WALLED LAKE WESTERN
Two losses this past week ended Walled Lake Western’s hopes of earning at least a share of the Kensington Lakes Activities Association North Division title.
The Warriors (11-5, 7-3 KLAA North) fell at home to Waterford Mott, 40-34, on Tuesday, Feb. 5 before losing in overtime at Huron Valley Lakeland, 41-38, on Friday, Feb. 8.
Those defeats opened the door for Waterford Kettering (13-1, 8-1) to claim its third straight KLAA North Division title with one division game remaining against Walled Lake Northern on Saturday, Feb. 9.
Western entered the final week of division play tied with Kettering atop the KLAA North at 7-1 after suffering their first division loss of the year to the Captains on Jan. 29.
Against the Corsairs (10-5, 6-3) on Feb. 5, the Warriors trailed 13-9 at the end of the first quarter before taking a 19-17 lead at halftime.
Western then led 29-23 entering the fourth quarter, but Mott proceeded to go on a 17-5 run in the fourth to seize the victory and stun the Warriors.
Erickah Woods led Western with 12 points while Brooke Schwandt had 7 and Maddie Schram had 6.
However, Mott sharpshooter Lauren Hung scored a game-high 20 points.
Kettering was then able to pull ahead of Western in the KLAA North with a 49-23 victory over Lakeland on Feb. 5.
Western looked to get back on track against Lakeland on Feb. 8 and led the Eagles 8-6 at the end of the first quarter.
Lakeland (8-8, 4-6) then pulled ahead to take a 23-19 lead at halftime before Western rallied to tie the score at 28 at the end of the third quarter.
Both teams then scored 6 points each in the fourth quarter as the score remain tied at 34 at the end of regulation.
In the overtime session, Lakeland outscored Western 7-4 to earn the victory and spoil the Warriors’ division title hopes.
Woods had 14 points for Western while Schram and Schwandt each had 7. Meanwhile, Dominique Zigo had 17 points for Lakeland, including 8-of-9 free-throw shooting, while Amanda Lock had 9.
Both Lakeland and Western began play in the KLAA Lakes Conference Tournament on Tuesday, Feb. 12.
If either team advanced in the tournament, that team would host a Lakes Conference semifinal on Thursday, Feb. 14. The Lakes Conference Championship game is on Monday, Feb. 18.
HURON VALLEY MILFORD
Huron Valley Milford split its final two games in Kensington Lakes Activities Association West Division play this past week.
The Mavericks (4-11, 2-8 KLAA West) first fell at home to Brighton, 56-35, on Tuesday, Feb. 5 as the Bulldogs would end up clinching the KLAA West title with a perfect 10-0 division record.
Milford trailed Brighton, 14-12, at the end of the first quarter but was outscored by the Bulldogs, 42-23, the rest of the game.
Elise Gustafson led the Mavs with 13 points while Lindsay Smith had 12.
Milford then traveled to Pinckney on Friday, Feb. 8 and came away with a 44-35 victory. The Mavs’ win was keyed by a 13-6 run in the second quarter and a 9-4 run in the third.
Gustafson had 13 points for Milford while Madison Kurtz had 11.
WALLED LAKE NORTHERN-WALLED LAKE CENTRAL
Walled Lake Northern demolished Walled Lake Central on the road, 72-32, on Tuesday, Feb. 5.
The Knights (4-11, 3-6 KLAA North) were led by Caitlin Crowley, who torched the Vikings for 34 points, including 6 three-pointers, while Noelle McDonald had 11.
Kayla Bryant led the Vikings (1-14, 0-9) with 6 points.
Northern hosted Waterford Kettering on Saturday, Feb. 9 while Central traveled to Waterford Mott that same day after both games were postponed on Friday, Feb. 8 due to heavy snow in the area.
WALLED LAKE CENTRAL
Walled Lake Central had to wait for its chance to clinch a division title after Mother Nature had different ideas.
The first-place Vikings’ game at home against second-place Waterford Mott was postponed on Friday, Feb. 8 due to heavy snow in the area and was rescheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 12.
Central (12-3, 8-1 KLAA North) entered the Feb. 12 contest with a chance to clinch the Kensington Lakes Activities Association North Division title outright, leading the Corsairs (11-4, 7-2) by a full game.
The Vikings’ only game this past week was a thriller as it stunned Walled Lake Northern in overtime, 51-48, on Tuesday, Feb. 5 thanks to a game-winning 3-pointer by T.J. Warren at the buzzer.
Central received some help that same night from rival Walled Lake Western, who knocked off Mott on the road, 58-51, giving the Vikings a one-game cushion in the standings.
Against the Knights on Feb. 5, Central found itself tied with Northern at 18 at halftime before falling behind 35-29 at the end of the third quarter.
But, Central outscored Northern 16-10 in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 45 and force overtime.
In the extra session, Justin Nafso hit a triple to give Central a 48-45 lead with a minute and a half left.
Gage Throgmorton tied the game for the Knights (4-11, 3-6) at 48 by converting on three of four free-throw attempts.
But, Warren would come up big in the clutch as he took a pass from Nafso and drilled the game-winning triple as the buzzer sounded.
Warren and Philip Nelson each finished with 13 points for Central while Throgmorton led the Knights with a game-high 22 points.
Northern’s game at Waterford Kettering on Friday, Feb. 8 was also postponed due to snow and was made up on Monday, Feb. 11.
But, Huron Valley Lakeland’s loss to Walled Lake Western on Feb. 8 assured the Knights a fourth-place finish in the KLAA North and a spot in the KLAA Lakes Conference Tournament, which begins on Friday, Feb. 15 with first-round matchups.
In this year’s format, KLAA North schools will host schools from the KLAA West in the first round. If the tournament started today, Central would be the North’s No. 1 seed and host the West No. 4 seed, Brighton.
Meanwhile, Northern is assured of a matchup against KLAA West Division champion Grand Blanc in the first-round.
WALLED LAKE WESTERN
Don’t look now, but Walled Lake Western is becoming a more dangerous team that is positioning itself for a strong postseason run.
The Warriors won their final two division games this past week, including a 58-51 victory at Waterford Mott on Tuesday, Feb. 5.
Western (11-5, 7-3) trailed the Corsairs 22-17 at halftime before rallying to tie the game at 35 at the end of the third quarter.
The Warriors then outscored Mott, 23-16, in the fourth, including 10 straight points, to pull out the win.
Miroslav Jaksic led the Warriors with 19 points while Marcus Bailey had 15 and Jerald Booker had 10.
The Warriors then followed up with a 56-45 victory at home over Huron Valley Lakeland (5-11, 2-8) on Friday, Feb. 8 as Jaksic finished with 14 points for Western while Booker had 13 points.
Since falling to previously winless Waterford Kettering on Jan. 29, the Warriors have now won three straight, including victories over first-place Walled Lake Central and second-place Mott.
Western will next host a first-round KLAA Lakes Conference tournament game on Friday, Feb. 15 against an opponent from the KLAA West yet to be determined.
HURON VALLEY MILFORD
Huron Valley Milford closed out KLAA West division play with two victories this past week.
The Mavericks (11-5, 6-4) first edged out Brighton on the road, 46-44, on Tuesday, Feb. 5.
Milford trailed the Bulldogs 23-21 at halftime before going on a 7-2 run in the third quarter to take a 28-25 lead.
The fourth quarter was hotly contested with Milford hanging on to win despite being outscored by Brighton, 19-18, in the quarter.
Alex Larson and Josh Corey each scored 11 points for Milford while Jason Hugan had 9 and Jacob Lee had 7.
Milford also shot 15-for-26 from the free-throw line on the night.
The Mavs then followed up with a 52-40 victory at home over Pinckney on Friday, Feb. 8 to close out division play. Corey led Milford with 13 points while Lee had 12.
Milford will next play in a KLAA Lakes Conference Tournament first-round game on Friday, Feb. 15 at a KLAA North opponent yet to be determined.
WALLED LAKE CENTRAL
Walled Lake Central stumbled in its only game this past week, falling to Berkley 5-1 on Wednesday, Feb. 6 in the Michigan Public High School Hockey Showcase at the Artic Coliseum in Chelsea.
The Vikings (11-5-5) trailed 4-0 before Eric Rosteck scored their only goal of the game in the third period with 3:47 left. Meanwhile, Joey Leider led Berkley with 2 goals.
After clinching the Kensington Lakes Activities Association North Division title with a 6-2 victory over Huron Valley Milford on Jan. 30, the Vikings tied rival Walled Lake Western 4-4 on Saturday, Feb. 2 in a KLAA division game.
Brandon O’Malley, Jarret Lazare, Rosteck and Adam Dennis each scored for Central in the tie with the Warriors.
The Vikings looked to bounce back in the High School Showcase when it faced Romeo on Sunday, Feb. 10. Central will next hit the road to face Livonia Stevenson tonight, Wednesday, Feb. 13.
-In other news from the Michigan Public High School Hockey Showcase:
-Huron Valley Milford defeated Mt. Clemens Chippewa Valley, 6-3, on Monday, Feb. 4. The Mavericks then fell to Lake Orion, 5-3, on Thursday, Feb. 7.
-Walled Lake Western fell 5-4 to Bloomfield Unified on Wednesday, Feb. 6. The Warriors then bounced back with a 5-4 victory over Ann Arbor Huron on Thursday, Feb. 7.
Western next faced L’Anse Creuse on Sunday, Feb. 10.
-Huron Valley Lakeland took on Kingsford on Saturday, Feb. 9 before facing Oxford on Sunday, Feb. 10.
-Walled Lake Northern fell to Clarkston, 3-2, on Wednesday, Feb. 6 and took on Farmington on Sunday, Feb. 10.
NATIONAL SIGNING DAY
A number of lakes area student-athletes made their college commitments official on National Signing Day on Wednesday, Feb. 6.
In a turn of events, Walled Lake Western’s standout football star, Josh Jones, signed with North Carolina State, a switch from his previous verbal commitment to the University of Illinois.
In other signings, Walled Lake Northern’s Taylor Nutting signed to play soccer at the University of South Alabama, while Walled Lake Central track and field athlete Cullen Prena is headed west to join the University of Oregon Ducks.