By Ben Murphy
Harrison opens up its second season against Big Rapids on Monday, playing in the Reed City Class ‘B’ district.
“Big Rapids is a tough, tough team,” Harrison head coach Jim Hoshield said. “They were regional champs last year so they do have a lot of experience back.”
The Cardinals (12-4) fell in last year’s quarterfinals, to Sparta but Hoshield isn’t counting his Hornets (4-13) out of the game just yet.
“They’re big and fast but we are big and fast also,” he said. “It will take playing 32 minutes of hard nose Harrison basketball, something we’ve only done a few times this year (to win). We are capable of doing it, we have the outside shooting of Bret Coughlin and Matt Haskell and our bigs have to show up and crash the boards and limit the second chance points. If we turn the ball over and don’t rebound it could be a long night.”
The Hornets last won a district title in 2001. Standing in the way of ending that drought in the rest of the district are Clare (13-5), Reed City (15-2) and Chippewa Hills (6-13). The coach is hoping for a string of upsets come post-season play.
“We just have to hit the floor running and see what happens,” Hoshield said of district play “You never know what can happen in high school sports.”
Clare (14-4) gets a bye in the first round and plays Chippewa Hills on Wednesday, in the second game of the night. The Pioneers topped the Warriors in the first round of last year’s tournament, 62-61.
“They’re a solid team, but young,” Clare head coach Rob Wise said. “They have been getting better all season. It will be a difficult game because they are long and athletic.”
As for the other teams Wise sees Big Rapids and Reed City, the team that ended Clare’s season last year as the teams to beat if the Pioneers are to win their first district crown since 2012.
“Reed City and Big Rapids are very good teams,” Wise said. “They are very physical… Our big guys will have to play well defensively in order to win the district. We will have to play well to make a run but I think we have good chemistry and we play well together. I feel like this team believes they can beat anyone and having the attitude is half the battle.”
Friday’s district final is set for 7 p.m.
Farwell plays in Beaverton class ‘C’ district
Farwell begins its quest for its first district title since 1991 when they play at Evart (8-10) on Monday. In fact the Eagles haven’t won a post-season game at all since 1999.
To snap the post-season losing streak Farwell will have to top the Wildcats, a team that beat them 48-39 in the first game of the season.
“Districts are a fun time of year,” Farwell head coach Erik Schunk said. “Hot teams win the tournaments.”
A win Monday would put the Eagles (9-9) against Pine River (17-2), champions of the Highland Conference.
On the other side of the bracket are Coleman (8-10), Meridian (17-1), Beaverton (16-2) and Beal City (13-6).
Farwell split with Coleman on the year but lost both to Jack Pine Conference champion Meridian and JPC runner-up Beaverton and did not play Beal City.
The semi-final and finals will be played at Beaverton, with Friday’s final scheduled for 7 p.m.