Category Archives: Sports

Central Michigan Men Hold On against Ball State

After the first game of the day in which Central Michigan women dazzled the home crowd against Toledo, the men kept things going strong into the evening in their conference matchup with visiting MAC West leader, Ball State.

Trailing the Cardinals by just a game in the division, both teams seemed to be riding different strategies to success in the first half.

Ball State got into the lane early and often on multiple floating layups or jumpers and a great post performance by senior forward Tahjai Teague that was more impressive than his stat line would indicate as several trips to the line came up mostly empty. Central struggled to stop the efficient tendencies of the Cardinals throughout much of the first half.

Central Michigan on the other hand struggled inside the arch for much of the first half, but traded every few buckets with a three point dart that kept things close. CMU ended the half with a 33-27 lead.

The second half opened up as both teams were able to establish the fast break on a few occasions that led to rim crushing dunks. CMU established a firm grip on things midway through the second half, but stalled as they began to allow things to run deep into the shot clock offensively. The strategy did not pay off and momentum began to shift rather quickly back in favor of the Cardinals who went on a 11-3 run that got them as close as two points after appearing to be without any answer for the Chippewas.

Perhaps the biggest difference maker was forcing Ball State to make uncharacteristic mistakes who tallied a shocking 28 turnovers in the game. The Chippewas improve to a tie in the MAC West with Ball State and a 10-1 record at home this season. Dallas Morgan led the Chippewas with 21 points. Tahjai Teague led the Cardinals with 17.

CMU travels on the road to face Miami Ohio for the second time this MAC season after defeating the Redhawks by 11 earlier this month at McGuirk.

Central Michigan Women topple another MAC Giant to maintain 1st Place

If you are waiting for the Central Michigan women to slow down or show their mortality in this tough stretch of opponents, you will have to wait at least a little longer. The Chippewas have faced a grueling schedule of top MAC West opponents in recent weeks and found ways to win them in convincing ways ranging from surprising blowouts to desperate play that only champions can apply to the offhand game in the dog days of January’s basketball schedule. It seems the CMU women are not content to let a single game to escape them the rest of the way as they prepare for another run in March.

Saturday afternoon was no different.

Playing in front of a rowdy packed house at McGuirk arena, the Chippewas met Toledo for an opportunity at extending their winning streak. The home crowd was certainly nervous on more than one occasion, but gritty, cerebral and tenacious play gave the Chippewas another win in the MAC and sent the Toledo Rockets back to Ohio disappointed.

The Rockets didn’t go lightly, either, as a late run had fans on the edge of their seat between pandemonious standing ovations following relentless big plays by the Chippewas. AS things appeared just about ready to be closed out, Mikayla Kelly drove down the right side of the lane and kicked the ball to Maddy Watters in the corner who passed on a three point attempt and drove to the basket, absorbing a hard foul, and putting up a contested shot that bounced and hung on the rim several times before dropping in and sending her to the line.

The crowd went wild and CMU president, Robert O. Davies, was loving every moment of it. So were the ladies of Central Michigan. The held on for another win in the MAC that puts them at 14-4 (6-0). Toledo drops to 9-7 (4-1).

Undefeated No Longer: Kent City Pours it on to deliver Morley Stanwood Boys/Girls 1st Losses

In what could only have been called must-see high school action in rural West Michigan, four teams traveled from Morley Stanwood to Kent City in a rescheduling of games that were postponed due to a possible ice storm.

The games may have been postponed, but Morley Stanwood ran into a storm of a different kind on Tuesday night.

With JV Girls and Boys splitting courts between the middle school and high school in the interest of time, fans were warmed up for a night of CSAA Silver intraleague action. The Kent City JV boys battled back to beat the Mohawks by four points and the JV girls bested MSHS by double digits with a standout performance by freshman post-player, Abby Pecynski, who hauled in an incredible 18 rebounds for the Eagles.

With two wins under their belt, the Kent City Eagles prepared to take center stage for the main events of the night: two varsity matches with conference championship implications.

The first game of the night was between the lady Eagles (9-1) and Mohawks (8-0). Morley Stanwood came into Kent City boasting an undefeated record and the one-loss Eagles looked to bring momentum from a conference drubbing of Hesperia and victorious battle against class A and local foe Cedar Springs in the week preceding Tuesday’s showdown at The Nest.

Many in attendance likely assumed they were in for a real (and rare) treat, a tight game of highly contested basketball. What they witnessed was far from outside the ordinary and more of what Kent City faithful have come to expect from the Eagle women in recent years. Namely, absolute domination from tip off to buzzer.

A week earlier at home, the Eagles had used a high pressure full court defense and a searing combination of dribble drives and three point shooting to jump out to an early lead against Hesperia. However, such a start seemed far less likely against the undefeated Mohawks.

It happened again.

Kent City got hot early by forcing offensive turnovers and errors, which set up the Eagle three point attack by Jenna Harrison, who hit several in just the first few minutes. Mikayla Loew and both Lexie & Kenzie Bowers joined in the barrage. The Eagles eventually finished the game with an astonishing 16 three point buckets.

With the scoring in full swing it looked like Kent City was in position to hold a solid lead, which could resist a likely run by the Mohawks. No run ever happened, however, and Kent City continued to build upon their lead before closing out the game with a jaw-dropping 75-33 win over the previously undefeated Mohawks.

The boys game also professed to give fans a great battle between conference leaders, but while the girls game had come to a shocking, though anticlimactic end, the boys game proved to be all it was predicted to be. Morley Stanwood (7-0) also entered the game with an undefeated record, though the Eagles (4-3) had posted similar scores against mutual opponents.

Morley Stanwood started fast in the second game with a host of open three point shots generated off of sagging help defense by the Eagles trying to take away the dribble-drive by hyper-athletic senior guards Aiden McLaughlin & Axel Woolworth.

Kent City was able to withstand the spree and began generating offense on the other end through a combination of cutting drives by senior guard, Eli Carlson, and superbly fundamental post play by fellow senior, Shawn Anderson. The two gave Kent City several early buckets while the rest of their scorers got going and both teams settled into the flow of the game defensively.

Things went into the second half with neither team looking as though they were ready to put the game out of reach. Each successive run was quickly answered, which kept things close late into the third quarter.

Kent City managed a huge run that got them up by double digits in the fourth before Morley Stanwood mounted another comeback and looked to put the game in striking distance in the final minute as Kent City held a narrow one point lead.

Morley Stanwood managed to foul after a wide open Shawn Anderson wisely passed on a corner three to run time and force the Mohawks to scramble to foul. A haphazard three point attempt by Morley Stanwood was no good and the Eagles knocked off the previously unbeaten Mohawks 67-61.

Western Michigan Hockey Dominates Colorado College for Second Straight Night

The weather outside was frightful. Vehicles were piling into ditches, snow was piling into large drifts and the Western Michigan Broncos were piling goals on the scoreboard.

WMU kept things rolling on Saturday night with the second straight victory over the visiting Colorado College Tigers at Lawson Ice Arena.

The Broncos controlled the puck for most of the night and managed to hold the Tigers at bay by forcing quick turnovers when they managed to get things past the Western blue line. The lack of offensive possession gave the Broncos ample opportunity to put the puck on net and led to a 6-2 victory in front of the packed and rowdy home crowd.

No Bronco was more responsible for the night’s scoring spree than senior forward Dawson DiPietro who netted three goals in his first collegiate hat trick. Other goals were scored by Wade Allison (who was also managed 3 assists), Hugh McGing and Brett Van Os. Austin Rueschhoff also aided in the Bronco attack with a pair of assists.

The Broncos improved to 9-9-4 on the season and Colorado College drops to 8-11-1 after their back to back losses in Kalamazoo.

The Broncos take the ice next Friday and Saturday against visiting St. Cloud State University (8-10-4) at Lawson Ice Arena in Kalamazoo, MI.

Western Michigan Men Battle Back in Final Minutes for Victory over Kent State

Taking the court just after the WMU women lost the lead and the game in the final minutes to in-state rival Central Michigan, the Bronco men got set for a showdown with Kent State and looked to flip the script in game two.

Flip the script they did. While the first game saw a late comeback for the away team, the second game of the doubleheader gave fans the exact opposite storyline. The comeback seemed a desperation play by the Broncos who had gone 1-4 since Christmas and needed to regain momentum as they hope to make moves before the MAC conference tournament to be held in Indianapolis in just over a month.

The Broncos battled for the first 20 minutes and even included a rare four point play by junior guard Rafael Cruz Jr. that dropped through the bottom of the net as he was dropped just outside the corner baseline as cameras flashed around the product of Chicago, IL. Though the Broncos took a narrow 30-25 lead into the half over the Golden Flashes, Kent State came out of the locker room with renewed pep in their step and the Broncos began to look outmatched in the second half with the game slipping through their fingers. Things began to look increasingly grim as time waned and momentum had shifted completely in favor of the away team.

However, that is when the Broncos kicked things into gear on the back of several big plays with juniors Cruz Jr., Brandon Johnson and Michael Flowers lighting things up from the floor. The scoring spree was not enough on its own, but Western coupled the offensive hot streak with increased energy and momentum on the defensive end to begin shutting down Kent State’s scoring altogether with their last field goal dropping through with 4:37 to go in the game. In total, Kent State held the lead or tie for over 30 of the 40 minutes, but the final seconds were all WMU needed. Johnson would eventually seal the game with big free throws that ensured the comeback was complete, giving the Broncos a much needed 67-63 victory at home.

Western Michigan now enters a crucial phase of their conference schedule that pits them against juggernaut Buffalo University on the road before other middling conference squads Northern Illinois, Central Michigan and Miami Ohio.

Central Michigan Downs Western Michigan with Huge 4th QTR Comeback

Central Michigan came into University Arena in Kalamazoo, MI riding high after an incredible dominating performance against MAC perennial power, Ball State. The hardwood at Read Fieldhouse has been very friendly to the Broncos as they’ve managed a 5-1 record at home this season and struggled on the road.

Less than a week after CMU’s statement win over the Cardinals, the Chippewas made the trip south and knew they were in for another test against the rival Broncos. Both teams have had great runs so far in the 2019-2020 season and Saturday was a test of which team would grab control of their own destiny going into the back half of the conference schedule.

If the Chippewas thought they were in for another cruise to victory, the Broncos had other plans. Western led most of the way and seemed to be in firm control of things until a late run by the Chippewas eventually overtook the Broncos and put them on the wrong side of the scoreboard for the first time all afternoon.

The Chippewas maintained command of the lead until the final horn in a final minute blitz that stunned fans cheering on the home team.

One thing was made clear on Saturday. The Chippewa’s championship pedigree can manifest in their ability to close out blow out victories without letting off the gas and remain composed in the face of significant opposition under pressure. Both instances provide a glimpse at what years of conference success can do for a team that refuses to become complacent. The feat is even more impressive as the Chippewas are managing their continued success without missing a beat under first year coach, Heather Osterle. The Chippewas will look to continue rolling against in-state rival Eastern Michigan, Toledo and Buffalo to close out their January schedule.

Western Michigan finds themselves facing down a difficult loss that seemed in hand for most of all four quarters against the odds-on favorite to win the MAC for a third straight season. Sitting at 10-6 (3-2) the Broncos have three important games against struggling Bowling Green, Akron and Miami OH in the coming week before facing Ball State on February 1. These games will say a lot about what can be expected the rest of the way for the Broncos.

Kent City Boys & Girls Catch Fire Against Hesperia Squads

Fans of the Kent City Eagles have witnessed some incredible basketball over the years and grown accustomed to dazzling displays of fundamentals, talent and skill on the hardwood over the last few seasons in particular.

It is an impressive thing to stun a fanbase that has become so desensitized to such incredible and consistent performances.

Fans at the Nest were treated to such a thing on Friday night. In the first game of the Friday double-header, the Lady Eagles appeared to be on an absolute mission as Kent City hit 7 three point shots in the first quarter, alone.

Kent City absolutely overwhelmed the visiting Panthers with a scorching press defense that only exacerbated the shock of the Eagles’ repetitive three point barrage.

Several Panther players were visibly shaken by the speed with which Kent City was able to generate turnovers and points. In the end, the Eagles proved why they have been such a force in recent years as they beat Hesperia 63-17 and gave a preview of what was to come the rest of the night.

Kenzie Bowers led the Eagles in scoring with 17 points. She was joined in double figures by  Jenna Harrison (11 points) and Mikayla Loew (10 points). Lexie Bowers and Joan Carr also provided a scoring spark off the bench with 9 points each.

The Kent City boys had seemingly no sooner taken the court for warmups than tore open another big lead in the night’s finale.

As with the first game of the night, the Eagles started fast and hard, establishing full-court pressure that generated easy fast break points and opened up the half-court offense with a combination of aggressive shots in the paint and kick-outs to open three point shooters.

The Hesperia boys seemed even more ill-equipped to handle the onslaught than the Lady Panthers had been in the first game and found themselves on the wrong side of a 25-1 first quarter score.

The Eagles started running through waves of substitutions deep into the bench the rest of the way, but each wave only provided fresh legs to apply unrelenting pressure to the Panthers offense.

The Eagles closed out the night with a 77-16 victory. Eli Carlson produced a game high 18 points, which was supported by three other Eagles (Casen Armstrong, Hayden Carlson and Max Hudson) who all finished with 11 points a piece.

The Eagle boys and girls both travel the short distance to Cedar Springs for a four game gauntlet (JV Girls/Boys & Varsity Girls/Boys) on Saturday and host conference rival Morley Stanwood High School for another four game showcase and conference lead next Tuesday (JV Girls/Boys & Varsity Girls/Boys).

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