We're heading into the final two weeks of the MHSAA fall season, which means playoffs for a few more sports, first practices for many others, and some catch-up on good stories that have made their way into my e-mail or onto my desk. Here are five more I've run across this week.
And again, if you see something high school sports-related that you think others would find valuable, send me a link at [email protected].
Walled Lake Central quarterback Zac Leimbach led his team to the playoffs this fall (WLC lost last weekend). He also is the oldest of three sons and now the man of his house in the wake of the summer death of their father after a battle with cancer. Mick McCabe's passage about Leimbach's final conversation with his father really struck me -- incredible.
Taylor was born with spina bifida -- "a hole in her back" -- and paralysis from the hips down. But she can leave her wheelchair behind when she takes to the pool as a member of the Zeeland swim team. Dan D'Addona tells us this inspiring story that has made waves on the west side of the state this season.
Doyle was the spokesperson for her team to the media after tough losses ended their last two seasons. But she was able to stand in once more -- joyfully tearful this time -- in accepting the Miss Volleyball award for 2011. Matthew B. Mowery wraps up her great career.
East Grand Rapids' win over Holland was the Pioneers' 28th straight in postseason play. That's a story unto itself, of course. But another big one for West Michigan high school sports fans was the return of the Press' Jane Bos, who is back in the press box after nearly a year working through medical issues. This is her return column, and I'm sure a loyal reader base is thankful to have her back.
This is a little old, but came back into the light this week with the start of college basketball season. It's a college story, but also a high school story, of a star hoops player who won $40,000 in scholarship money in a free-throw shooting contest -- and then gave it to the seven runners-up. You'll probably hear about Cal State-Northridge's Allan Guei at some point over the next few years. Here's why.
1. HOCKEY Goalie Ryan Nickerson was among standouts as Division 1 No. 2 Brighton defeated No. 3 Clarkston 3-1 – Livingston Daily Press & Argus
2. GIRLS BASKETBALL Braylin Johnson’s basket with 5.2 seconds to play was the difference in Mason County Eastern’s 36-34 win over Bear Lake – Ludington Daily News
3. BOYS BASKETBALL Saginaw followed TJ Stevenson Jr. to a 78-70 win over Davison – Mid-Michigan Now
4. BOYS BASKETBALL Center Line earned another close win, 60-57 over Eastpointe – Detroit News
5. GIRLS BASKETBALL Kalamazoo Central earned its first victory, downing rival Battle Creek Central 62-42 – WWMT
6. BOYS BASKETBALL Evart came back from a six-point deficit entering the fourth quarter to defeat Lake City 47-37 – Cadillac News
7. GIRLS BASKETBALL Ishpeming went on the road and defeated Gladstone 41-26 – Escanaba Daily Press
8. BOYS BASKETBALL Macomb Dakota also earned its first victory, 61-44 over Romeo – Macomb Daily
9. GIRLS BASKETBALL Riverview earned a notable nonleague victory 61-46 over Trenton – Southgate News-Herald
10. BOYS SWIMMING & DIVING Midland Dow – No. 10 in Lower Peninsula Division 2 – earned nine first places in defeating Lapeer 142-43 – Midland Daily News