Catholic Central Takes Command of O-K Blue: MSR Weekend Recap
By: Nate Dreyer
Future Michigan Wolverine Durral Brooks made his return off of injury to the GR Catholic Central roster count Friday. The senior guard went for 30 points to secure a home victory and a season sweep of South Christian Friday night, as C.C. went to 8-0 in the O-K Gold with a 58-45 win.
The complete performance on both ends of the floor was a near wire-to-wire win for C.C., as they led atb the end of every quarter, including a 17-point lead at the half before snagging a 13-point advantage at the final buzzer.
Cougars sophomore guard Jordan McCoy was terrific alongside Brooks against the rival Sailors, scoring 16 on the evening. The Sailors were led by Jake VerMaas, as the future GVSU football WR had 12 points in the loss.
With the win, Catholic Central now has the double head-to-head advantage and a two game lead over South Christian, putting coach T.J. Meerman’s squad in prime position to win another conference title at season’s end – and carry that momentum into the playoffs where another matchup with South Christian, along with streaking Unity Christian and/or GR Christian seem to be on tap in a loaded west Michigan D2 bracket.
The Catholic Central girls also were able to echo the same sentiment as the boys, as they picked up a 54-32 win of their own on MSR on Friday as well vs. their southern rival. With that win the Cougars ladies now hold a two game advantage in the ‘gold’ of their own, at 8-0, two clear of Wayland and Cedar Springs.
C.C. Wraps up Weekend with Snapped Win Streak at 2K24 Showcase
The ‘Cougs boys were back in action on MSR Saturday afternoon at Aquinas College in the 2K24 Showcase, they would stack their nine game win streak up against Lima HS of Ohio. Notably in this one, after playing Friday, Durral Brooks was back out of the lineup on short rest for the second half of the back-to-back.
The win streak would get snapped for C.C. against one of Ohio’s best, as Lima won 51-45 over G.R.C.C., who made a solid second half comeback to close the final gap after trailing by double digits at the halftime break. Carter Meerman was the top attacker for C.C., as he put up 22 points on the strength of nailing six three-pointers. Lima (OH) was led by their standout Freshman Shawn Foster with 20.
*Other notable games at the showcase included Northview, who played an overtime thriller earlier in the afternoon against Ann Arbor Huron. The Wildcats would fall short in the extra period, as Huron won 72-71. Two players in the up-and-down contest went for 30+ points, as Macari Moore had 35 for AA Huron, and Brady Swartz went for a career-best 34 for the ‘Cats.
*East Kentwood cleaned up at Aquinas, dominating Warren Lincoln 70-43. Christian Humphrey-Rembert showed out at the showcase, as he often does at these type of events, with 21 points and some real highlight-reel plays.
*While not involving a west side team, the showcase did feature the top two ranked teams in the state in division one. As reigning state semifinalist Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (#1) took on reigning state quarterfinalist East Lansing (#2). Both teams saw their season end against Muskegon last year and title threats in D1 across west Michigan, like Northview and the Big Reds certainly had their eye on this game.
It was arguably the best player in the state that led the way in this one, as Trey McKenney earned Player of the Game honors for OLSM with an impressive 28 points. The Eaglets secured victory on the back of their junior star, 56-37, a huge statement win.
*Two of west Michigan’s best, including the reigning state runner-up in D1 Muskegon were in action in the nightcap at AQ. As the Big Reds played Grand Rapids Christian, who has spent the season as the top (and if not number one, second) ranked team in the state in division two.
Grand Rapids Christian led this one throughout as they translated a 35-24 halftime lead into a 60-51 win over the Big Reds. A massive statement for the Eagles, who continue to look like the west-side’s top team and will have two chances to fully prove that in short order as they will play a pair of games against Northview in just a little over a week’s-span.
Alliance League Upset
The most exciting game of Friday night on MSR may have come out of the Alliance League, as cross-town rivals Wyoming Godfrey-Lee and Tri-Unity Christian battled, each coming in with 2-0 records and at the top of the conference.
Last year, Dominic Shannon’s Legends were able to defend home floor against the Tri-Unity Defenders, and had their sights on doing it again – this time on the road. TCS entered as the number one team in the state in division four, but was coming off a heart-breaking loss vs. D3 Schoolcraft at the buzzer Tuesday night.
The game was to be a battle of pace and style, as 5-time state champion Mark Keeler’s Defenders would look for their typical grinding, defense-first pace; while Shannon’s Legends would look to get up and down the floor and cause a bit of chaos.
It would be Shannon’s team that would control the game in a hectic back-and-forth affair that saw several second half lead changes, until it would be the Legends taking a late multi-possession advantage.
Tri-Unity would have multiple late possessions featuring multiple offensive rebounds, but they weren’t able to score the crucial late baskets in a chaotic ending, and Wyoming Lee would go back-to-back with upset wins over the Defenders, 62-57. Marc Whitfield led the Legends with 25 in the win, and Joey Mellon had 20 for Tri-Unity Christian.
Coopersville Conquers the Civic
The O-K Blue race has been paced so far by Unity Christian, who has been perfect in league play. But, the two teams in closest pursuit played at the historic Holland Civic Center Friday night in double header action on MSR. Coopersville made the trip to Holland Christian, and the Coop boys were able to stay just a game back of Unity with an impressive road win, as they controlled the game to their style, to a ‘T”.
The Broncos won 53-34 in the road contest, as Porter Kretschman was again the leader for the Broncos, as he piled up 18 points. Coopersville has Hamilton and Fruitport next week, as they have a chance to pile up a couple of more wins before their next meeting with Unity Christian on February 16.
The Holland Christian girls were able to earn a split of the evening, as they won 48-36. With that win, the HC girls remained tied for second in the O-K Blue at 6-2 (with Spring Lake) – two games back of West Catholic’s pace at 8-0.
Rockford Rolls On
The Rockford and Caledonia basketball programs met on MSR in Rockford on Friday, in what wound up being a critical night in the jockeying for position on both the boys and girls side of the O-K Red.
The Rams boys were able to stay perfect in the conference, as they took down the Scots 56-46. Michael DeKuiper led a balanced scoring attack for the Rams with 14, and Andrew Landis was right behind with 13. The Rams will have Grand Haven (fresh off an OT win over Hudsonville on Friday) and Grandville next week, the latter of those games will be on MSR – as the GAME NIGHT crew will have video coverage of the Grandville/Rockford rivalry Friday night.
After their loss to East Kentwood , the Rockford Girls have been rolling and looking for a little help to be able to once again control their own destiny in the O-K Red. They got that help from Gabby Reynolds and West Ottawa Friday, as the Panthers took down the previously perfect in conference Falcons – as Gabby Reynolds collected her 1500th career point in the win. Rockford was able to roll 65-32 Friday to now pull even with East Kentwood and create a win-out and win the conference scenario for the Rams ladies.
Other Area Games & Notes
*Merritt Alderink, the Indiana State signed 4th-year starting forward for Zeeland West hit a milestone on Friday in the Dux’ win over Wyoming. Alderink secured his 1000th career point, as ZW won 63-46 over the Wolves, staying in 3rd spot in the O-K Green behind Muskegon and unbeaten-in-the-league Reeths Puffer.
*Grandville’s girls and boys had a successful trip to Jenison on the Wildcats’ Pink-Out night for charity. As they were able to pick up a road sweep of the ‘Cats. The Bulldogs program will be at home Tuesday vs. WO and Friday vs. Rockford – The GAME NIGHT on MSR team will have video coverage of all four games at Vanderslice Gym next week.
*Byron Center and EGR played a thriller in boys action Friday, as the Bulldogs outlasted the Pioneers in overtime, 72-68. The Bulldogs have now won four-straight (including two in OT), and seem to be peaking for their second half run towards a loaded district that they will be hosting in division one.
The girls contest at East Grand Rapids also was a solid contest between two of the top programs in girls basketball in west MI, who are in the midst of a season-long battle for the O-K White. The BC girls would make it a road sweep, 49-42 over the Lady Pioneers and put the Bulldogs in solo first in a crowded ‘white’ race. With BC’s girls sitting at 6-1 in conference, FHN and EGR a game back at 5-2 and Lowell 1.5 back at 4-2.
Check back in here before all the action Tuesday for a preview of all the mid-week matchups you can catch live on MSR. And keep up to date with schedules, scores and standings all right here – at MichiganSportsRadio.com!