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Coloma beats Watervliet in OT

WATERVLIET — Coloma’s girls basketball team needed an extra four minutes of basketball to get by a tough Watervliet squad on Monday night.

The Comets edged the Panthers 50-43 in overtime in a Southwestern Athletic Conference Lakeshore Division matchup at Watervliet.

Coloma’s boys team continued its undefeated season in game two of the doubleheader, winning 66-48 behind 32 points from junior standout Zach Goodline.

On the girls side, the game was back-and-forth, with seven ties and 12 lead changes throughout regulation before the Comets took control in the overtime period. 

Coloma (8-2 SAC Lakeshore, 10-6) led by as many as seven in the first half, but Watervliet (8-2, 10-5) closed out the second quarter on an 11-4 run to tie the score at 20-20 at the half.

From there, Coloma’s Kayla Yore, who didn’t score in the first half, took over for the Comets.

She scored all nine of Coloma’s third quarter points and added another 12 in the fourth and overtime, bringing her game total to 21, to help Coloma put the game out of reach.

“I’m going to let Kayla shoot when she’s open,” said Coloma girls coach Fred Paulsen. “She hit that (shot) from the corner that put us ahead in overtime and we never lost the lead. 

“Defensively, at the end of the game, we went man. We never play man. At the start of the overtime we went back to matchup, got some tips, broke the press and made enough free throws.”

Morgan Wagner scored 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds, and Hannah Mathis added nine, including three key points in the overtime period.

Zoe Smith led the way for Watervliet with 17 points on five 3-pointers.

The Panthers stayed competitive throughout, getting six fourth-quarter points from Ariana Rowe to put extend the game. 

But Coloma scored the first seven points of the extra frame and the deficit was too much for the Panthers to overcome. 

“We had two teams that just fought hard, and that’s what they always do when they play each other,” said Watervliet coach Jason Forrester. “We caught up and we took the lead in regulation. At that point, anything can happen. We just didn’t make the plays to finish it.

“It’s a tough loss. It’s our rival, but we play tomorrow so that’s good. We need to have a short memory. We still have a chance (to win the division) if we win out. The girls want it and they want to do it. I don’t have any doubts that they’ll keep working hard.”

Coloma and Watervliet each have two division losses after Monday’s matchup, with each team still having a game against division-leading Gobles (8-1, 13-2) in the final two weeks of regular season play.

“They still play Gobles and so do we,” Paulsen said. “We can’t lose again. It’s just that simple. We have to come back and play Dowagiac again tomorrow, but so what? We’ll come out and play, and then Friday Saugatuck comes to town.

“Our girls are gritty and gutsy. You can see it in their face. That’s how teams win. (It was) a team effort.”

In the boys game, Coloma (11-0 SAC Lakeshore, 15-0) got out to a quick start behind Goodline’s 15-point first quarter.

The junior guard drilled 4-of-4 3-pointers in the period to help the Comets get out to a 20-5 lead after the first.

From there, Goodline would net five more 3s, finishing the night with 32 points on 9 of 12 shooting from 3-point range.

He also added five rebounds and five assists.

On a night where the Comets owned the scoreboard, Coloma coach Paul Marfia saw some room for improvement as far as x’s and o’s go.

“I saw a team that at moments was going through the motions. I was a little disappointed in that,” he said. “There was some stuff that we put out there new, and it was a little funky. I was happy with the resolve after the game with the focus that we have to come ready to work tomorrow.

“There were some good plays, and I thought we did a decent job of boxing out at times. A couple rotations were a little off. We gave up a couple layups to the basket, but that’s what we’re trying to do, is win and get better. We had a chance to win and get everybody in the game, which is nice to do in a rivalry game.”

After falling behind early, Watervliet (6-4, 8-7) was able to keep pace a bit with the Comets, but traded too many baskets to cut into the deficit significantly.

The Panthers were led by Sheldon Tobar, who scored 13 points for the Panthers.

Center Daniel Cluster also had some good production, scoring six points while grabbing eight rebounds, blocking five shots and dishing out three assists.

For Coloma, the team now eyes a big matchup against Benton Harbor (15-1) on Wednesday night at Benton Harbor.

The two teams are perhaps the best in the area, and Marfia said he’s looking forward to an exciting game Wednesday.

“You’re going to see a great game,” he said. “(They’re) a very athletic team, probably one of the top three or four teams in Class B, if not all classes. They are very athletic. They get after it, they play above the rim. They’ve got multiple kids that can shoot from the outside and multiple kids that can drive.

“They’re going to really get after it, so I think it’s going to be a great challenge. I think we have a lot of work to do, but I think it’s going to be a great test.”