By Mark Blentlinger
The Eagles boys’ basketball team under the leadership of Randy Small worked its way through the early part of the 2019-20 campaign by beating Hopkins, Delton Kellogg, Saugatuck and Lawton. On the weekend following Christmas, the team made the trek to Battle Creek to play in the Chuck Turner Holiday Classic. On Dec. 27, they faced off against the Bearcats of Battle Creek Central. The Bearcats would remember when they lost to the Eagles in the same tournament a year earlier by the score of 41-38.
The score was even more lopsided this time: 65-43.
Schoolcraft was not intimidated by facing a much larger school’s team, jumping out ahead in the first few minutes. The Bearcats were able to erase the hole they were in to take the lead 22-21 midway into the second period. The Bearcats would see that lead disappear when the Eagles took a 30-25 lead at halftime. In period three, the Eagles began to open up the lead and play very strong defense. The Bearcats were only able to put four points on the board the entire period. It appeared the Eagles worked hard on free throws in the off season as they went 21 for 30 tries from the line.
Leading the Eagles in scoring were Kobe Clark, 16, Tyler DeGroote, 15, and Bryce Vanderwiere, with 12. The Eagles had eight three pointers. Leading scorer for the Bearcats was Tyree Young with 20. The Bearcats struggled from the line, making only 6 of 10 and 5 three pointers. While Schoolcraft will enter 2020 unbeaten, that record will be challenged early on when the team visits Kalamazoo Hackett on January 7, and three days later when Kalamazoo Christian plays the Eagles in Schoolcraft.