Bulldog Basketball Team Plows Through Adversity

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Ben Johnson tries a layup in a hotly contested game against Dowagiac that the Bulldogs won.

By Travis Smola

Things have been a bit rough for the Vicksburg varsity boys’ basketball team this season after the resignation of Coach Jeff Lovell. The team finished the season with an 8-13 record.

Athletic Director Mike Roy stepped in to take over head coaching duties in January. The team picked up a big 55-34 win at home over 8-9 Comstock in one of the latest games.

“Tonight was a really good team win for us,” Roy said after that game. “We played good defense and made a lot of positive things happen. Got a lot of guys into the game and we had good flow.”

Senior Kyle Rose led the way in scoring, putting up 16 points against the Colts. Junior Chase Myers and sophomore Jacob Conklin each added 8 points. Junior Tyler Kienbaum had seven points while junior Ethan Buscher had six. Senior Tommy Loriso added four late points to help cement the lead and juniors Dillon Shook, Jared Gorsline and Lucas Hatridge rounded out the scoring with two points each.

The game was indicative of how well the team has handled a coach change and two games rescheduled due to weather. The Comstock game was a good bit of redemption since the Bulldogs lost to the same team in the first game of the year.

“It gave us a good measuring stick to see where we were at the beginning of the season and the end of the season,” Roy said. “The guys have handled the adversity really well.”

Since the coaching change, they had been feeling more on the winning side of things. In early February the team picked up a dramatic and emotional 60-54 win over Dowagiac that saw a big celebration by the team and fans alike on the court afterwards. The team got another win over Paw Paw, 65-62, a few weeks later.

It wasn’t just the team that had to learn on the fly. Roy said he faced some challenges too. “I had a lot of growing to do also as a coach to try and figure out rotations, who played well with who, and that’s always complex for a coach to do.”

The season ended with a 46-44 loss against Edwardsburg in the district tournament. Rose had a team-high 15 points. Conklin had 13, Kienbaum 10. Senior Shane Earl had four points and Myers added a couple of his own. The team had a lead through the first two quarters before the Eddies came charging back. The Bulldogs made a late charge, but ran out of possessions and time.

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