THREE OAKS — High school basketball came roaring back during the week of Feb. 8-13, with all local varsity teams in action.
Some games were nail-biters (the River Valley boys squeaked past Bloomingdale 62-60 on Feb. 13; while the Bridgman girls were edged by Lake Michigan Catholic 40-39 the previous evening). Others were runaways (the New Buffalo boys squad raced out to a 30-5 first-quarter lead against Michigan Lutheran on Feb. 12 and went on to prevail 89-54; earlier that evening the Bridgman boys rolled over LMC 52-10).
“The kids are really happy to be on the court, it’s really good for them,” said Bridgman varsity boys coach Mike Miller.
River Valley 62 Bloomingdale 60
The host Mustangs came up with clutch plays in the late going to get the win.
Trailing 55-54 with about 3 minutes left in regulation, an offensive rebound and put-back by Ashton McNabb vaulted RV on top.
The margin was still a single point at the 24-second mark when Josh Seifert fired a pass to a wide-open Evan Strefling for a lay-up that upped the lead to 60-57.
With time ticking down Ashton McNabb grabbed a defensive rebound off a missed free throw and fired a long pass to Strefling, who was again alone under the basket. The senior came through with two more points, more than enough to survive Cody Gallimore’s last-second hoop for the Cardinals.
“All I had to do was put it through the hoop, and we got it done,” Strefling said.
Lennon Lange paced a balanced Mustang offense with 13 points. Jagger Wolnik finished with 11 points while Strefling and Seifert each tallied 10.
Mavrick Manning led Bloomingdale with a game-high 15 points.
First-year head coach Tyler Haske said the Mustangs struggled against Bloomingdale’s zone defense in the second half, but players came through with big plays at the end of the game.
“I was definitely proud of them … it’s great to see your team go through that and succeed,” he said.
Valley (2-1) was coming off a 76-41 victory over Lawrence the previous evening. Jayden McNabb scored 21 points, Seifert 16 and Lange 14.
The River Valley girls also took on Bloomingdale Saturday, Feb. 13.
The visiting Cardinals had build a 32-17 lead early in the third quarter before Valley went on a 12-2 run, cutting the margin to five points (34-29). Taylor Volstorf scored seven points during the surge while Hailey Hatch added five (and both sank a three-point shot).
Bloomingdale carried a 43-35 lead into the fourth period and finished the game on an 18-9 run to prevail 61-44.
River Valley coach Jason Alexander said he was happy with his team’s effort.
“We fought hard, we just came up a little bit short.”
Volstorf finished with 21 points while Hauch tallied 15.
Allison Starbuck (16 points) and Kallie Harrison (14) paced the Cardinals.
New Buffalo 89 Michigan Lutheran 54
The Bison put on an offensive and defensive clinic in the opening quarter against the visiting Titans to lead 30-5. Anthony Lijewski scored 8 points in the period while teammates Mark Shaw (6 points), Jeremiah Mitchell and Ryan Vinson (4 points each) helped fuel the fast start.
Kaden Parmley poured in 12 second-quarter points as New Buffalo build a 48-21 half-time advantage.
“It felt good to be back,” Parmley said. “We definitely have a lot of options this year to score.”
By the time the final buzzer had sounded every player on the NB roster had points. Lijewski led the way with 20 of them (including six of his team’s 17 three-point baskets); Shaw totaled 15 points; Parmley tallied 14; Mitchell scored 10; and Vinson had 9.
Adam Rosenbaum paced the Titans with 14 points.
New Buffalo coach Nate Tripp said his players were ready for a real game.
“It was getting hard to keep them focused at practice … they were ready.”
Tripp said there is still a lot to work on.
“We were really out of position tonight, it certainly wasn’t clean basketball.”
The Lady Bison traveled to Michigan Lutheran on Thursday, Feb. 11, for their season-opener.
The Titans played strong defense in the first half to forge a 30-10 half-time advantage.
New Buffalo out-scored ML 10-3 in the third quarter (Kelsey Corkran and Nadia Collins each tallied four points) and by the early going of the final frame had cut the margin down to nine (24-33) as Ava Mullen and Abby Vitale got baskets.
Michigan Lutheran answered by finishing the game on a 17-6 run powered by senior Jessi Jewell’s eight points (she finished with 12 while teammate Brooke Gerlach tallied 10).
Mullen paced the Bison with 9 points.
“Our effort was there, just a lot of mistakes and first-game jitters,” said New Buffalo coach Scott Syme. “They’re a really good opponent.”
Before the start Titan coach Ron Briney was honored for his 482nd victory (recorded Feb. 9 against Lawrence) which made him the winningest coach in Southwest Michigan.
Lake Michigan Catholic 40 Bridgman 39
The Feb. 12 girls varsity contest between the Bees and visiting Lakers went down to the wire.
Two late free throws by LMC’s Claire LaSata proved to be the difference.
Elise Schmaltz had scored twice as time was winding down to give Bridgman a one-point lead.
She finished with 13 points. Samantha Rydwelski added 8 for the Bees.
Maggie Tidey led the Lakers with 19 points.
The Bridgman boys roared out to an 18-2 first-quarter lead on Feb. 12 and never looked back en route to a 52-10 victory over LMC.
Jayce Warren poured in 30 points, grabbed 9 boards and dished out 9 assists while Luke Blesy had 6 points and 7 rebounds.
Miller said he thought Warren played extremely well.
“He shot 58 percent overall from the floor, he was very efficient,” he said.
Miller said he thought the team played “pretty good defensively for all the time we had off.”