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.