By Travis Smola
The end of January brought about a new challenge for the Vicksburg’s basketball team when it was announced that Head Coach Jeff Lovell had resigned for unspecified personal reasons. In a press release, Athletic Director Mike Roy thanked Lovell for his service to the team and announced he would take over as interim head coach for the season’s remaining games. The Bulldogs lost 56-48 against Allegan in their first game with Roy as interim head coach.
Roy said in a phone interview that the team is handling the transition well despite the difficulty of the situation. The press release also states the District briefly considered forfeiting the rest of the season, but decided against that option.
“With eight games remaining in the regular season, we did not believe forfeiting the remainder of the season would be in the best interest of Vicksburg Community Schools, the athletic department and most importantly the young men on the basketball team,” Roy said in the press release.
The Vicksburg varsity basketball team has been scrappy, but the team’s youth has definitely shown this season in its earlier game against Schoolcraft.
“I thought we battled, the effort was there,” assistant coach Josh Summerfield said after a 50-38 loss to neighboring Schoolcraft. “We didn’t shoot the ball real well. We kind of started settling a bit for shots from the outside instead of trying to get to the hoop.”
The Bulldogs did a good job shutting down the Eagles from the outside defensively, but struggled in getting offensive rebounds. It ultimately made a huge difference. While the team has had some struggles, it has also had some more of the signature nail-biter games they’ve become known for in recent years.
One such contest took place against Plainwell in the first game back from winter break. The Bulldogs ultimately won that game in overtime 55-48. The Bulldogs spread the ball around with Jacob Conklin putting up a team high 15 points. He went 4 for 5 on free throws and sunk three 3-pointers. Shane Earl and Tyler Kienbaum both added 10 points. Dillon Shook scored nine. Kyle Rose scored eight points and Lucas Hatridge sunk a single 3-pointer to round out the scoring against the Trojans.
“We’ve definitely had our ups and downs,” Summerfield said. “We’re still a pretty young team that’s learning a lot. There are only a couple guys on this team who have played more than a couple minutes a game last year at the varsity level.”