By Travis Smola
The Vicksburg varsity boys’ basketball team has struggled a bit this season and now holds a 3-5 record after a nail-bitingly close loss to Dowagiac 57-50 in January.
Right now, Head Coach Josh Noble says the team is focused primarily on finding its identity. “I thought tonight we got a little bit closer to that,” Noble said. “Tonight, we did a good job of managing what they do well, which is just convincing you to not turn the ball over. For the most part, we did okay. We still have to clean it up.”
The Bulldogs and Chieftains traded the lead back and forth several times. Both teams had 10 fouls in the first half alone. Kyle Rose led the scoring charge for Vicksburg. He’s averaged 13.7 points per game this year and put up 15 against Dowagiac. Dillion Shook was the next leading scorer with 14 points. He made the night a double-double with 12 rebounds, including several key ones that helped keep Vicksburg in the game late.
Jacob Conklin had 13 points. Tyler Kienbaum and Chase Myers each had two and Levi Root and Ethan Buscher each had a couple of free throws. Near the end of the game, the team battled back to within three in the last minute and a half of the game.
“We had three or four great looks at a three,” Noble said. He said he enjoyed drawing up some plays late in the game and the Chieftains did give them the looks they had hoped for on those plays. The Bulldogs just couldn’t get the shots to drain.
Since coming back from winter break, the team lost to Portage Northern 61-35 and Sturgis 68-46 before bouncing back against Plainwell with a 49-33 win. They lost to Edwardsburg 53-43 and Fennville 69-51. “Right now, our team, we’re playing for March. We want to get in the playoffs on a good note and the loss to Dowagiac was a step back, but it wasn’t a huge step back,” Noble said.