Monthly Archives: December 2017

Owen the Elf Home Sweet Home

The full version of the Owen the Elf Home Sweet Home special section in FlipBook format. Read and enjoy online or download the section to read as a PDF!

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2017-2018 Basketball Preview Flipbook

The full version of the Basketball Preview 2017-18 special section in FlipBook format. Read and enjoy online or download the section to read as a PDF!  

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GH boys team hoping to ‘put the pieces together’ in 2017-18

BY Josh VanDyke [email protected] After claiming a share of the O-K Red Conference title during the 2015-16 season and adding a 15-win season last winter, the excitement surrounding the Grand Haven boys basketball program has grown exponentially in just a few years. In fact, third-year head coach Greg Immink had a difficult time trimming the varsity roster down to a reasonable number this preseason, something that he sees as a positive sign for the future. “We had about 22 kids come out for tryouts this year, which is higher than it’s been since I’ve been here,” he said. “It made tryouts pretty intense for a few days, but it also shows you that the kids at this school and the community at large care about basketball and that’s only going to continue to create a culture that supports growth for our program.” The Buccaneers will need to grow rapidly in both experience and height this season, as the team lost four senior starters in Zac Holman (6-foot-4), Ross Koella (6-7), Drew VanAndel (6-5) and Clay Landsman (6-2). WHO IS BACK The Buccaneers do return last year’s starting point guard in junior Cam Constant, as well as key contributors like seniors ...

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Fruitport girls hope to build promising future

BY Duncan MacLean  [email protected] Dealing with a graduated superstar is one thing; dealing with a graduated superstar who led the team in all statistical categories is another. Throw in losing her best two supporting cast members and you have yourself a conundrum. That is the matter in Trojan country, where the Fruitport girls basketball team is staring down an interesting season replacing the likes of Iyana Brown, Emily Winicki and Katie Veihl, all while taking on their second run through the O-K Black Conference. With a few promising young pieces and the know-how of head coach Bob German the Trojans are looking to build into the future with a successful season this year. WHO’S BACK Returning from last year’s 8-13 team are seniors Isabelle Raven and Jaydie Hanks along with junior Kailey Carmean. Raven and Hanks maintained starting roles throughout the season, while Carmean was pulled up from junior varsity midway through the year and eventually worked into a starting job. All three are going to have to get used to a much larger role on the floor. “What happens sometimes when you have a girl like Iyana is everything starts to happen through her,” German said.  “I think we ...

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Fruitport boys looking for fresh start in 2017-18

BY Josh VanDyke [email protected] The Fruitport boys’ varsity basketball program endured a tumultuous season last winter, with the Trojans finishing winless at 0-21 and enduring some heartbreaking losses along the way. The good news for the program is that every player on last year’s squad will be back again in 2017-18 with an added year of varsity experience on their resume. The Trojans will have a new leader of the program in Steve Erny, who replaces former head coach Adam Anspach. In his first year with the program, Erny hopes to establish a team identity that revolves around effort and determination.   “Something that I think is important as a first-year coach is trying to establish a deep-rooted identity on the defensive side of the court,” he said. “I was able to take bits and pieces from my previous coaching experiences, and I hope to implement some of those things here as the head coach of a program. “We want to be a tough-minded, defensive-oriented team. Offensively, we want to share the ball, move well in space and be fundamentally sound. That’s something we’ve been working on all summer and it really comes down to everyone just making the simple ...

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SL girls hope more is better in 2017-18 season

BY Duncan MacLean [email protected] After losing their all-time leading scorer to the ranks of college ball, the Spring Lake girls basketball team is retooling for the 2017-18 season. Despite losing the volume scoring of Reiko Johnson, the Lakers return their other four starters from last year’s 16-7 team who are eager to build on their successful season and avenge its abrupt ending in the Class B district finals. With tremendous length in the post, high-level experience at nearly every position and a promising young guard running point, the Lakers will adopt a totally new philosophy from a year ago with much of the same personnel. WHO’S BACK Nearly everyone. Madeline Zenas, Madelyn Nelson, Jenna Core, and Linsey Paggeot all return from the starting lineup, along with senior Rebecca VanDeWeg and Kayli Sneller. The returning starters will lead the charge in the reimagining of the Spring Lake team, as each one possesses game-breaking traits that will allow the Lakers to spread the floor and play position-less basketball. “Our whole team is going to be a different dynamic,” Spring Lake head coach Cavin Mohrhardt said. “I’ve got four returning starters, and I think they realize it is their team, and I think ...

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Laker boys look to reload by committee

BY Duncan MacLean [email protected] Coming off their second regional championship and state quarterfinal appearance in three years, the Spring Lake boys basketball team will look to build off of their recent success this season. In their first run through the O-K Blue Conference, the Lakers asserted themselves as contenders with a third-place finish and an 8-4 league record. Spring Lake then went on to upset league champion Grand Rapids Catholic Central in the regional finals, before falling victim to a buzzer-beater by Benton Harbor in the Class B state quarterfinals. Now, the Lakers will focus on established post play as they try to fill the void left behind by a pair of graduated All-Conference guards and vie for another deep run in the postseason. WHO’S BACK Six seniors moved on from last year’s squad, including star guards in Cam Ball and Isaiah Pierce and a slew of productive bench players. Those returning to the hardwood for the 2017-18 season, however, shift the balance of experience and skill forward. The Lakers return a trio of three-year starters in center Sam Johnson and forwards Griffin Lorimer and Jack VanWingen. Reserve forwards Sam Negen and Jason Keena and guards Ben Arteaga and Adam ...

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Seasoned GH girls team primed for long run

BY Josh VanDyke [email protected]   The Grand Haven girls varsity basketball team has gone through the proverbial “growing pains” of a young roster in the last two seasons. Now, those former underclassmen contributors are seasoned veterans at the varsity level, giving head coach Katie Kowalczyk-Fulmer one of her most experienced squads in her 20-year tenure. “From top to bottom, this year’s team is one of my deepest and most experienced that I’ve ever had,” she said. “We’ve got a lot of players that have been playing at the varsity level since they were freshmen and some girls coming up from a junior varsity team that had a great year last season.” WHO’S BACK The playing rotation only loses one contributor from last year’s team that finished 15-7 overall and 8-4 in a loaded O-K Red Conference. Junior point guard Alli Keyser will return for her third season as a starter on the varsity team after averaging 15 points and three assists per game as a sophomore. “She’s worked really hard on her game over the offseason,” Kowalczyk-Fulmer said of her starting point guard. “She’s gotten quicker and stronger, her ball handling has gotten better, and she continues to work on ...

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WMC boys hope to learn on the fly

The Western Michigan Christian boys basketball team hopes to turn the court into a classroom this winter, as the Warriors field one of their youngest squads in recent history. Second-year head coach Kurt Gruppen likes what he sees so far from his young squad and thinks the Warriors can counter their lack of size and experience with heart and effort. “We have a hard-working group this year,” he said. “For what we lack in size, we try to make up for it in effort.  We will need to use some of our team speed this year to our advantage when the opportunities are there.” The Warriors only return two players to the playing rotation from a team that went 7-13 last winter in senior point guard Tyler Van Beek and junior guard Nolan Fairfield. Both Van Beek and Fairfield were starters for WMC last season. WMC will rely heavily on its junior varsity and freshmen team call-ups from last year to make immediate contributions at the varsity level. Junior Brant Zeerip will likely be a starter for the Warriors, while fellow juniors Tyler Somers, Zach Butkis, Brandon Sytsma, Joe Hain and Hayden Hubers will likely be in the playing rotation ...

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WMC girls will generate power through the post

The Western Michigan Christian girls basketball team will be replacing some key pieces from last year’s regional semifinal run in forward Cassie Kingma and Katelyn Wright. The Warriors went 13-10 overall and 5-5 in the Lakes Eight Conference last season, winning a district championship in the process. Now, WMC will have to rely on some of its returning contributors to carry the load in 2017-18. Senior forward Aubrey Goorman will be the headliner for the Warriors this season. As a junior, Goorman averaged 18.5 points and nine rebounds per game on her way to earning All-State honors from the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan, as well as Honorable Mention All-State honors from the Associated Press. The current Trinity Christian College commit was also named to the Lakes Eight All-Conference team. Joining her will be junior forward Anna Sytsema, who averaged seven points and five rebounds per game last season. “Aubrey and Anna were playing unstoppable at the end of the season last year,” said head coach Jeremy Goorman. “That tandem helped us go on a postseason run and beat Kent City in the district finals. “Aubrey showed what she was made of when she broke her nose in the first ...

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