion soccer squad with a post-season highlight film and championship banner reveal. The spotlight glowed on the fresh vinyl and generated even more energy to the already raucous crowd.

Then it was the Puma boys’ turn to bask in the spotlight.

Despite being heavy favorites, the Pumas struggled to settle into the flow of the game early on and fell behind the Titans in the first quarter. However, a big second quarter run gave the Pumas the advantage going into half and some adjustments at the break broke any hopes the visitors had of playing spoiler in night’s finale.

Potter’s House was able to generate significant pressure all over the court and played with such ferocity and energy that, at times, it felt like they might have had eight defenders on the court. Like in the previous game, this pressure gave the Pumas high percentage looks on the offensive end and absolutely crushed the Titans in the second half.

The game entered mercy rule territory and the clock ran out, giving the Pumas the incredible 79-34 homecoming victory.

Comstock Park JV Basketball Takes Two Over Sparta

Rivalries always add an extra spark to the gym and Thursday night’s contests were no different in Comstock Park. Despite things being icy outside, the gym was on fire all night with stellar play on the court and excited fans in the stands.

The Comstock Park boys junior varsity fought off surge after surge by the Spartans in the final quarter and withstood the attack as it was elevated in the final minutes. The Panthers managed to seal the game at the free throw line and ran off the court in excited fashion.

The Panther girls took less time to establish their path to victory and were able to force turnovers by poking away the dribble or intercepting the Spartan pass attempts. Even with a solid lead, the game remained competitive with the Spartans refusing to quit against their rivals.

Both teams will meet again later in the season and it will be interesting to see how much the tides may turn in the intervening weeks.

Kelloggsville Rockets Grounded in League Play at Sparta

It didn’t take long for the Sparta Spartans to make it obvious that the Rockets were not cleared for takeoff on Thursday night.

Sparta got a bucket to fall and immediately put on the full court pressure, which proved too much for the Kelloggsville backcourt. That, in turn, led to chance after chance at putting the ball in the hoop on breakaways and opportunities for further full court defense.

It took less than a quarter for things to be out of reach for the visiting Rockets and the Spartans are primed for tonight’s rivalry matchup on the road against neighboring Comstock Park tonight.

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