Tag Archives: Michigan

Kent City Returns with State Finalist Trophy in Tow

There is an old adage in basketball: end on a make. The quip relates to players’ seeming necessity to not end a shooting session or practice until they can end on a made basket. The final score did not reflect the outcome the Eagles had hoped it would as Grass Lake held on for the narrow 52-50 win at the Breslin Center in East Lansing, MI, but Kent City did what all competitors hope to do: end on a make. Despite the outcome being different than hoped, the Eagles capped off their season in a fitting way, making the final bucket of the 2021 Division 3 season.

As things kicked off on Friday afternoon, Grass Lake was clearly the beneficiary of fresh legs after their semifinal game on Wednesday was cancelled by forfeit and the Warriors came out firing on all cylinders. Kent City managed to hold Grass Lake All State performers, Lexus Bargesser and Abrie Cabana under wraps in the first half. That focus led to a wild shooting day for Grass Lake’s Gabi Lutchka. Lutchka played lights out in the first half with 14 points, including four three point buckets, before the Eagles held her scoreless in the second half. While the Eagles were able to spread the scoring around in the first half and benefitted from two stellar three point buckets by Taryn Preston, the Eagles shot a solid, but sustainable percentage from the field. That shooting kept them in the game, but the Eagles fell behind by double digits and looked to be out of it multiple times, only to rally back each and every time.

Bargesser took over the scoring duties in the second half for Grass Lake, most coming on fast break layups, and finished the day with an impressive stat line of 16 points, 10 rebounds, 5 steals and 1 block. The Warriors finish the season 20-1 and Division 3 champion.

The Eagles were led by senior guards Jenna Harrison and Kenzie Bowers who finished with 16 and 13, respectively. The Eagles finish their season 21-1 and brought home the school’s first ever girls basketball state finalist trophy. In the end, the Eagles battled back every time it appeared they were out of it and fell just two points short with the season ending 52-50 loss. This won’t be the last time these seniors see the hardwood as Kenzie Bowers heads to Illinois State and Jenna Harrison will continue her basketball career at Sienna Heights next year. The 2021 senior class will be a tough hole to fill, but if this post-season has showed one thing, it is that the Eagles have a bright future ahead of them with several returners ready to take over as program leaders.

Eagles Fly High on way to State Championship

The Kent City Eagles (21-0) received their first real test of the post-season against undefeated Calumet High School, but answered the call to hand the Copper Kings their first loss of the season in the state semi-final game. Calumet ends their season with a record of 20-1.

While much of the Kent City plaudits are doled out to the senior pair of Jenna Harrison and Kenzie Bowers, and deservedly so, the Eagles were driven largely by underclassman in the early going.

The game opened up for the Eagles with freshman Maddie Geers leading the way on the scoreboard, breaking loose inside the Copper King defense and finding her way to the bucket on several trips down the court. Things began to slow on the offensive end for Kent City and shots were uncharacteristically off the mark in the unfamiliar confines of the Breslin Center arena. They were off the mark, that is, until another underclassman, sophomore guard Lexie Bowers, came alive and dropped repeated triples that pulled the Eagles from several possessions behind to a small lead part way through the second quarter. Though Lexie Bowers didn’t post anymore points after that blitz, the run was crucial to getting Kent City back into things when they needed it most.

That flurry put Kent City in the driver’s seat most of the rest of the afternoon. Calumet made several runs throughout the game and even took the lead again on a few occasions, but those early runs enabled other Eagles to find their shooting touch and join the scoring fun.

The bigger court neutered the Kent City press to some degree and the arena setting cooled early shooting, but the Eagles pushed on until things started to click up and down the roster. Despite a slow shooting start, Jenna Harrison rallied back in the second half to lead all Eagles scorers with 15 and was followed by Maddie Geers (14), Kenzie Bowers (13), Lexie Bowers (10) and Emmalyn Geers (7). In the end, the Eagles held on for the 59-53 semi-final victory.

Once again, Kent City showed that they win games as a team and has players capable of stepping up to score when others start cold. The team first mentality is behind so much of the Eagles’ success this season and they will need to conjure every ounce of it when they face the vaunted Warriors of Grass Lake High School who notably beat Detroit Renaissance; a team that will be participating in the Division 1 State Final this week.

Despite the long odds and underdog status, Kent City seems prepped to slug it out with anyone.

Kent city Takes Total Control to Win Regional over Covenant Christian

One need only watch a few moments of Kent City’s warmups on Wednesday night to see that the Covenant Christian Chargers were going to have their hands full. The Eagles were lighting up the nets well before game time and the hot hands didn’t cool when the clock started ticking.

The Eagles took the opening possession and immediately went on a 11-0 run. Their offense cooled slightly after the initial blitz, but carried a 15-6 lead into the second quarter. The six points scored by Covenant Christian in the first quarter would be the most they would notch in any quarter; netting five in the second and six again in the third and fourth quarters.

On the other end, the ladies in black continued to show why they have consistently been ranked among the best teams in the state this year and in prior seasons as well. The Chargers found some incredible defensive plays from Chloe Kaptein, who forcefully swatted several Eagle shot attempts and led the team along with Grace Kalsbeek with 4 points each. While the Eagles relied heavily on the sharpshooting of senior guards Jenna Harrison and Kenzie Bowers on Monday night, Kent City managed to score across the roster with five players scoring nine points or more.

Jenna Harrison led the Eagles for a second straight game and finished the night with 20 points. Lexie Bowers came off the bench to add 14 and was closely followed with 11 each by Maddie Geers & Taryn Preston. The Eagles made 14 three point shots for the game. One brief moment of concern came late in the game when Lexie Bowers appeared to bend her knee awkwardly, but she seemed to be moving ok a few minutes later.

The Eagles advance to their second quarterfinal appearance in four years with the 69-23 victory and face Schoolcraft High School, the winner of a 37-12 matchup with Gobles High School, at Portage Northern High School next Monday Night for the right to make the trip to Lansing’s Breslin Center in the state semifinal.

Kent city Advances Past Western michigan Christian to Regional Final

A year after being the unfortunate recipient of a Round of 32 showdown with then state ranked #1 Pewamo-Westphalia as the #2 ranked division 3 team in Michigan, the Eagles managed to overcome a significant size differential and keep things interesting long enough to blow the lid off the scoreboard and catch fire in the second half from beyond the arch in 2021 against a stout Western Michigan Christian team. The shooting spree coming across the lineup at one point in the second half pushed a narrow lead to 15 and the Eagles never looked back, advancing to the Division 3 sweet 16 and a rematch with Covenant Christian in the regional final.

The game was a low scoring affair in the first half as Kent City took a narrow 17-16 lead into the break. The Eagles scored as many points in each of the next two quarters, however, and stretched their lead going into the meat of the fourth quarter. The onslaught of three point buckets forced Western Michigan Christian to begin fouling their way to the bonus with a full four and a half minutes to go.

Jenna Harrison led the way for the Eagles with 21 and fellow senior guard Kenzie Bowers followed closely behind with 19. The Eagles made 10 three point buckets on the night across all scorers. Junior Kyla Wiersma led the way for WMC with 21 of her team’s 37 points in a dominant performance, that included the entirety of her team’s third quarter points. The Eagles advance to Wednesday’s showdown after the 53-37 win and face the Chargers of Covenant Christian. The two teams played in late February with the Eagles claiming the 20-point victory, but the Chargers will have their eye on turning the tables in the regional championship game and hope to earn a birth in the Division 3 Elite 8 state quarterfinal next week.

4th Time’s the Charm… Again

The 2021 senior class of girls basketball players at Kent City has been on the right side of quite a few wins in the past four years. The Division 3 District 74 championship game on Friday night was yet another notch in that long list of victories the Eagles have claimed during that span and the team’s fourth district title in as many years.

In a rematch of the district final from a year ago, Kent City met conference rival and fellow perennial power, Morley-Stanwood. The teams had played a tight game earlier this season in Kent City with the Mohawks even taking the lead late in the contest before the Eagles responded and won by a narrow double digit tally. A month later the two teams met again with a far less balanced result and Kent City claimed a 29-point victory on the road on the Mohawks home court. The third matchup of the year looked to be brewing up a real battle, as the Eagles chase a historic run that is four years in the making and the Mohawks looked to grab the upset on the neutral site at White Cloud High School.

While things remained close for the first several minutes and both teams settled into the flow of the game, Kent City’s tenacious and unrelenting defense began to take a toll. The pressure forced the Mohawks to play at a fast pace that caused them to sometimes miss opportunities even when they were presented with good looks at the basket. It was clear that the internal clock in player’s minds, analyzing the time they had before once again getting smothered by a defender, forced them to put up shots quicker than even the pace of the game might have required.

On the other end, Kent City also missed several good looks in the early going and a few other times throughout the rest of the contest, but the Eagles benefitted from senior guard Kenzie Bowers early and often; showing why she is a four-time All State player and in the running for Miss Michigan Basketball.

Bowers was electric on both ends of the floor, hitting big shots from all areas of the floor and dishing passes to open teammates with a precision that could only have been honed in her years of experience. Lexie Bowers also caught fire off the bench and, at one point, knocked down three consecutive three point buckets, putting a firm cap on the evening in White Cloud.

The Mohawks battled for the entirety of the game and left every ounce of energy on the floor. In the end, several missed looks may have brought the game within striking distance, but it was clear that Morley-Stanwood was on the unfortunate side of the Eagle’s date with destiny this year.

Kent City finished the night with a final score of 63-32 over the Mohawks.

Morley-Stanwood caps off another excellent and successful season and send off seniors Natalie Kukla, Isabel Devereaux and Brooke Brauher. The Mohawks also bid farewell to longtime coach and father of Brooke Brauher, Rob Brauher, who coached his last game for the Mohawks and will be stepping down from the head coaching position.

Kent City advances to the first round of regionals and will face West Michigan Christian at Calvin Christian High School next Monday night.

Zeeland East Sends Seniors Out with a Win Over Muskegon

Friday night was humming in Zeeland as the Big Reds of Muskegon came to town to face off with the Zeeland East Chix women’s basketball team on Senior Night.

Senior night festivities had no sooner ended than the Chix found themselves in a deficit and serious foul trouble with senior forwards Shelby Ulven and Audrey Dreyer both exiting early in the first quarter.

The Chix tallied more fouls than points in the first quarter and found themselves down 10-5. Zeeland East found their rhythm in the second quarter with juniors Maddie Schuur and Paige Westra helping lead the way offensively. On the defensive end, Zeeland East held Muskegon to just two points the rest of the half while posting eighteen themselves. The teams entered the half with a score of 23-12 and all momentum firmly behind the Chix.

Schuur went on to have another big half after the break, posting another twelve and ending the night with a game high 19 points. Muskegon made a last ditch attempt at a comeback in the fourth quarter but came up short 49-39. The Big Reds were led by senior Kailyn Nash who finished with 14 points and aided by Layla Harris with 12 points. Zeeland East spread the workload around and eight Chix netted points on the night and finished the season with the win over the Big Reds.

The Chix kept the momentum going after Friday night’s victory and won their first game of districts over Holland High School. Muskegon will wait for their opening game of the post season on Wednesday after a first round bye as they face the winner of Grand Rapids Union & Kenowa Hills.

Local Winter Color Guard Programs Dazzle at Jenison High School

Five teams representing 4 winter color guard programs put on an exhibition of their skills on Saturday night at Jenison High School.

The first routine of the night was run by Jenison High School Junior Varsity. The squad performed to a cover of Whitney Houston’s “I wanna dance with somebody” recorded by the artist Ben Rector. They put on an excellent show with members of the team ranging from 6th graders to seniors in high school.

The second team to take the floor was Kent City High School. Audible gasps of awe were heard throughout the gymnasium when the team unfurled their extravagant and colorful sky themed mat, which contained all the splendor and color of a sunset on Lake Michigan. Their performance dazzled and shined just as brightly with their heartfelt performance to Lauren Daigle’s hit song, “You Say.” Despite having a team of just twelve, the Eagles managed to fill the mat with soaring flag tosses, rifle spins, acrobatics and contemporary dance working together for a wonderfully choreographed performance.

Hudsonville High School took the floor next and the colorful spectacle continued. Hudsonville performed, donned in vibrant spiral body suits. Their production in 2021 is titled “What’s Going On?” and seeks to represent the duality of our public and personal lives to the tune of a medley of Adagio for Strings and Axel F. The performance was spectacular and an absolute tour de force that filled the mat from edge to edge with movement, color and artistry.

Things quickly took a turn towards the dark side when the Jenison High School varsity color guard team took the floor in black hooded robes and incorporating black masks in a way that came across equal parts pandemic prophylactic and consummate costume. The thirteen member team brought all the attitude and drama that one would expect for a program titled, “The Witching Hour.” The tension continued to build, behind the soundtrack of work produced by Peter Gundry, until the climactic moment that a plume of smoke fired from the cauldron at the center of the mat and a performer arose from the bubbling brew clad in all white as part of a stunning quick change maneuver.

The swan song for the evening was brought courtesy of Caledonia Independent, a conglomerate representing multiple schools in West Michigan. Their 2021 program is titled “Rococo,” an ode to the late Baroque period in the 18th century, which has become an important era of influence among artists and musicians in recent years. They performed in black and gold attire with designs akin to the Baroque style that set their scene along with music by Camille Saint Sans. While they had the tough job of following the entire series of splendid performances, they were up to the task and ended the evening with a beautiful and well produced routine.

All teams seemed overjoyed to be performing after a year of cancellations and disappointment. No matter the theme or experience, every routine could be felt by those in attendance as each squad poured their heart and soul into the exhibition of their talents.

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).

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.

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