Tag Archives: Basketball

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 and Morley Stanwood Split in Rematch

After a matchup in recent weeks in which the Lady Eagles dismantled the previously undefeated Mohawks of Morley Stanwood, the second contest proved to be a more closely fought game.

The biggest difference in the rematch between KCHS and MSHS was undoubtedly the shooting percentage by the Kent City girls.

In the first matchup, the Lady Eagles seemed unable to miss and took advantage of blistering three point blitzes to set up full court pressure. Conversely, they seemed unable to make even lightly contested layups and open three point buckets in the second matchup between the squads.

That is not to take away from the effort put forward by the Morley Stanwood girls team, who came ready to play and applied as much pressure as they could muster in an attempt to upset the #2 ranked class C group. The group undoubtedly put a scare into the visiting fans that the Eagles would let one slip and Kent City found themselves down early before mounting large runs to gain and defend the lead the rest of the way.

However, the lack of made baskets kept Kent City out of their press most of the way, and while little changed in the way of scoring for the Mohawks compared to the first game, the team managed to put together a more controlled game.

Even without their press or offense being difference makers, Kent City’s half court defense kept Morley Stanwood off the scoreboard most of the evening and the Eagles took the win in a low scoring affair: 42-30. The Eagles can clinch the conference championship with a win in at least one of their final two remaining conference games.

Kenzie Bowers (19 pts) and Jenna Harrison (17 pts) combined for all but six of Kent City’s points.

The Kent City boys took the hardwood in the second game of the evening and hoped to squeak out another victory against second place Morley Stanwood.

The Eagles jumped out early thanks in large part to senior forward Will Wright who was a one-man wrecking ball to the Mohawk defense. Wright has really come alive in recent weeks and become a reliable offensive scoring weapon as teams look to take away fellow seniors Eli Carlson and Max Hudson. Wright has shown he is fully capable of stepping into the role of the top scoring threat when called upon and managed to propel the Eagles early in the game through offensive rebounds, post play and hard takes in the paint.

The Eagles took a thin two point lead into the half 26-24 after a last second heavily contested layup attempt by Mohawk guard Axel Woolworth seemed to defy physics and drop off of the iron at the buzzer.

However, Woolworth and fellow Mohawk guard Aiden McLaughlin were able to crack through the Eagle defense, that kept them largely at bay in the previous meeting, through an inside-out game that eventually gave Morley Stanwood the lead on a fouled three point attempt by Woolworth and a technical foul, which put the guard at the line for five straight free throws and gave the Mohawks possession. Morley Stanwood was also aided in holding off any Kent City attempts at a comeback with a big second half by Ryland Nelson who put forward a big run that helped maintain the lead going into the fourth.

Kent City attempted you make a run in the second half that cut things to single digits, but never got closer than a multi-possession game. The Mohawks snatched the victory in the conference rematch, 59-51, but Kent City still controls their destiny and will simply need to win remaining contests against Hesperia and Holton to win the CSAA conference championship.

Eastern Michigan Men Thump Siena Heights in “Education Day” Opener

The Eastern Michigan Eagles men’s basketball team got off to a hot start and never looked back as they dominated the Education Day double header from tip off to the final horn.

Eastern Michigan outclassed Siena Heights shooting an impressive 57.1% to SHU’s 33.9% field goal percentage. Six Eagles scored in double figures with 7 foot redshirt senior Boubacar Toure netting a double-double in just 18 minutes on the way to a 93-51 rout of the visiting Siena Heights Saints and provided the first of two 90+ point games for the Eagles as the EMU women also topped the number in their clash with Olivet College in the second game.

Leaders

Scoring:
EMU – Ty Groce (15) Boubacar Toure (13)
SHU – Keith Jordan (11) PJ Austin (6)
Rebounding:
EMU – Boubacar Toure (10) Shamar Dillard (5)
SHU – PJ Austin, Anthony Duncan, Jordan Wyckoff (4)
Assists:
EMU – Chris Barnes (6) Noah Morgan (5)
SHU – Chad Elliot (2) Cade Coleman (2)

Box Score

Team12Total
Siena Heights262551
 Eastern Michigan494493

Zara Weber Heads to Olivet College to Join Comets Basketball

The senior shooting guard superstar from Kent City has just moved into Olivet College to begin her Division III athletic career with other local incoming freshmen, and the future is bright.

Kent City’s girls varsity basketball team has had a lot of success the past few years, and a big part of that success traces back to Weber. She has been a weapon from behind the three point line, and looks to help the Comets immensely in that aspect. Zara set the Kent City school record for threes in a single game (10), and in a season (87). She has also been consistently named all-conference, and BCAM honorable mention throughout the state. She was a participant in the Top Shooter contest, with fellow teammate Jenna Harrison, that took place at halftime during a state finals game at Calvin College this past year.

“Olivet felt like home right away.”

The summer heading into her senior year of high school, Zara figured out playing college basketball was what she wanted to do. The coaches started calling, and the summer tournaments became about recruiting as well as improving for her last season. GRCC and Albion were in her final roundup of college choices, but Olivet won her over.

“Olivet felt like home right away,” Weber commented about her choice. “I really loved the small town feel, and all of the people I met on my visit.” She fell in love with the Cutler Center gym she’ll be playing in soon, as well.

Head coach, Britney Berry, played a large role in Weber’s decision. Berry, who was an assistant coach at the time, got to know Zara early on, and made a favorable impression. “She’s so cool and I loved her from the start,” Weber added. “She was easy to talk to and laid back, but could take practices and games seriously, too.” Berry accepted the head coach position a few months later, and the rest is history.

The Comets are adding quite a few girls onto the roster this year, with six incoming freshmen. Hannah Putnam (Central Montcalm), and Hannah Brown (White Cloud), are a few locals that will be joining Weber on the court this upcoming season. The first game is November 2nd in Sylvania, Ohio at Lourdes University. Until then, the girls will be adjusting to campus and classes, and starting practices before too long. Weber will be studying Risk Management in Insurance at Olivet, as classes start August 19th.

“If you know you want to play college basketball, put yourself out there and don’t be afraid to contact coaches,” Zara said towards other high school students dreaming of being a collegiate ball player. “Don’t let success or failure get to your head, and just play the game,” she added.

Weber plans on becoming a more aggressive and confident player in college, and knows Olivet is the place to help her achieve that and much more. Her high school achievements and experiences are memories that will last a lifetime, but she is not satisfied yet.