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High School Basketball Regional Preview

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Districts are over and the few local teams still alive now advance to the regionals where the play and the stakes always pick up.  Nick Vlietstra takes a look at all the area regionals for this week.

Class A

Regional 1 @ Gull Lake

Teams and how they got here:

Loy Norrix (16-7):

Won District 1 at Mattawan with wins over Portage Northern (70-61), Mattawan (61-31) and Portage Central (75-67)

Holt (17-6):

Won District 2 at Battle Creek Lakeview with wins over Battle Creek Lakeview (56-54), Battle Creek Central (55-49) and Jackson (75-48)

Grand Rapids Christian (17-6):

Won District 4 at East Grand Rapids with wins over Wyoming (72-58), #10 ranked East Kentwood (72-63) and Grand Rapids Union (74-51)

Lansing Waverly (19-4):

Won District 3 at Lansing Waverly with wins over Okemos (70-48), DeWitt (57-52) and East Lansing (64-44)

Schedule:

Monday:

5:30 Grand Rapids Christian vs. Lansing Waverly

7:00 Loy Norrix vs. Holt

Wednesday:

7:00 Championship

Favorite: Grand Rapids Christian

All of these are quality teams at this point and it is hard to pick a true favorite.  Loy Norrix certainly goes in to this as the underdog.  They are playing a very good Holt team who has beaten Battle Creek Central twice this year (BCC beat Loy Norrix twice as well so you can view that how you may).  Loy Norrix has Bishop Robinson who averaged 26.3 ppg in three district games. 

Grand Rapids Christian did pull of the upset of East Kentwood who was ranked #10 in the state.  They also have Drake Harris who is not only one of the top players in this regional but one of the top players in the state.  He averaged 32.3 ppg in the three district games which included scoring 34 points in two of those games.  Waverly meanwhile has Dee Roberts who averaged 21.7 ppg in the three district games.

A few of these teams have faced each other this season, but nothing from the first round.  Grand Rapids Christian beat Loy Norrix 57-54 on January 12 in a showcase at Davenport Univeristy (a game that Drake Harris did not play due to unjury) and Holt beat Lansing Waverly 54-51 on the first game of the season.

Class B

Regional 9 @ Marshall

Teams and how they got here:

#2 Stevensville Lakeshore (22-0):

Won District 33 @ Berrien Spring with wins over #3 Dowagiac (78-76), Berrien Springs (50-29) and Benton Harbor (54-43).

Sturgis (14-8):

Won District 34 @ Edwardsburg with wins over Edwardsburg (54-39), Paw Paw (41-39) and Three Rivers (58-37).

South Haven (19-4):

Won District 48 @ Otsego with wins over Hopkins (60-59), Allegan (70-44) and Plainwell (64-42).

Battle Creek Harper Creek (10-12):

Won District 35 @ Battle Creek Pennfield with wins over Comstock (64-49), Marshall (58-38) and Pennfield (49-34)

Schedule

Monday:

Stevensville Lakeshore vs. Sturgis

South Haven vs. Battle Creek Harper Creek

Wednesday:

7:00 Championship

Favorite: Stevensville Lakeshore

Lakeshore is the easy pick as the favorite here.  None of these other schools were the favorites to win their districts.  That’s not saying they are all bad teams.  Lakeshore will face a Sturgis team that has been playing very good basketball and have now won 10 out of their last 11.  South Haven had a fairly easy path to the district championship as they didn’t need to face Otsego in the final.  The Rams are not big but they are fast, can shoot and have put up some big offensive numbers in recent times.  They have won 12 of their last 13 games coming in.  Harper Creek got out of a district that had no real favorite.  Still they got over a big hump, winning a game away from home, something they hadn’t done all season until districts.  They do have big man Josh Bass who can put up big numbers like 31 points and 21 rebounds against Comstock. 

Class C

Regional 17 @ Constantine

Teams and how they got here:

Schoolcraft (21-2):

Won District 68 @ Quincy with wins over Union City (62-61), Reading (50-34) and Quincy (66-57)

Bloomingdale (13-9):

Won District 67 @ Bangor with wins over Gobles (46-44), Harford (46-25) and Hackett (44-41)

White Pigeon (14-8):

Won District 66 @ White Pigeon with wins over Cassopolis (49-34), Constantine (64-42) and Decatur (44-41)

Bridgman (9-14):

Won District 65 @ New Buffalo with wins over Three Oaks River Valley (68-19), New Buffalo (48-39), and Watervliet (56-35)

Schedule:

Monday:

6:00 Bridgman vs. White Pigeon

8:00 Schoolcraft vs. Bloomingdale

Wednesday:

7:00 Championship

Favorite: Schoolcraft

Schoolcraft is the for sure favorite here, but I think we learned from their district, that doesn’t mean it will be easy.  They were the overwhelming favorite at Quincy and still almost lost (and some may say they should have lost) to Union City.  Bloomingdale was not thought to be the favorite, and I were ranking their district going in, I probably would have ranked them fourth behind Kalamazoo Christian, Hackett and Gobles.  Still they survived to play another night.  They are not a high scoring team, but have been a very good defensive team all season.  They allowed only 36.7 ppg in their three district wins.  They will need to be very good to slow down Luke Ryskamp who led the KVA in scoring at 23 ppg and averaged over 28 ppg in the three district wins.

White Pigeon will face Bridgman who came out of a very weak district.  This is not like the Bridgman teams of three and four years ago who were winning their districts and had one team advance to the state finals.  This is a nine win team, against fairly weak competition this season who has had big issues putting the ball in the basket at times.  They have been held under 40 points eight times and under 30 points four times.  They still have some interesting scores which include a five point loss to Stevensville Lakeshore (28-23) and a tight game with Dowagiac (73-64).  White Pigeon has reached the peak of their season.  After an up and down season, they were able to upset Decatur in the district championship to reach the regional.  They have won seven out of their last eight and held their district opponents to only 39 ppg.

Regional 21 @ Pewamo-Westphalia

Teams and how they got here:

Galesburg-Augusta (15-6):

Won District 76 at Delton with wins over Delton (53-37) and Maple Valley (58-31).

Muskegon Heights Academy (16-4):

Won District 77 @ Fennville with wins over North Muskegon (66-53) and Fennville (89-57).

Laingsburg (20-2):

Won District 79 @ Carson City-Crystal with wins over Pewamo-Westphalia (44-33) and Carson City-Crystal (53-38).

#5 Grandville Calvin Christian (20-2):

Won District 78 @ Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian with wins over Grand Rapids Covenant Christian (65-53) and NorthPointe Christian (79-59).

Schedule:

Monday:

5:30 Galesburg-Augusta vs. Muskegon Heights Academy

7:45 Laingsburg vs. Calvin Christian

Wednesday:

7:00 Championship

Favorite:

Grandville Calvin Christian

Galesburg-Augusta won their district but now they enter a very tough district.  Looking from the outside, and if we were ranking these teams, they would probably be ranked last.  There are two very good teams in here with Calvin Christian and Muskegon Heights.  First up for the Rams will be Muskegon Heights, and this game will be a very big clash of styles.  Muskegon Heights plays an extremely high tempo game and has put up some big numbers this year and some very nice wins.  They have scored 80 or more in a game seven times this season, and have even beaten Dowagiac (82-76) over Christmas break.  They also played Melvindale Business &Tech and lost 69-60.  GA, on the other hand, has been very good slowing the game down this season.  They are trying to limit possessions for both teams and have been very successful at it.  If they can slow this game down they could have a chance, if they don’t they might get run out of the gym.

Class D

Regional 29 @ Grandville

Teams and how they got here:

Kalamazoo Phoenix (11-4):

Won District 109 at Battle Creek St. Phillip with wins over Martin (72-38) and St. Phillip (81-35)

#1 Wyoming Tri-Unity Christian (21-2):

Won District 110 @ Hudsonville Freedom Christian with wins over Wyoming West Michigan Lutheran (63-34), Potter’s House Christian (69-34) and Holland Calvary (68-40)

Fowler (13-9):

Won District 112 @ Fulton with wins over Portland St. Patrick (50-43) and Fulton (65-53)

Muskegon Catholic Central (13-11):

Won District 111 @ Fruitport Calvary Christian with a forfeit win over Kent City Algoma Christian and wins over Fruitport Calvary Christian (58-39) and Fremont Providence Christian (46-38)

Schedule:

Monday:

6:00 Wyoming Tri-Unity Christian vs. Kalamazoo Phoenix

7:30 Fowler vs. Muskegon Catholic Central

Wednesday:

7:00 Championship

Favorite: Wyoming Tri-Unity Christian

Kalamazoo Phoenix is a little unknown around the area, but they travel around playing anyone and everyone, and have built up a very solid team.  In fact I would say that the top two teams in the regional are playing in the first game with Phonix and Tri-Unity Christian who is the number one team in the state.  Tri-Unity has lost only two games all season and both were to larger schools (Grandville Calvin Christian and Wyoming Godwin Heights).  Along the way they have picked up some very good wins over schools such as Jenison(55-48), Hudsonville (53-52) and Zeeland East (49-48).  It will be a very tough match-up for Phoenix but they do have talent, and I think they can give them a game.

Regional 25 @ Battle Creek Harper Creek

Teams and how they got here:

#4 Climax-Scotts (22-1):

Won District 98 @ Athens with wins over #8 Mendon (70-51), Marcellus Howardsville Christian (45-33) and Colon (57-28)

Covert (16-6):

Won District 97 @ St. Joseph Lake Michigan Catholic with wins over Lawrence (79-71, OT), Lake Michigan Catholic (90-68) and St. Joseph Michigan Lutheran (77-67)

Adrian Lenawee Christian (17-3):

Won District 100 @ Pittsford with wins over Pittsford (61-51), and Morenci (61-33)

Hillsdale Academy (14-7):

Won District 99 @ Litchfield with wins over North Adams Jerome (70-64), and Hillsdale Will Carleton Academy (60-51)

Schedule:

Monday:

Covert vs. Climax Scotts

Lenawee Christian vs. Hillsdale Academy

Wednesday:

Championship

Favorite: Climax Scotts

The toughest game in this regional for Climax Scotts will be the semi-final against Covert.  Covert plays a very up tempo game.  They score a lot of points but they also give up a lot of points.  They have scored 70 points or more in 11 games this season, but they have also given up 70 or more in 10 games.  Still, I think the Panthers are savvy enough to handle the tempo and they are too good defensively to allow this game to get too out of control.  If they get past Covert I don’t see them having much trouble with either team on the other side of the bracket.

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