Photo courtesy of Lou Murray
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By: Nate Dreyer
CC vs. SC – Round 1:
The conference season burst out of the gates with big time games across Michigan Sports Radio’s air on Friday. Leading the way were the Cougars of GR Catholic Central. The OK-Gold again is expected to run through the battle of the ‘Cougs and South Christian.
Round one for ‘24 matched the two sides up in Byron Center at SC. The reginign state runners-up Sailors led a 27-25 battle at the half, before each side started to trade offensive shots throughout the 2nd half. CC went up by as much as seven points in the 4th quarter before SC brought the lead back down to one in the final 90 seconds. After a split pair of FTs from CC a final shot down two missed for South Christian, and the early conference advantage and bragging rights went to Catholic Central.
Durral Brooks led CC and all scorers with 21pts, Carson Vis led the Sailors with 20.
A busy night in the OK-Red on MSR also opened the conference season, The brand-new Hudsonville Fieldhouse hosted its first conference games with Grand Haven in town, with a pair of highly anticipated match-ups in both boys and girls action.
The Eagle boys flew high over the Bucs 62-48, to put one of the conference favorites in the win column to start Red play. In the girls contest, Grand Haven came in unbeaten on the season and the 2021 State Champ Eagles had only dropped 1 of their non-conference contests. The Lady Bucs would continue their impressive early march with a convincing 62-48 win to go to 8-0 on the year overall.
Also in the Red, EK and WO on the girls side had a top-flight battle between a top-ranked Falcons squad, and a Panthers team led by Ms. Basketball contender, Gabby Reynolds. EK won this back-and-forth contest 49-46 to get to 1-0 and keep pace with the likes of GH and reigning state champ, Rockford.
Grandville hosted a dominant win for the ‘Dawgs boys over Jenison by 31, 65-34. While the second game of the night at Vanderslice gymnasium went down to the wire, as the reigning district champion WIldcats girls prevailed in overtime over the Bulldogs and 1st yr HC, Mike VanHekken 45-44 – In a game both teams held the lead and multiple chances to win in the 4th quarter and OT.
Early OK-Blue Frontrunners, & More!:
The Coopersville boys won a big matchup vs. previously D2 top-10 ranked Holland Christian: 51-42. Putting the Broncos to 7-1 and an early 1-0 mark in the Blue as they look to capture the conference title that they lost on a buzzer-beater vs. Hamilton in the final game of the season a year ago.
The Northview boys also stayed unbeaten, as EJ & Cam Ryans, & Co. took down Forest Hills Northern on the road, big 64-38. The ‘Cats are now 5-0, as they seek to push to the Breslin Center in 2024.
Plenty of big matchups and moments with teams we’ll be seeing later on Michigan Sports Radio littered night one of conference play in the OK on games not broadcasted on the MSR Network Friday.
Hamilton joined Coopersville at 1-0 in the OK-Blue with a later buzzer-beater finish and 56-55 win over West Catholic, the Hawkeyes are now 5-2.
Unity Christian also picked up a big 72-57 win on the boys side over Allendale to join the 1-0 log-jam among the OK-Blue’s elite. Between 1/16 and 1/23, the ‘Saders will play 3 in-a-row vs. Hamilton, Coopersville, and Holland Christian – a stretch that will help decide the OK-BLue crown early in the campaign.
One of the most impressive individual performances in the GR-area in years took place in GR Ottawa Hills vs. Wayland Union. As Ottawa Hills senior Craig Hureskin turbocharged the Ottawa Hills offense, scoring 52 of the team’s 92 points in a big 92-59 win over the Wildcats.
The Zeeland West and East boys each won to open the season, they will meet next Friday – a game you can catch on MSR, along with the girls contests, at Zeeland West in a highly-anticipated version of the ‘Bird-Bowl’ on the hardwood.
Check back in on game days next week, as we’ll be back with more preview articles to help get you ready for the big matchups on the horizon, as the first full week of play in 2024 will include notable rivalries and critical games in conference races – such as Grandville and Rockford, Zeeland East and West, Hamilton vs. Coopersville, and Hudsonville vs. East Kentwood (which will have huge implications on the boys and girls side!).
Michigan Sports Radio is your one-stop-shop for all things high school sports in Michigan. Be sure to check out standings, schedules, & scores along with all of the live action, all season long!