Those who attended Monday’s regional #17 boys basketball semifinals in Constantine were treated to two tremendous contests. Kalamazoo Christian edged Schoolcraft 45-44 to advance to the regional final for the second consecutive season. Joining the Comets in Wednesday’s final is unbeaten Cassopolis, who topped Homer 68-64.
The first game saw five total lead changes, including two towards the end. Schoolcraft went ahead 44-43 with 1:05 left on a Chris Cooper three-pointer. After a timeout, K-Christian’s Colin Sikkenga missed a quick three, but the ball went out of bounds off of the Eagles.
Jordan Katje drew a shooting foul with 22.7 remaining. The senior buried both shots, putting him at 8-10 in the game from the foul line with a game-high 22 points. Schoolcraft used their final timeout, giving them the final opportunity trailing by one.
Kobe Clark drove to the hoop and missed with eight seconds to go. Trenton Lomason got the offensive rebound, but his attempt was swatted away by Katje. Riley Piper snagged it at the free throw line with three seconds left, but his try fell short. Katje secured the ball under the hoop and held on to the final buzzer for the 45-44 Comet victory.
Video by Coletin Gascho
In total, the game saw five lead changes and four ties. Schoolcraft hit the opening bucket, but Kalamazoo Christian went on a 10-2 run early in the first. The Eagles finished the frame on a 6-0 streak to tie the game at 10, followed by a 7-0 Schoolcraft start to the second quarter. Schoolcraft stayed ahead for the rest of the first half, taking a 25-18 lead into the break.
The Eagles remained ahead throughout the third quarter, although their lead was down to 33-32 by the end of the third. The Comets opened the fourth with a 5-0 run for the lead and didn’t trail again until Cooper’s three in the final 65 seconds.
“Our chemistry and resiliency really showed tonight,” said Kalamazoo Christian coach Brennan Davis. “The kids never panicked and we battled back multiple times. Senior leaders stepped up tonight to pull this game out.”
Katje led all players with 22 points and also added 15 rebounds. Teammate John Cramer scored 12 on four three-pointers.
“Obviously Jordan had a monster game, but John Cramer came up huge knocking down key shots,” noted coach Davis. “I’m proud of our program, these kids work hard all year to get to moments just like that, and they came through tonight. We will have our hands full with a very good team in Cass.”
Clark and Piper both topped Schoolcraft with 12 each. The season ends for Schoolcraft at 17-7 and was the final varsity contest for Piper, Lomason, Jakob Huysken, Garrett Davis, and Riley Troyer.
Kalamazoo Christian improves to 22-2 and will defend their regional title Wednesday at 7 p.m. from Constantine against Cassopolis. You can listen live to that game via JoeInsider.
KALAMAZOO CHRISTIAN SCORING: Jordan Katje 22, John Cramer 12, Noah de Jong 3, Colin Sikkenga 3, Sean Cummings 2, Alex Scheffers 2, Elliot Lemmer 1.
SCHOOLCRAFT SCORING: Kobe Clark 12, Riley Piper 12, Jakob Huysken 9, Trenton Lomason 8, Chris Cooper 3.
The second semifinal Monday between Cassopolis and Homer saw 11 lead changes and nine ties. They were even 13-13 at the end of the first and 23-23 at halftime.
Cassopolis took the game’s first three-possession lead late in the third, but only led 52-48 at the end of the quarter. The Rangers were finally able to pull away for a double-digit lead in the final three minutes and held on from there.
Homer finishes 13-10 on the defeat and graduates three seniors; Jordan Sherman, Jeremy Hall, and Calvin Combs.
Cassopolis improves to 24-0 and gets a shot at K-Christian in Wednesday’s regional final, which can be heard live via JoeInsider.com. Their last regional title came back in 1989.
CASSOPOLIS SCORING: Tyrese Hunt-Thompson 23, Devin Jennings 9, Walter Lee 9, Brandon Anderson 8, Kiambu Gary 7, Darrion Gatson 7, Xander Smith 5.
HOMER SCORING: Zach Butters 16, Quentin Benson 15, Trevor Reagle 2, Jordan Sherman 11, Seth Deigert 6, T.J. Vanderkuyl 4