Vicksburg Basketball Full of Young Players

vix bb boys
Caleb Conklin pushes past a defender to score against Allegan. Photo by Travis Smola.

By Travis Smola

Vicksburg’s varsity basketball team is looking solid with a 2-3 record going into the New Year.

Against Allegan on Dec. 15, the Bulldogs were down early in the game before they turned things around in the second half for a 59-47 victory. The boys went 11 for 18 on free throws and had 21 rebounds.

New head coach Jeff Lovell said this year’s team has a lot of youth with a lot to learn. But one thing that hasn’t changed from the last few years is the Bulldogs’ scrappy and exciting style of play.

The real area where that style showed was on defense against a much-improved Tigers team. After period one, the score was 6-10 in favor of Allegan. “We didn’t respect them enough to start,” Lovell said.

But after Vicksburg re-took the lead, they never relinquished it. “The press and steals really turned it around,” Lovell said.

Prior to that game, turnovers had been something of a nemesis for the Bulldogs. Vicksburg did an excellent job spreading the ball around. It was senior Garrett Ketelaar who led the Bulldogs in scoring with 23 points. Fellow senior Caleb Conklin and junior James Kienbaum each were the next highest with eight apiece.

Two of Kienbaum’s points came on a key dunk in the third period that got both the team and crowd fired up. After that, the team pulled away and put the game out of reach. “Our big guys are young,” Lovell said. “But there’s a lot of potential there.”

Vicksburg won its first game of the season 66-59 against Comstock before dropping the next game to Paw Paw 79-61. The Bulldogs also lost to tough Otsego and Portage Northern teams. Its last game before the winter break was a 48-42 loss to Sturgis.

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