Sports roundup 2.20

Written by David Green.

Fayette boys: Many people will miss Stryker’s unique basketball court when The Stage is replaced by a new gymnasium next year, but the place left a bad impression in the minds of Fayette’s boys team.

The Eagles visited Stryker Friday to close out play in the old gym. The Panthers responded with a “historically” good shooting night to lambaste Fayette 66-38.

The game didn’t start off in such a lop-sided fashion. Fayette managed to keep pace through the first quarter, trailing 10-6, but Stryker broke loose in the second period to go ahead 32-10.

That’s it, said Eagle coach Todd Mitchell: Only 10 points on the board for the entire first half.

Stryker took another six-point advantage in the third quarter and the teams played even up in the fourth. There was no catching up with the Panthers’ shooting pace.

“They shot 60 percent from both the two- and three-point range,” Mitchell said. “We shot 28 percent.”

The Eagles wouldn’t give up trying to hit from the outside, but only three of 17 tries found their mark.

“We just weren’t attacking the basket,” Mitchell said, “and so we weren’t getting to the line.”

Evan Hibbard was the leading Fayette scorer with nine points.

SECTIONALS—The Eagles enter the sectional tournament tonight at Bryan High School with the aim of posting their second victory against Edon. After the regular season, both teams won once.

The first time around Fayette won in overtime. More recently, the Bombers came through with a two-point margin of victory.

Fayette plays the second game tonight, scheduled at 8 p.m., following the sectional opener between Stryker and Edgerton at 6:15.

The winners meet at 8 p.m. Friday before action moves on to Napoleon.


Morenci boys: Morenci’s long-distance attack against Whiteford wasn’t enough here Thursday, not with the Bobcats living off the free-throw line.

The Bulldogs hit an unusually high 13 three-point shots—a bonus of 13 points—but Whiteford put 23 of 28 through from the line to win 77-66.

Morenci came back to pull within five points midway through the fourth quarter, but fouls got in the way and Whiteford maintained its lead.

Seven Morenci players scored from outside the arc, the Bulldogs went to the line only six times.

Jacob Bovee led scoring for Morenci with 16 points, including four three-pointers.

HUDSON—When Hudson visited Saturday for a non-league contest, it was  Morenci that faced a barrage of outside shooting, with the Tigers connecting on 10 shots. They also outpaced Morenci at the line and went home with a 67-52 win.

It proved to be a good trip for Hudson as they picked up only their fourth win of the season.

Bovee was the leader for the Bulldogs with 20 points. Morenci hit 75 percent from the line, but only had eight chances.

• The regular season comes to a close Thursday at Clinton when the Bulldogs try to pick up a final TCC victory against the league’s newest entry.

The Bulldogs drew a bye in the opening round of district tournament play next week at Blissfield.

Morenci plays the winner of the Whiteford-Blissfield game at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27.

At 7:30 that night, Sand Creek faces the winner of the Madison-Summerfield contest.


Morenci girls: Good looks, but not too many baskets.

That’s how Morenci’s first half went when Lenawee Christian School’s girls team visited Feb. 12.

But after the half-time break, the Bulldogs got both the looks and the baskets and went on to stop the Cougars 49-33.

“We just needed to get the ball in the hole,” said Morenci coach Jim Yatzek, and that’s what he got.

Starting off the second half trailing 20-16, Morenci broke the game open with a 15-3 quarter. Most everyone got in on the scoring act.

Nicolette Swimmer started it off, then Chanler McCaskey tied the game. Next it was Jackie Paris’s turn with a three-pointer, followed by a bucket from Morgan McVay and then another from Jessica Jones.

Brooke Barrett was next in line as the Bulldogs went on top by nine points at the end of the quarter and 16 at the end of the game.

“They’re a decent shooting team,” Yatzek said about the visitors, “but we’re playing a darn good defense now. I thought they had a pretty difficult time with our defense all night long.”

Paris hit three three-pointers and finished with 10 points, along with Swimmer and McCaskey. Paris also collected seven rebounds. Jones finished with three blocks and seven boards. Swimmer grabbed six steals.


Morenci wrestling: Three Morenci wrestlers will advance to regional competition Saturday after top-four finishes in the district tournament. Two of those Bulldogs will compete in the same weight class.

Dustin Roller came through with a fourth place finish in the 130-pound class. Jeffrey Nofziger and Kyle McClain both made it through at 145 pounds.

“It couldn’t have worked out any better with having them both at 145,” coach Scott Clark said. “It stayed close and they wrestled hard.”

Nofziger took third place by topping his teammate in the consolation finals.

It made for a relaxing bout for Clark and his assistant, Jesse Bach, who didn’t have to worry about which one came out on top.

With three wrestlers qualifying at 145 pounds, Clark moved McClain up to the 152-pound class for most of the season.

Clark was pleased with McClain’s finish since the two-time regional qualifier was seeded down at number nine despite having beaten some of the those ranked ahead of him.

Clark said Nofziger never looked better this season. He’s been fighting injuries and will go into the regionals with a 21-7 record. McClain and Roller are the only two wrestlers to advance out of the districts with losing records.

Roller opened with a 22-9 decision against Grass Lake before losing to a returning state champion from Hudson in a 3:12 pin.

He came back with a 19-4 decision against Michigan Center and lost in the finals to a regional qualifier from Sand Creek.

Nofziger pinned a Reading opponent at 4:22 and out-pointed a Jonesville wrestler 21-5. He lost to the eventual champion from Addison, 3-0, and came back in the closing seconds to defeat Grass Lake 6-5.

He defeated his teammate 4-3.

McClain opened with a 3:13 pin against Union City and lost to the Addison champ, 15-3.

He came back to defeat Jonesville 7-2 and upset a Hudson wrestler 3-2.

  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
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    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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