Cassopolis sweeps Coloma

Published 12:32 pm Sunday, February 27, 2011

Cassopolis’ Reese Ellison scores against Coloma Friday night in the Rangers’ 40-35 victory over the Comets. Ellison had 20 points. (Vigilant/Argus photo/RON HARNER)

The last home game of the year proved profitable for both the girls and boys basketball teams at Cassopolis Friday with a pair of Lakeland Conference victories over Coloma.

In the opener, junior Reese Ellison was instrumental in a 40-35 Rangers victory with 20 points and eight rebounds, while Cassopolis senior Nathan Hartline shot down the Comets 50-41 in the nightcap with a 21-point effort.

Cassopolis (9-9, 5-6) scored the first seven points to start off the action with lone senior Lela Broussard celebrating her birthday at the 2:20 mark for the final points of the first quarter. Julie Timm of Coloma (10-7, 6-6) scored the only points of the period for the visitors.

Midway through the second stanza, sophomore Jocelyn Transou and Ellison capitalized on rebounding their own shots with a made basket to give the Rangers a 15-8 advantage, before Timm narrowed the lead to 15-13 with just over a minute left before intermission.

Broussard made another basket and Cassopolis went to the locker room with a 17-13 lead.

“If we play good defense, we should win most games,” stated interim Cassopolis coach Janice Gatson, who is now even after four games. “Ellison was determined to hold Timm down and that was the game plan for everybody else to hold their own.”

Timm had six points for the Comets, with the trio of Transou, Ellison and Broussard scoring seven, six and four points respectively to be the only Rangers in the scoring column.

Broussard hit on a shot from behind the arc on the first possession of the second half for Cassopolis and Ellison opened the margin to double digits at 26-16 with consecutive baskets midway through the third quarter.

A basket by Coloma’s Amanda Swihart narrowed the deficit to 26-21 with two minutes to play and each team finished the third quarter with four additional points.

Comet point guard Olivia Zvonar scored her only three points on a trifecta with five minutes remaining for a 32-30 score and Gatson finished the contest in the four corner offense after a time out.

“The four corner was used to run some of the clock off,” explained Gatson. “We worked hard the whole game and never gave up when things didn’t go our way.”

Ellison scored eight of her points down the stretch and was successful on two free throws with 32 seconds to play after the Comets trimmed the score to 36-35 on a rebound basket by Kayti Veverka with one minute to remain.

“Cass wanted it more than we did and outworked us in every phase of the game,” noted Coloma coach Ken Schmaltz. “We gave up too many offensive rebounds. They got the loose balls and we didn’t finish shots like we do in practice.”


Julie Timm 4 3-6 11; Rachel Tallman 3 0-0 6; Chelsea Carotenuto 2 1-2 6; Kayti Veverka 1 2-2 4; Olivia Zvonar 1 0-0 3; Amanda Swihart 1 1-2 3; Andrea Singleton 0 2-3 2. TOTALS: 12 9-15 35


Reese Ellison 9 2-4 20; Jocelyn Transou 4 0-0 9; Lela Broussard 3 0-0 7; Breanna Coleman 1 0-0 2; Tammy Lee 1 0-4 2. TOTALS: 18 2-8 40

Coloma 2 13 25 35

Cassopolis 7 17 30 40

3-pt baskets: Coloma 2 (Zvonar, Carotenuto), Cassopolis 2 (Broussard, Transou). Total fouls: Coloma 8, Cassopolis 12. Fouled out: None. Varsity records: Coloma 10-7, 6-6 Lakeland; Cassopolis 9-9, 5-6 Lakeland



Coach James Moore started all seniors for Casopolis (8-10, 2-8) and Hartline scored all 10 points in the first three minutes to leave Coloma (6-11, 2-9) behind 10-1 before any replacements were whistled to come in.

Sophomore Monroe Gomez gave the hosts a 14-1 lead with two minutes remaining in the first quarter. Each team scored one more basket before the first quarter ended.

“We played good 2-3 defense and Hartline scored well early, so it was a good team effort to get us going,” Moore said. “Hartline had that look in his eye that we need to finish out the season.”

Gomez enjoyed the two minute barrier in each of the first two quarters, as once again he found the bottom of the net after a nice pass from Hartline to give the Rangers a 24-8 advantage. Each team scored one more basket before intermission.

Coloma was without 6-3 standout Cortez Childs for the rest of the year, who dislocated his right foot and tore all his tendons in a game the week before.

“Cortez (Childs) was averaging a double-double for us and the injury was not only a huge blow for him, but a very huge blow for what he means to the team,” commented Coloma coach Josh Beckmann. “Pretty much all these kids are first-year varsity players, so it takes time and each day they are improving.”

It was all Cassopolis for the first five minutes of the third quarter as the hosts led 34-10 and a pair of free throws by Hartline at the conclusion of the stanza gave the Rangers a 40-17 advantage with eight minutes to play.

Coloma scored more points (24) in the fourth quarter alone than the rest of the game as Deontae Haynes showed off his quickness and leaping ability, but it was Cassopolis senior Oliver Fiala that sparked the crowd with a Blake Griffin-like rebound dunk that put the score at 48-30 with 3:30 remaining.

“We want to be selfless instead of selfish, so waiting for good shots is key to our offense,” said Moore. “Fiala’s dunk was big for us to keep the momentum as Coloma will never quit.”

The Comets scored 11 of the last 13 points for a respectable score as Haynes finished with 15 points altogether, followed by 10 points by classmate Cameron Natee.

“The first three quarters we took shots they wanted us to take, but our run in the last quarter ran out of time as it was a great effort,” Beckmann said. “Cass is a solid team and could do something in the district.”

Cassopolis has two games remaining before the Marcellus district in March, where they have a bye to begin the tournament.

“The conference is preparing us for the district, because the kids know non-conference games have gone well for us,” concluded Moore. “This was a total team effort and Delshawn Wicker came off the bench to play great defense.”


D.J. Thomas 2 2-4 6, Deontae Haynes 4 7-11 15, Cameron Nattee 4 1-3 10, Joel Griffin 0 1-2 1, Saxton Gagliardo 0 0-0 0, Gregor Gombert 0 3-6 3, Stephen Hampton 0 0-0 0, Devin Williams 2 1-2 6. TOTALS: 12 15-28 41


Nate Hartline 4 11-16 21, Austin Los 2 2-2 6, Mike Kadlec 0 0-0 0, Oliver Fiala 3 1-2 7, Tyler Gilliam 2 0-0 4, Quinten O’Brie 2 1-5 5, Delshaun Wicker 0 1-2 1, Mayquon Morrison 0 0-0 0, Monroe Gomez 3 0-0 6, Braden Davis 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 16 16-29 50

Coloma 3 10 17 41

Cassopolis 16 26 40 50

3-point baskets: Coloma 2 (Williams, Natee), Cassopolis 2 (Hartline 2). Total fouls: Coloma 16, Cassopolis 18. Fouled out: None. Varsity records: Cassopolis 8-10, 2-8 Lakeland; Coloma 6-11, 2-9 Lakeland