Vicksburg Basketball Has Nail-Biters Early in Season

Blake Rankin goes after an errant basketball in a game against Paw Paw.

By Travis Smola

The Vicksburg varsity boys’ basketball team has compiled a 2-3 record. But the games have been coming down to the wire. Three, in fact, ended right at the buzzer. “We’ve had amazingly close games,” Head Coach Rob Johnson said.

In the last game before winter break, it was another buzzer-beater scenario with the boys down 57-56 to Sturgis. While an apparent winning shot was sunk, it was ruled to be just after time had expired, so it didn’t count. “If we just shoot a little bit better we win those games,” Johnson said.

This year’s team is practically identical to last year and is senior-heavy. Johnson noted they still have a bit of a size disadvantage compared to other teams, but they’re still extremely competitive.

The team’s two wins came against Otsego in a tight, 62-60 contest and Allegan in an 84-44 blowout. While the team’s defense has been solid, Johnson is hoping they can clean up their shooting and be more efficient on offense. “We don’t get a lot of points under the basket,” he said.

But there are offense highlights. Senior Deondre Lovell, in particular, remains the guy to watch when he gets free with the ball. He’s knocked down several spectacular dunks already again this season.

Johnson is looking forward to the team getting more home matchups down the stretch, especially since the Wolverine Conference is looking to be a tight race again this year. He said he doesn’t expect any team to walk through the season easily.

“I don’t know how it’s going to turn out,” Johnson said. “You’ve got to have a hot team at the right time.” The team will face its first challenge of 2017 against Plainwell on the road on January 10.

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