Sports Round-Up 2.25

Written by David Green.

FAYETTE VARSITY BOYS: A weak first quarter could have made a difference for Fayette’s varsity boys when league-leading Pettisville visited Friday.

The Blackbirds only scored eight points in the opening quarter—a good chance for the Eagles to take off.

That’s not the way it happened, however. Fayette scored only three points—all from the line.

The two teams played nearly even-up through the next two quarters and then it was the Blackbirds that took off.

Pettisville (17-2) came through with a 22-point fourth quarter to topple Fayette (9-10) by a 55-37 margin.

“We played quite well for three and a half quarters,” coach Todd Mitchell said.

With about three minutes to play, Fayette was down by only six points against the state-ranked Pettisville squad, but that six points quickly turned to 12.

The Eagles turned the ball over a couple of times and were called for an intentional foul. Pettisville ended the quarter hitting 10 of 17 free throws to build on their lead for the victory.

For the game, Pettisville scored 16 from 27 trips to the line. Fayette finished with 12 of 17, but its three-point percentage was only 14 percent and its two-point percentage was 38.

The Blackbirds put a lot more shots up, partly due to a better showing under the boards.

“We gave up 14 defensive rebounds and they put four back in for baskets,” Mitchell said.

The Eagles played a good overall defense, he said, but showed some weaknesses on rebounding.

Turnovers were down from the 30 committed the first time the teams played this season, but were still on the high side.

Mitchell is hoping for a first round win in sectional play to give the Eagles another chance at the Blackbirds.

Darrell Randall led scoring with 10 points, shooting four for six from the floor and two for two from the line.

“He really attacked the basket well,” Mitchell said.

Austin Hylander collected six rebounds and made three steals. Randall and Tyler Keefer each made a block.

• Coach Mitchell expects another good contest when the Eagles travel Friday to Edon (6-13) to wrap up the regular schedule. Fayette won the first round 70-62.

TOURNAMENT: Advance-sale tickets are available this week at Fayette High School for the boys sectional basketball tournament.

Tickets will be on sale during the school day Thursday and Friday and again on Monday until noon.

Tickets cost $4 for students and $6 for adults. All tickets will cost $6 at the door.

Fayette takes on Hilltop at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 3, at Bryan High School.

FAYETTE JV BOYS: Fayette’s JV boys trailed Pettisville by only nine points going into the final quarter at home Friday, but that fourth quarter proved to be a problem.

The Eagles hit only a single bucket from the floor and fell farther behind. The Blackbirds finished on top 53-38.

Both teams had good nights at the free throw line, but Pettisville had a lot more opportunities. Fayette hit 10 of 13 tries, including six for eight in the final period, but the Blackbirds put 16 of 24 through the hoop, including 10 in the final quarter.

Trevor Cox finished with a good offensive night, scoring 16 and going five for five from the line. Travis Kline shot three for five from the line and Hunter Colegrove hit two of three.

The Eagles wrap up the season Friday night at Edon.


If it wasn’t a missed shot, it was a turnover for Britton when the varsity girls visited Morenci last week. And mostly it was a turnover.

The Tories had trouble keeping possession of the ball in the opening quarter and fell behind 14-0 before scoring a point.

Morenci opened with a 23-3 first quarter and went on to post a 63-23 TCC victory.

Nicolette Swimmer started it off and she struck often throughout the opening quarter. But Mariah Bovee kicked in a three-pointer and Jade Pfund, Jackie Paris and Chanler McCaskey also contributed to the big lead early on.

Before half-time, Tess Ramsey, Amy Gillman and Tia Tompkins joined in the scoring to put everyone on the team in the book.

Swimmer went to the bench for much of the second half, but still finished on top of the Bulldogs’ offensive stats with 13 points. Paris was just behind with a dozen points, including a pair of three-point shots.

• Morenci ends the regular season at home Friday with the Winter Homecoming game.

Tournament play opens Monday at Blissfield when the Bulldogs try for a third victory this year over Whiteford.

The game is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. at the conclusion of the Sand Creek/Blissfield contest at 6 p.m.

The winner of Morenci’s game faces Madison at 7:30 p.m. March 4.

MORENCI VARSITY BOYS: Morenci was one of those teams that just wouldn’t go away Friday night.

League-leading Summerfield led by as much as 15 points in the third quarter when they visited Morenci, but the Bulldogs kept coming back.

Morenci cut the lead to seven points early in the final period, but the visitors always found a way to bump it back up—more often than not at the free throw line.

Summerfield held on to its position at the top of the league, tied now only with Clinton, by downing Morenci 75-65.

It was the troublesome second quarter that made all the difference. Summerfield took a one-point edge from the other three periods combined.

The Bulldogs quickly took a 16-15 lead in the second quarter on a bucket by Anthony Tompkins, and they soon tied it up again on a free throw by Clayton Wolf.

Then it fell apart.

A turnover by Morenci, a three-pointer by Summerfield. Another turnover by Morenci and two free throws by Summerfield. The visitors went on a 14-6 run to put them on top by 10.

Buckets by Wolf and Tompkins held the margin to 10 for the half-time break.

Six Morenci turnovers in the first three minutes of the third helped Summerfield to a 15-point lead, but the Bulldogs whittled it down again. With less than a minute gone in the fourth, Matt Hoadley hit a three to cut the lead to seven, 53-46, but that’s about the time Summerfield’s free throw shooting saved them.

In the middle portion of the fourth, they shot six of eight and finished the game hitting 26 of 33.

Wolf led all scorers with a season-high 29 points which included six points from the line. Jacob Bovee finished with 14 and Hoadley scored 10.

BRITTON—Morenci was on top by 20 points at half-time when Britton visited Tuesday. Coach Tim Bovee was able to turn to his large bench squad frequently and the team combined for a 65-51 win.

“We set the tone early,” Bovee said, “but we let up some in the second half.”

The frequent rotation of players broke up the flow at times, he said, but it was good to give the bench the chance to get in.

 “We switched up our defense and we were able to try out some new things,” Bovee said.

Hoadley had a big offensive night as he finished with 17 points, including a seven-for-eight showing at the line.

• The Bulldogs give Summerfield a hand at home Thursday when Clinton visits to wrap up Morenci’s home schedule. The Bulldogs wrap up the regular season Tuesday at Whitmore Lake.

“We have a couple of tough games,” Coach Bovee said. “It’s a tough match-up against Clinton with their height and their 6-6 guy wasn’t playing the first time.”

Whitmore Lake had its fourth game of the season Monday in which the Trojans scored 18 three-point shots.

MORENCI JV BOYS: Morenci’s 60-44 victory Friday over Summerfield was the biggest win of the season for the Bulldog JV team, said coach John Craig. In fact, he says, it was one of the biggest of his 10-year coaching career.

“Our team of freshmen played like a solid JV team,” Craig said. “Summerfield is one of the best teams in the league and they’ve beaten just about everybody.”

That includes Morenci the first time around, when the Bulldogs lost by 16.

The visitors were forced to foul in the fourth quarter and Morenci responded. Max Gautz sunk nine of 11 tries in the fourth quarter, leading the Bulldogs on a 15-point free throw binge. For the game, Morenci hit 24 of 30 shots from the line.

Gautz hasn’t scored a lot from his point guard position this season, but finished with 18 Friday. Lucas Hollstein added 13 points, hitting five of seven from the line. Simon Jeffers hit five of six and Luke Craig made three of four.

The teams were tied at half-time before Morenci pushed into the lead.

“We played to win and we played with a lot of focus,” Coach Craig said. “We did an exceptional job of contesting each shot and we didn’t give them many second chances.”

When Craig brought out players from the bench, the team never lost a beat, he said.

BRITTON—Morenci scored a little more in each quarter to down Britton 62-53.

Hollstein led scoring with 17 points, followed by Craig with 16 and Gautz with 12. Craig canned three three’s and Gautz hit a pair.

MORENCI WRESTLING: Two Morenci wrestlers advanced out of the district tournament Saturday at Addison while seven others were knocked out of contention.

Morenci senior Jeff Nofziger (31-3) won the district title at 140 pounds and junior Dustin Roller (22-5) came through with a fourth-place finish at 130 pounds.

Both will compete at the regional tournament Saturday at Manchester which starts at 9 a.m.

The top four finishers in each weight class Saturday will advance to the state tournament in Detroit.

“You have to win two before you lose two,” Morenci coach Scott Clark said.

Nofziger scored a big 20-4 win against an Addison wrestler in his first match for the first meeting of the two this season.

He followed that with a 17-10 decision against a Madison wrestler and finished up with a 9-3 decision against Grass Lake to claim the district title.

Roller gave up five points early in his opener against a foe from Jonesville, but battled back to score a pin with one second remaining in the first overtime session.

He lost to the number one wrestler from Addison in a pin at 1:05, but came back with a 14-1 decision against Grass Lake.

He dropped an 8-3 decision in the consolation finals to advance with a fourth-place finish.

Morenci’s Tyler Guelde (112) claimed a 2:24 pin against a Reading wrestler, then lost to former teammate Camden McCaskey, 6-0, who now wrestles for Hudson.

Sam Majahrowski (285) pinned a Michigan Center wrestler in 48 seconds, but dropped matches to Hudson and Addison.

Jordan Bach, Loren Delmonico, Nate Grieder, Corey Williams and Marcus Burciaga all ended their season with losses at the tournament.

LITTLE LEAGUE: A Morenci Little League baseball and softball meeting is scheduled at 6 p.m. today (Wednesday) at City Hall starting. All coaches, umpires, parents and volunteers are encouraged to attend.

Registrations for 2009 Morenci Little League baseball and softball season have been extended through this week. Remaining registration dates are Wednesday from 6 to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon at Morenci City Hall; Thursday and Friday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the Morenci Area High School lobby.

Morenci’s Little League participation area includes Morenci and some rural portions of Fayette, Waldron and Lyons.

BOWLING TOURNAMENT: Sign-up is underway for the second annual Morenci Kiwanis/Rex Riley Scholarship Fund Bowling Tournament. The two-day event March 13 and 14 will follow a two-person scotch format.

Scoring will be based on each team’s total for four games. Games will be scheduled at 6 and 8 p.m. Friday and at 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

Adult/child teams are not limited to parents and their children. Everyone is welcome to form a team and participate.

Children must be at least five years old as of Jan. 27, 2009. The adult category is for bowlers 18 and over.

If enough interest is shown, a couples division will also be formed.

Children ages five, six and seven will use the alleys with bumpers.

The entry fee is $30 per team. Applications are available at Mor-N-C Lanes and must be returned with payment by March 9.

  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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