Lady Rams secure two more OK Red victories

Lady Ram Karli Showers ties up a Jenison player, creating a key turnover.

Lady Ram Karli Showers ties up a Jenison player, creating a key turnover.

Who wants to rebound, block out, play tough defense, hit the open Ram with a pass, dive for a loose ball, or share the ball? These are items that won’t show up in the box score, but are essential to winning a basketball game. Midseason OK Red competition continues, and the Rams continued to weave these attributes into their game plan. The Rams hope to challenge and return to the top of the OK Red standings this week. Rockford played home and road games this past week against conference opponents Jenison and Muskegon.

The Rams came away with a 38-34 victory against a pesky Jenison Wildcat team on Tuesday, Jan. 26. What looked on paper to be a easy win was anything but. A win is a win, even if Jenison made it a hard-fought and ugly one. The Wildcats’ new head coach Mark Dobrzynski employed a tight zone defense in all four quarters, which Rockford found difficult to exploit. It turned into a low-scoring affair, but as usual the Rams found a way. The Rams were led in scoring by senior Caitlyn Patterson with 13 points.

The halftime score favored Rockford, 17-15.

The entire second half turned into a dog fight. Late into the fourth quarter, with the score tied at 29-29, Megan Kelley hit a pressure packed three-pointer to put the Rams up for keeps. With Kelley’s go-ahead bucket at the 3:10 mark, the Rams coasted home.

	The Rams have a big week in conference play, hosting East Kentwood Tuesday, Feb. 2, at 7 p.m. and then a road game against OK Red conference leader West Ottawa on Friday, Feb. 5. Each game now becomes increasingly significant as the race for the OK Red championship begins to take shape.

The Rams have a big week in conference play, hosting East Kentwood Tuesday, Feb. 2, at 7 p.m. and then a road game against OK Red conference leader West Ottawa on Friday, Feb. 5. Each game now becomes increasingly significant as the race for the OK Red championship begins to take shape.

Each Ram player on the floor made significant contributions in gaining their fourth league win (4-2, 9-2). Scoring for Rockford were Patterson (13), Kelley (8), Allison Huyser (8), Kimberly Weston (6), Halle Peterson (2), and Karli Showers (1). The Rams were 9 for 13 from the foul line, while Jenison was only 6 for 13.

Friday, Jan. 29 found the Rams (10-2, 5-2) on the road once more in a match up with Muskegon. The Lady Rams rolled into Muskegon firing on all cylinders as they claimed a 65-29 victory. After the narrow win at Jenison the same week, this event wasn’t even close, as Rockford put up a season high 65 points.

Rockford shared the ball well, passing to the open player, as 10 Rams were in the scoring column. Rockford outscored the Big Reds in each quarter, holding a 30-12 advantage by half. Rockford scored 21 points in the third quarter and 14 in the fourth on their way to playing everyone dressed in orange and black.

Kelley led the way with 15 points, followed by Peterson (12), Rachael Henry (12), Patterson (8), Brittany Prins (5), Weston (4), Katherine Huyser (4), Allie Hickox (2), Hannah Rocheleau (2), and A. Huyser (1). The Rams continue to deliver from the foul line 17 for 25, the Big Reds 13 for 23.

The Rams have a big week in conference play, hosting East Kentwood Tuesday, Feb. 2, at 7 p.m. and then a road game against OK Red conference leader West Ottawa on Friday, Feb. 5. Each game now becomes increasingly significant as the race for the OK Red championship begins to take shape.

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Boys ski to first-place finish at Cannonsburg

Carly Funk skis to a second-place finish in slalom and third-place finish in giant slalom during the GGRHSSA varsity race at Cannonsburg Ski Area.

Carly Funk skis to a second-place finish in slalom and third-place finish in giant slalom during the GGRHSSA varsity race at Cannonsburg Ski Area.

Girls take fourth place

Week three of the Greater Grand Rapids High School Ski Association (GGRHSSA) concluded after a varsity race at Cannonsburg Ski Area on Tuesday, Jan. 26, followed by a combined varsity/JV race on the steeper, more challenging slopes of Caberfae Peaks, west of Cadillac, on Friday, Jan. 29.

Once again, 11 high school teams along with independent racers converged and sped down the slopes, with racers skiing as fast as possible, sometimes experiencing the thrill of finishing and other times the disappointment of falling or hitting a gate. If a racer falls, they can hike back up the hill to the missed gate and then finish the race, but if they lose a ski, they are disqualified. It takes strength, agility and courage to finish at the top, especially as the slopes get steeper.

Julie Daukss takes first place in slalom and fourth in giant slalom to help the Rams to a fourth-place finish at Cannonsburg on Tuesday, January 26.

Julie Daukss takes first place in slalom and fourth in giant slalom to help the Rams to a fourth-place finish at Cannonsburg on Tuesday, January 26.

 

Each team sends six racers down the hill, with racers taking two runs each of slalom and giant slalom (GS). Their combined run times determine their overall individual score in each event. The team score is determined by the placement points of the top four finishers. When a team is able to place all of their top four finishers in the top 15, their chances at earning first place as a team are high. Rockford has several talented racers this year, with at least 10 racers capable of consistently finishing in the top 20.

This was demonstrated at Tuesday’s race at Cannonsburg with Rockford boys taking first place with 62 points. East Grand Rapids took second with 79 points, followed by Forest Hills Central (127), Forest Hills Northern (135), and Grand Haven (147).

Once again, the boys’ team leader was Michael Dix with a first-place finish in slalom (59.68) and a fifth-place finish in GS (51.89). Rounding out the scoring in a very challenging slalom event, Taylor Noakes finished fourth (1:02.73), and John Milewski sixth (1:04.03). Travis Fleming posted an excellent 12th-place finish on his first run, but fell on the second, resulting in being disqualified. Ben Avink was in 13th place on his first run, but hit a gate and had to hike, resulting in 28th place (1:17.53).

The team score became dependent upon a strong finish of the last racer, Casey Hefferan. After finishing in 15th place on his first run, Hefferan came through and finished eighth on his second run for an overall placement of ninth (1:06.06).

In the GS event, Avink placed 10th (52.61), Noakes 12th (52.76), and Fleming 15th (53.29). Tyler Manikowski also finished strong in 18th place (53.53) and Milewski finished 27th (55.36).

Rockford girls finished in fourth place overall with 137 total points. Grand Haven finished first with 82 points, followed by Forest Hills Central (121.3) and Forest Hills Northern (124).

Rockford girls were led this week by Julie Daukss and Carly Funk. Daukss had a first-place finish in slalom (1:10.34) and took fourth place in GS (54.20). Trading rankings with Daukss, Funk placed second in slalom (1:12.79) and third in GS (53.99).

Rounding out the scoring for the girls was Kaiti Bartholomy with 25th place in GS (1:00.31) and 33rd in slalom (1:38.35), Emily Kommer 28th in GS (1:00.64), and Bethany Hicks 41st in slalom (1:45.07). Outside of scoring range, Hicks finished 36th in GS (1:02.42) and Macauley finished 42nd in GS (1:04.15). Ashley Rister had a 24th-place finish in her first run of slalom, but fell on her second run and was disqualified. Macauley also fell in slalom.

The team traveled to Caberfae on Friday, Jan. 29, but as of press time results were not yet available.

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Rams win gymnastics dual meet at home

The Rockford gymnastics team hosted a dual meet against Lowell High School on Wednesday, Jan. 20. With an overall score of 139.05, the team took the meet, with Lowell scoring an overall of 119.40.

The floor exercise brought out the highest scores of the evening, with senior Ali VanBelkum throwing an additional front handspring layout front tuck at the end of her routine to earn a 9.65. Senior Emily Noffsinger brought up second with a 9.375. Senior Kelsey Donely and sophomore Jenelle Miller also scored high with a 9.175 and 9.0 respectively.

On the vault, sophomore Casey Buelken earned an 8.5 and junior Katie Palmisano an 8.4.

The balance beam, always a challenging event, resulted in some well-earned scores with senior Kaylie Newville earning a 7.8 and sophmore Maggie Setterington a 7.5.

On Saturday, Jan. 30, the team traveled to Kenowa Hills for an invitational consisting of 11 teams. More than 70 girls competed in eight rotations. Rockford split the girls into two teams, orange and black, and both teams earned a spot in the top ten.

Rockford’s orange team scored 127.5 overall, resulting in a ninth-place finish. Freshman Colleen Conroy scored an 8.45 on the vault. Buelken and sophomore Maggie Setterington both scored 8.0 on the floor, Palmisano an impressive 7.8 on the beam, and Newville and senior Morgan Paavola 8.35 and 7.8 on the vault.

Rockord’s black team scored an overall of 137.3, firmly placing them in third. VanBelkum took first on floor exercise with an overall of 9.45. Donely and Noffsinger also placed, with Donely earning sixth on floor with a 9.15 and Noffsinger ninth on the floor with a 9.0. VanBelkum, Donely and Noffsinger all placed within the top ten in multiple events, with Donely placing sixth on the beam, VanBelkum third on the vault, and Noffsinger eighth on both the uneven bars and the balance beam. Miller scored consistently high marks with a 8.75 on floor, 8.4 on vault, and 8.15 on beam.

VanBelkum and Noffsinger both placed in the top ten all-around, with VanBelkum placing third and Noffsinger taking eighth.

The team from Mona Shores won the event with an overall score of 142.025.

Up next is a quad meet scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 2 at Kenowa Hills, followed by Forest Hills at Rockford on Wednesday, Feb. 10 at 7 p.m.

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Rams grab their champion share of last home dual wrestling meet

s suffers his first defeat in a tough

Nate Rojas suffers his first defeat in a tough OK Red conference against Anwar Munye of East Kentwood. Photo by JIM COOPER

by TIM COOPER

 With the starting weight drawn at 140 pounds, Rockford’s Austin Scogg took to the mat first on Wednesday, Jan. 27 at Rockford High School. Scogg’s opponent was a well-coached Niko Parks of East Kentwood.

Apparently attempting to set the tone for the rest of the dual meet, the referee awarded numerous stalling calls during the first two periods. With the score tied at 2-2 after the first period, East Kentwood’s Parks escaped early in the second, putting both wrestlers back on their feet and taking a 3-2 lead. Again the referee awarded double stalling calls, awarding two points to each wrestler. With Scogg trailing 5-4 at the start of the third period, he evened the match with an escape for one point, sending this battle into overtime.

Chubs Johnson makes a

Chubs Johnson makes a triumphant return to the lineup against Sam Booker of East Kentwood. Photo by JIM COOPER

In the first overtime period, both wrestlers started on their feet and, after the end of one minute, remained on their feet.

In the second overtime period, Parks chose the down position and was given 30 seconds to escape the grasp of Scogg, who proved up to the task and was able to ride Parks for the entire time.

In the final overtime period, Scogg chose the down position. Using a standup, he escaped from Parks, taking a one-point lead. Scogg opened the gap with a double-leg takedown and two points. As time ran out, Scogg led the match 8-5.

In the 145-pound match, East Kentwood’s highly ranked Nick Bohn faced Rockford reserve wrestler Connor Grady. Bohn used just 1:50 to pin Grady and give East Kentwood a 6-3 lead on a team score.

Austin Scogg circles for

Austin Scogg circles for a takedown against Kentwood's Niko Parks on Wednesday, January 27. Photo by JIM COOPER

At 152 pounds, Bruce Carlstrom faced another highly ranked East Kentwood wrestler, as he took the mat against Deshawn Nelson, the number-one-ranked 152-pounder in Division I. In the first period, Nelson took Carlstrom to the mat for two points, but could gain no further advantage.

In the second period, Nelson chose the down position, escaped for one point, and again took Carlstrom to the mat for a 5-0 lead after four minutes.

In the third period, Carlstrom chose to be on bottom and was released by Nelson, making the score 5-1. As time ran out, Nelson received his third takedown of the match and a 7-1 victory after six minutes, building the Falcon lead to 9-3.

At 160 pounds, East Kentwood’s Desmond Couch used three minutes exactly to pin Rockford reserve wrestler Solomon Gant, increasing East Kentwood’s lead to 15-3.

 Bruce Carlstrom fights

Bruce Carlstrom fights off Deshawn Nelson of Kentwood. Photo by JIM COOPER

The tides began to change at 171 pounds, when Rockford senior Jake Dorulla pinned Phil McIntosh in 50 seconds. Dorulla remains undefeated for the season and top-ranked in Division I. The team score was 15-9, East Kentwood.

Jake Johnson (189 pounds) further cut into the East Kentwood lead with his fall of Raheim Oliver in 55 seconds, tying the dual meet at 15-15.

Zack Banaszak (215) put the Rams in front for good with his fall of Kevin Todd in 2:48, bringing the team score to 21-15, Rockford.

In like manner, Joe Stefanski, wrestling up one weight class at 285 pounds, used 47 seconds to pin Phil Morrand of East Kentwood. This built the Ram advantage to 27-15.

Jake Byers puts the finishing

Jake Byers puts the finishing touches on a takedown against Kentwood's Austin Geerlings. Photo by JIM COOPER

Only two of the remaining matches went the full distance. Rockford’s Tyler VanRooyan pinned Billy Morrell in 1:57 in the 103-pound match. At 112 pounds, Nate Rojas fell in a 5-2 decision to East Kentwood’s Anwar Munye, making the team score 33-18.

Rockford increased their lead with falls from Chubs Johnson (119) over Sam Booker in 2:57, Jacon Scolten (125) over East Kentwood’s Anthony Houng with a fall in 3:24, and Jake Byers (130) over Austin Geerlings in 4:08, giving a commanding 51-18 going into the final match of the night.

At 135 pounds, Rockford’s Drew Scogg fell behind 4-0 to East Kentwood’s Jon Curly after one period. Scogg battled back in the second, scoring eight points on a reversal and two near-falls. In the third, Scogg increased his lead to 9-4 with an escape before Curly scored two on a takedown. As time ran out, Scogg walked away victorious with a 9-6 decision, giving the Rams a 54-18 victory over East Kentwood.

“I told the guys this week how well-coached Kentwood is and we needed to go after them tonight, which we did,” said Coach Richardson. “I was very impressed with the way we attacked every match. The Scogg brothers came up with huge wins, and Zack Banaszak’s return to the lineup was big. If we keep improving like we have, great things can happen.”

 Tyler VanRooyen runs a

Tyler VanRooyen runs a chicken wing on Billy Morrell of East Kentwood. Photo by JIM COOPER

Saturday, Jan. 30 was a rare day off for the varsity A team. However, the B team took to the mat as they hosted their annual tournament. In pool wrestling, Rockford racked up huge wins, beating Allendale by a score of 69-6 in the first round, a scrappy Caledonia team 64-12 in the second round, and a 73-6 thumping of Byron Center in the third.

In the championship match, Rockford faced Hastings, who defeated their three opponents in the opposite pool. Rockford continued to score big against Hastings, defeating the Saxons 56-15, winning the championship once again. Undefeated wrestlers for the B team on the day were Sam Merchun (112), Chris Barrentine (119), Alex Padilla (125), Trent Boyer (130), Danny Apkarian (135), Peter Nugent (140), Sam Williams (152), Solomon Gant (160), and Paul Creighton (189).

Next up for the Rams will be the conference tournament held at Grandville on Saturday, Feb. 6, and the district dual meets to be held on Wednesday, Feb. 10 in Traverse City.

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Rams hockey wins big at Mona Shores

Noah Greco scores,

Noah Greco scores, giving the Rams the lead. Photo by MICHELE VANDERVELDE

The Rockford Rams varsity hockey team traveled west Wednesday evening, Jan. 27, to take on perennial powerhouse Mona Shores, and returned home to Ram country with a huge 5-3 win. The rivalry between Rockford and Mona Shores has always been intense, and a win against the Sailors on their home ice has always been something to savor for any visiting team.

Leading the attack and having a big night for the Rams were senior forwards Cody Cantu and Noah Greco. Cantu’s outstanding performance resulted in two goals and one assist for the night, while Greco’s stellar performance produced two goals for the big win.

Rockford’s Eric Datema

Rockford’s Eric Datema wraps around the net, setting up a chance to score. Photo by MICHELE VANDERVELDE

 

Always a tough opponent, the Rams had to score early and often on the Sailors, and they did just that in the first period. Cantu put the Rams on the board first, scoring at the 13:19 mark with a nice setup assist from junior defenseman Mike VanderVelde, who also had a great night for the Rams, bringing his trademark rock solid defensive game. Less than three minutes later, Cantu found the net again at the 10:30 mark, giving the Rams a two-goal advantage. Assisting was senior defenseman Drake Veitenheimer.

Although the Sailors cut the lead to one with a goal at the 9:16 mark, the Rams got the two-goal advantage back when Greco found the back of the Sailor net with 4:53 seconds left in the first to end the period 3-1 Rams. The assists went to junior forward Eric Datema and Cantu.

Christian Van Portfliet

Christian Van Portfliet makes a save, keeping the Rams ahead. Photo by MICHELE VANDERVELDE

Period two saw the Rams keep the pressure on and not let up. The Rams struck first to widen the lead on another Greco goal at the 13:45 mark, again assisted by Cantu, making it 4-1 Rams. The Sailors did manage a score with 6:05 left in the period. However, great goaltending by Christian Van Portfliet and constant pressure by all the Ram lines kept the game in check to end the second period at 4-2, Rams.

The third period saw penalties on both teams, allowing Mona Shores to score on the power play at the 8:05 mark. However, Ram senior forward Jake Chaffee answered right back with a nice goal at the 6:05 mark, maintaining the Rams’ two-point advantage at 5-3. Senior forward Eric Conroy made the assist for Chaffee.

The Rams’ Zach King

The Rams’ Zach King sets up a play. Photo by MICHELE VANDERVELDE

From there the Rams kept up the pressure, skated hard and played smart hockey for the remainder of the game, even forcing the Sailors to commit two more penalties. This was enough to lock in a well-deserved Ram victory.

The Rams’ next game is against the Grandville Bulldogs on Thursday, Feb. 4 at Southside Ice Arena. Game time is 7:00 p.m.

 

 

 

Rockford’s Robert Perry drives the net.	Photo by MICHELE VANDERVELDE

Rockford’s Robert Perry drives the net. Photo by MICHELE VANDERVELDE

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