Category Archives: Sports

Morley Stanwood Boys Win on the Road in Kent City

The Morley Stanwood Mohawks and Kent City Eagles put on a great performance in “The Nest” at Kent City High School on Wednesday night.

The Mohawks looked prepped to put a stamp on things with a full quarter to go, but some costly turnovers and some desperation play on Kent City’s end made things interesting until the final buzzer sounded. Despite pulling within two scores several times in the final minutes, the Eagles could not get over the hump and Mohawks took the CSAA road victory back with them on the 35 mile trip north to Morley Stanwood.

Morley Stanwood improves to 6-3 (5-0) while Kent City 5-4 (4-2) hopes to get things back on track this Friday on the road against Holton High School. The Mohawks were led by Ryland Nelson with 24 points and 14 from Carter Veldkamp. Kent City received high scores from Kyler Larson with 20 points and Casen Armstrong with 16 points.

Kent City Girls Withstand Mohawk Surge to Remain Unbeaten

The #2 ranked Division 3 Kent City varsity girls basketball team got their first test of the season last night when fellow CSAA conference power, Morley Stanwood, came to town.

While Kent City has run through the competition so far this season, their schedule gets intentionally harder in the coming weeks with contests against Morley Stanwood, East Grand Rapids, Muskegon and Cedar Springs. Morley Stanwood, for their part, hoped to establish themselves atop the CSAA standings with an upset on the road and managed to pull ahead twice in the third quarter on a free throw by junior guard Maddie Garbow and jumper from senior forward Brooke Brauher.

The two teams battled within a possession or two for the duration of the game. However, Kent City’s blistering pace began to take its toll on the Mohawks going into the fourth quarter and Kent City caught fire at just the right time with senior guard Jenna Harrison, who had been uncharacteristically cold from the floor most of the game, knocking down several triples towards the conclusion of the second half.

Kent City stretched the lead to a final score of 43-32 for the double digit victory that was much closer than the scoreboard would suggest. Harrison led the Eagles with 15 points and was helped by senior guard Kenzie Bowers with 12 points. The Mohawks were led by Brooke Brauher’s double-double of 11 points & 10 rebounds and Braelynn Berry’s 10 points & 9 rebounds. The #2 Eagles improve to 11-0 (6-0). The Mohawks drop to 7-3 (5-1).

Potter’s House Keeps Rolling Against Lakeview

The undefeated Potter’s House Pumas invited the visiting Lakeview Wildcats to “The House” on Tuesday night for a non-conference JV-Varsity girls basketball double header.

The first matchup of the night had all the drama and action one could want from a junior varsity contest.

The Pumas got the jump on the Wildcats and roared out to a 13-3 first quarter with six different Pumas getting on the board. The game looked firmly in hand when Lakeview shook things up in the second quarter.

Where the Pumas looked unbeatable in the first, Lakeview looked equally so in the second and the tables flipped with Lakeview out scoring the Pumas 7-3 for the quarter to bring the game to a respectable 16-10 halftime score.

Lakeview came out of the half with another strong quarter and again chipped into the formidable lead Potter’s House had built in the early going. Defensive pressure from the Wildcats led to a series of fast breaks and good looks in the paint. The teams entered the fourth quarter with a score of 21-17, but with momentum swinging in favor of the Wildcats.

Lakeview made things interesting halfway through the quarter when things got as close as 23-20 and the Wildcats looked ready to be pulling ahead when Potter’s House sophomore guard Abby Cox delivered an absolute dagger from way back and celebrated by jumping into the air as if the proverbial weight had literally been lifted off her shoulders. The Pumas rode that energy the rest of the way and finished the game on an unanswered run.

The Pumas were led by freshman guard, Erika Starks, who scored in every quarter and ended the night with 11 points. Lakeview was led by sophomores Olivia Davidson and Kaylie Wilcox, who netted 6 & 5 points, respectively.

Next came the varsity matchup.

The Pumas have been rolling this season, thanks in large part to a deep squad with loads of varsity experience finally making the turn towards being upperclassman heavy. Perhaps most surprising is not that they’ve been winning, but how they have been winning.

Potter’s House has always relied on a defense-first approach that has held teams to uncharacteristically low scoring outings. While that is still the end goal and result, the Pumas have also proved adept at getting the ball inside the iron this winter with a 30-point average margin of victory and a consistent 54 points per game.

That mark is far higher than recent memory and the consistency of the Puma attack can be traced back to the tireless work of veteran coach, Jake Hoogstrate, who has brought the girls program into Alliance League prominence with year on year improvement and a long list of capable scorers in 2021. Even when segments of the roster go cold, there are ample scorers available to take the reins for the night.

Tuesday night showed yet again that this Potter’s House squad is the real deal.

The game opened with Potter’s House ready to establish their dominance early, applying pressure to ball handlers and getting down the court on their way to several fast break buckets. When they were unable to connect on the layup they drew the foul and ended up at the charity stripe.

While the Pumas got out to a fast start and a 10-2 first quarter lead, the home team only got hotter, scoring 15 in the second and 18 in the third. With a sizable 25-10 halftime lead, the Pumas entered the break with things firmly in their control.

The second half continued down the same path behind an even bigger third quarter blitz giving them a 43-16 third quarter score and Potter’s House closed out the game 55-23. The game was every bit a team win and the Puma bench played a major role in the victory.

The Pumas were led by senior center Gift Omakpo with 12 points. The Pumas also got contributions from the bench with sophomores Joy McClendon and Emonne Craig finishing with 10 & 8 points, respectively. Lakeview got the bulk of their scoring from junior Courtney Grant who finished with 11 points.

Potter’s House sits at 5-0 after the win Tuesday night. They will be in action again on the road this Friday against conference rival Tri-Unity Christian.

Brauher Tops 1000 in Convincing Mohawk Victory

One word describes Morley Stanwood’s performance against the Evart Wildcats on Monday night: Efficiency.

Things looked evenly match in the early minutes, if one didn’t look up at the scoreboard, but the constant pressure from the Morley Stanwood defense, unrelenting ball movement & a diverse palate of scorers on offense had the Mohawks in charge of a substantial lead early in the game. The sneaky efficiency of their offensive and defensive attack made the gargantuan lead even more shocking when a narrow lead stretched incredibly in just a few short minutes. They never looked back.

The Mohawks took control early in the second quarter behind Brauher and junior Madison Garbow, who delivered points in waves for the home team. Brauher continuously cut through the Evart defense like a hot knife through butter in a way that managed to be equal parts grace & power and finished under or around defenders with her long reach on several finger roll buckets.

It didn’t take long for the Morley Stanwood senior standout to eclipse 1000 career points on Monday night. Despite a delayed start and abbreviated season, the Trine University commit passed the milestone just five and a half games into her final season for the Mohawks on an “and one” just before halftime.

The fateful bucket came in the waning moments of the first half when Brauher drove the right side of the lane, finished an aggressive layup and drew the foul as the ball dropped through the iron. She hit the free throw, giving her 13 at that point in the night and number 1001 for her career. The Mohawk faithful presented her a ceremonial basketball to commemorate the moment and broke into locker rooms for halftime.

Coming out after the half with a 32-8 lead, Morley Stanwood seemed determined to get their deep bench some varsity experience. Evart, for their part, seemed determined to make that varsity experience a baptism by fire.

Despite trailing big, the Wildcats began applying renewed energy in their half court defense and even went to full court pressure in an attempt to boost possessions in the third and fourth quarters. The strategy worked as much as it could and Evart forced a series of turnovers that led to fast break points at the other end. The Mohawk lead got trimmed to just under 20 with four minutes remaining before some strategic subbing helped get some experience on the court to pair with the next generation of Mohawks.

The Mohawks finished the game over Evart with a score of 49-31. Morley Stanwood was led by Brauher and Garbow with 17 & 11 points, respectively. Evart was led by Baumgardner with 15 points.

All in all, the conclusion was never in doubt and the Mohawks showed they will be a formidable squad in the CSAA runnings and beyond this year. They will face a challenging test with Big Rapids coming to town this Wednesday in what is sure to be an exiting night of basketball.

Holton Boys Defeat Kent City in CSAA Defensive Showdown

Friday night was a hotly contested battle between the visiting Red Devils of Holton High School and the hosting Eagles of Kent City. While the teams split contests last year, with the Eagles walloping the Red Devils in the first matchup and losing a closer contest a month later, both teams have largely retooled in the past year.

The Eagles graduated several key seniors in 2020, including leading scorer and current Grace University Tiger, Eli Carlson. Holton, for their part, brought a deep class of juniors and a new cast of underclassmen to pair with seniors Aidan Poling and Joseph McLean.

While both teams showed elements of inexperience with younger rosters than in some years past, the defensive grit showed by both teams was evident from the jump (figuratively in 2021). Despite early pressure defense from the Eagles, the Red Devils were able to capitalize on elongated ball movement against the zone pressure applied by Kent City and found open shooters for triples.

The Eagles soon found their footing and answered on a run of their own behind the shooting of senior Casen Armstrong and junior Hayden Carlson, which managed to see them holding a narrow 9-8 lead after the first quarter. Holton began to figure things out again offensively and pushed their way to a halftime score of 18-14 over the home team.

Both teams came out of the halftime break with a plan to put points on the board and wear down each other’s extensive defensive pressure. Despite each team pouring in more points in the second half, the Eagles proved unable to narrow the halftime deficit and closed the game with a 4-point 42-38 loss in CSAA play. The Eagles were led by 20 points from Hayden Carlson and 11 points from sophomore Kyler Larson.

Familiar Faces Share Milestones as Kent City Girls Best Holton

Kenzie Bowers and Jenna Harrison have become so synonymous with Kent City varsity basketball in the last four years, that one just assumes they will be back again next year. The two guards have played with such poise and skill throughout their four year varsity careers that they could have been confused for seniors many times along the way. One wonders if opposing coaches have looked ahead to the forthcoming Kent City roster each year and thought, “They are coming back again?!”

Despite so much of the focus in Kent City being put on the team and program as a whole, a tall task when the town of just over a thousand people carries a roster with a four time all-state nominee and Miss Michigan Basketball candidate (Bowers), the level of camaraderie has been by design and is a testament to one of the things that makes high school sports so special: community.

While this year’s senior class has had a lasting impact on the Kent City program, one need only take a cursory look at the underclassmen and even youth programs to see that the end is not in sight for this small town powerhouse. However, when the visiting Holton Red Devils came to town on Friday night, it was clear that the torch was not yet ready to be passed and the two familiar faces of Harrison and Bowers, covered in masks this season, donned the numbers 4 & 23 once again, showing just how much they have meant to a program they have represented the last four years.

The game opened with Holton showing they were prepared to fight it out with everything they had until the final buzzer, but it soon became clear that Kent City was simply too much for the Red Devils. Defensive pressure forced turnover after turnover, seemingly leading to an assembly line of scores, coming courtesy of the entire Eagle roster and culminated in Bowers scoring her 1500th career point on route to a 24-0 first quarter and a 48-0 halftime score. Just a couple minutes into the second half, Harrison netted her 1000th point; fittingly on a three point attempt. Despite being shut out in the first half, the Red Devils kept their spirits and competitiveness high on their way to a few big buckets in the second half. Despite the valiant effort, the Eagles finished the game with a convincing 79-9 CSAA victory.

All seven Eagles got on the board with notable performances by junior Kierra Flegel and sophomore Lexie Bowers, who each scored a dozen points off the bench.

While much of the Eagles’ success the last four years can be attributed to the senior duo of Kenzie Bowers and Jenna Harrison, it is a testament to the program and the girls, themselves, that it has never felt more “about them” than their level of play has dictated. They have made their mark in Kent City history with an incredible level of unassuming humility that lets their play do all the talking. Despite witnessing two players reach such incredible individual career milestones, fanfare (diminished this season with fan limitations) was mild and marked by small celebrations with family and friends following the game.

Even on a night that these girls could be forgiven for making it about their individual accolades, it is clear that there is a singular focus on the horizon and one that they all hope to celebrate together as a team.

The Eagles will have a few tests early next month as they take on league-rival Morley Stanwood and class A Muskegon in their march towards the postseason. The games will be an important challenge for a team that is likely to run through most of its schedule heading into district play and will need that demanding point of reference when they inevitably face the challenges of a deep tournament run this spring.

Kent City Breaks Hart but not Broken Hearted on Valentine’s Day Eve

Kent City girls basketball was back in action on Saturday afternoon with a JV-Varsity doubleheader against the visiting Hart Pirates.

The JV Eagles were less than a week removed from the unheard of, a basketball shutout, against Lakeview. However, the Hart junior varsity dominated their way to victory behind stellar performances from the trio of Abby Hicks, Savanna Owens and Rayah Helenhous. The Pirates also received contributions from the rest of the squad, as all players saw time at the Nest.

The junior varsity Eagles struggled to gain traction out of the gate and fell behind after the first quarter, 8-3, on a single corner triple. Things picked up slightly for the Eagles in the second, while the Pirates kept a steady pace and the teams entered halftime with a score of 17-10 in favor of Hart. The Pirates again proved too much for the Kent City junior varsity and closed the third out 27-15 before ending the game with a final score of 35-22.

The afternoon was just getting started, however, and the varsity Eagles took the court and looked to defend the Nest in front of a crowd diminished by covid restrictions and far smaller than what has become the norm in Kent City over the years.

Despite restrictions, the Kent City faithful are thrilled to be watching their home team again. Kent City fans have watched and waited for this year, as the ’21 senior class looks to make one last run at a title, after contributing three of the most successful years in the program’s history. While fans’ and Hart’s attention was once again focused on stopping the one-two punch of seniors Kenzie Bowers and Jenna Harrison, it was a player from the ’24 senior class making waves early while sporting a jersey number to match.

Freshman Maddie Geers has wasted little time making a name for herself on a team with several faces on the Kent City Mt. Rushmore still active, which is a tall task for the guard in only her third varsity contest. However, what she lacks in high school experience, she makes up for in effort, court savvy and a blossoming set of skills that will likely be integral to Kent City’s success this season. Saturday proved once again that her role in 2021 will be an important one and she established herself early with several scores, including 10 consecutive Eagle points and defensive plays that countered an early blitz by the Hart Pirates.

While Maddie Geers may be a rather new face to Kent City High School fans, there was no shortage of traditional sights on Saturday. The game featured pillars of the Eagle program: stellar three point shooting, a tenacious full court press and a desire to spread the ball around to a seemingly endless supply of shooters.

The Eagles resisted the initial Pirate flurry that left them trailing 5-0 early and closed the first quarter, 18-8.

While the Eagles seem to run player after player onto the court that is capable of scoring and playing lockdown defense, the Kent City bench is shallower than most at just 8 players. The Eagles experienced further decimation to their bench when senior Alyssa Larson went down with her second of back to back season ending knee injuries, leaving just 7 players to cycle on and off.

Despite heavy pressure and reduced oxygen intake under MHSAA mask mandates this season, the Eagles conditioning appeared to withstand the adversity. However, three-time All State guard, Kenzie Bowers found herself in foul trouble early with 3 personal fouls in the first half. Foul trouble will have to be avoided at all costs this season if Kent City is to have success with a short bench and their brand of high intensity play.

While Bowers and Harrison justifiably draw much of the attention from defenses, the squad received tremendous boosts on the offensive and defensive ends from Lexi Bowers, Taryn Preston, Emma Geers, the previously mentioned Maddie Geers and the support of junior Kierra Flegel; proving that this season will be a team effort in the truest sense of the word. Kent City managed to enter halftime with an impressive 31-14 lead that felt much closer when watching the two teams in competition.

Following the break, Hart made halftime adjustments and came out in a zone defense, after struggling in man-to-man for the first 16-minutes. Kent City recognized the switch and seemed content to rest on the sizable lead they had created in the first half. This forced the Pirates to begin pressuring the ball and attempt several corner traps. While the defense did lead to a few mistakes and a couple timeouts by the Eagles, it was quickly apparent that the strategy would not yield enough possessions to trim the gap set out in the first half. Another timeout came with 1:55 left in the third and the Eagles having extended their lead to 38-19, allowing just five points in 6-minutes of game clock and with only 10-minutes remaining.

The Pirates continued to battle in the fourth, but came up short with a final score of 50-27. Kenzie Bowers led the Eagles scorers with 17 and Hart junior, Jayd Hovey, was the game’s high scorer with 18.

The Eagles certainly looked sloppy at times, but the emphatic victory cannot be understated against a very solid Hart team that seemed to match up very well in terms of athleticism and skill against Kent City. The matchup was an early test for a squad that will be receiving every team’s best effort this season. Kent City will be back in action again on Monday as they face another challenging matchup with the visiting Grand Rapids Christian in a battle of Eagles at the Nest.

Hunter Dickinson Nets Freshman of the Week Honors for 2nd Straight Week

Hunter Dickinson has been named Big 10 Freshman of the Week for the second time in as many weeks.

The 7’1” center from Alexandria, VA AVERAGED 19 points on 68% shooting, 7 rebounds and 3.5 blocked shots in wins over Toledo (4-3) and Penn State (3-2) to help the Maize & Blue remain undefeated and improve to 6-0. The win in their 2020-2021 conference schedule has propelled the Wolverines into the top 25 for the first time this season at the 25 spot.

Michigan has largely been untested thus far with a schedule comprised of mostly Mid-American Conference and other mid-Major programs. However, reasons to cheer have been in short supply so far this year with several sports being postponed and a flailing football team.

They will face a struggling Nebraska team (3-3) and an interesting battle with Maryland (4-1) to close out the 2020 calendar.

Nevertheless, the Wolverines have exceeded expectations with several significant graduations or transfers from last year’s squad. Whether this early season success will last or is simply a mirage should be more clear in the coming weeks.

Fifth Annual Big Ten Women’s Basketball Preview Tips Off Wednesday

ROSEMONT, Ill. – With the 2020-21 women’s college basketball season rapidly approaching, the Big Ten Conference will hold its annual Women’s Basketball Preview this Wednesday-Friday, Nov. 11-13.

Now in its fifth year, the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Preview continues to reimagine the traditional preseason media day event, expanding it into several days of coverage dedicated entirely to all 14 Big Ten women’s basketball programs. What’s more, the complete Big Ten Women’s Basketball Preview content package is available online and on demand, whether on the Preview Central web site or through the Big Ten’s social media channels.


This year’s Big Ten Women’s Basketball Preview is expected to feature the most robust collection of content in the event’s five-year history, focusing on all 14 Big Ten women’s basketball programs, from interviews and highlights to feature stories, creative digital and social media offerings and unique behind-the-scenes access as the 2020-21 women’s basketball season gets started later this month.

Big Ten Men’s Basketball 2020-21 Preseason Honors Announced

ROSEMONT, Ill. — Iowa senior center Luka Garza has been chosen as the Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year heading into the 2020-21 men’s basketball season, as voted on by a panel of conference media members. Garza was selected as the Big Ten Player of the Year in 2019-20 after leading the Hawkeyes to a 20-11 overall record with an 11-9 finish in Big Ten play. He is the second consecutive student-athlete to earn Player of the Year and then be selected as the Preseason Player of the Year the following season. Former Michigan State Spartan Cassius Winston received the preseason accolade in 2019-20 after claiming postseason honors following the 2018-19 season. 

The media also selected a 10-member Preseason All-Big Ten Team with eight conference programs represented.

Garza, along with Illinois junior guard Ayo Dosunmu, were unanimous selections to the Preseason All-Big Ten Team. Illinois sophomore center Kofi Cockburn, Indiana sophomore forward Trayce Jackson-Davis, Iowa junior guard/forward Joe Wieskamp, Michigan State junior forward Aaron Henry, Minnesota junior guard Marcus Carr, Purdue junior forward Trevion Williams, Rutgers senior guard Geo Baker and Wisconsin senior forward Nate Reuvers also earned preseason accolades.

Garza and Dosunmu earned first-team media All-Big Ten honors in 2019-20. Carr, Cockburn, Jackson-Davis, Reuvers and Wieskamp were third-team media selections while Baker and Williams collected honorable mention plaudits last year. Cockburn and Jackson-Davis were also All-Freshman Team honorees.

2020-21 PRESEASON BIG TEN PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Luka Garza, Senior Center, Iowa

2020-21 PRESEASON ALL-BIG TEN TEAM

Kofi Cockburn, Sophomore Center, Illinois

Ayo Dosunmu, Junior Guard, ILLINOIS (Unanimous)

Trayce Jackson-Davis, Sophomore Forward, Indiana

Luka Garza, Senior Center, Iowa (Unanimous)

Joe Wieskamp, Junior Guard/Forward, Iowa

Aaron Henry, Junior Forward, Michigan State

Marcus Carr, Junior Guard, Minnesota

Trevion Williams, Junior Forward, Purdue

Geo Baker, Senior Guard, Rutgers

Nate Reuvers, Senior Forward, Wisconsin

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