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Two-timing their way to triumph

2013-14 MCCAA Champions

Brendan Buffa
Sports Editor

Andranay Beverly, guard, awaits her chance for a free throw, as well as the chance to be a national champion in Kansas on March 18 – 22. Photo credit: Brendan Buffa
Andranay Beverly, guard, awaits her chance for a free throw, as well as the chance to be a national champion in Kansas on March 18 – 22. Photo credit: Brendan Buffa

Under the helm of Michael Groulx and Lucretia Bowerman, the Lady Skippers resemble a righteous and relentless wall, rolling away from the MCCAA as born again champions.
Bringing home the title for the second year in a row, the Lady Skippers have surely set a statement in the league, as they are now an established superpower not to be taken lightly by competitors.
Only losing two games in their five month stint, the Lady Skippers have mopped up their competition in every game since Nov. 23, 2013.
The Skips took on Lake Michigan in the MCCAA Championship, and rattled off the win, 84-73.
Whitley Currie, freshman forward, put up 27 points against Lake Michigan.
Newcomer, Haley Rutledge, a transfer from Jackson College, saw the promise that the team possessed before game one.
“After all the success last year, I was hoping to see another title,” said Rutledge, “and once I saw the team, I knew it was going to happen.”
Rachel Kehoe, a returning center, also saw a hopeful future for the team.
“I mean, nothing is written in stone,” said Kehoe, “but the way we were able to come together really showed success.”
After winning the MCCAA title, Kehoe and the rest of the team kept their head on straight and looked down the road to the desirable District tournament.
“I thought of how amazing it was to take the title in the MCCAA,” said Kehoe, “but I was looking forward to the tournaments at District and National.”

Forward, Whitley Currie, raises above the Henry Ford Hawks defense while sporting her pink breast cancer awareness jersey. Photo credit: Kaylee Bert
Forward, Whitley Currie, raises above the Henry Ford Hawks defense while sporting her pink breast cancer awareness jersey. Photo credit: Kaylee Bert

The Lady Skippers embarrassed Delta College on their own court, winning 84-67, taking the District title and deservingly winning a spot in the 2013-14 National tournament.
The Skippers played against Delta twice in their season, with a whopping blowout on Jan. 18, 110-69, and then nail biter on Feb. 15, 71-69.
With both results in favor of the Skippers, Delta was seeking revenge, yet had an unfortunate stumble as they took the court.
“It was nice to have a win at Delta,” said Rutledge, “especially beating them pretty bad, I’m glad we did it.”
Ta’kira Height, freshman guard/forward, racked up 25 points in the win against Delta, which Groulx called, “the best game of her life”, and Kehoe had an outstanding defensive run, fighting for her 15 rebounds.
Coach Groulx, with two MCCAA Championship titles under his belt in his two years of coaching, is looking for his first National title, as the Skippers were knocked out last year in the semi-finals.
“We have set the standard in this program,” said Groulx, “these ladies are very disciplined, and have sacrificed the ‘me’ for the ‘we’ of the team.”
The Skippers currently hold the highest win streak in the nation at 24.
The Lady Skippers are taking the show on the road, traveling to Kansas on March 18 through 22. The tournament will hold the top 16 teams in the country, and the Skippers are currently predicted to get the third or fourth seed.

Dale Vos profile

Athletic director talks about himself and basketball

Nick “Chico” Hernandez
Staff Writer

The bouncing of basketballs can be heard throughout SC4’s gymnasium many times during the week. While noise to others, to Dale Vos it is the fine tuning of human instruments in preparation for a symphonic concert of athletics.
Vos, 48, originally came from Zeeland, Michigan and has now lived in Port Huron for 22 years. All 22 years have been spent working for SC4.
In his time away from work, Vos spends time with his wife Beth and their three children. Two of which are twin siblings of 13 years old, a boy and a girl (Dane and Erin). The youngest being a girl of 10 years, Zoey. Vos also owns a cat, Stormy, and has admitted to being a cat person since his college days.
Before working as athletic director for SC4, Vos put in five years at Alma College; the 5th year as an assistant basketball coach. While there, he recruited students to play basketball. On his way up to an end-of-the-season tournament for community college, Vos stopped to use a pay phone at a rest area in Toledo.
He dialed the coach of Schoolcraft College to inquire about a possible recruit, and was informed of the open spot for a basketball coach at SC4.
“I came here just as the men’s basketball coach, taught a few classes to help me survive. It was only a few years in that I got a chance to be the athletic director” Vos said of his career at SC4.
What may have helped Vos rise to the rank of athletic director was the game of Nov. 13, 1991. Up to that game, SC4 had held a terrible losing streak. 68 consecutive games had been lost, the worst losing streak in the country on a college level.
Like the plot to a ‘90s high school drama, SC4 won over Jordon College with 100-97, breaking the curse and lifting the spirits of everyone involved; especially Vos, since this was his first game as coach.
While he admits they didn’t rank 1st in Conference (SC4 is ranked 4th), Vos said “This season was the most enjoyable.” The whole team was fairly new%

Delta dashes Skippers playoff dreams

SC4 men’s basketball team finishes season early

Donald Lierman
Staff Writer

The third time was not to be the charm as the Skippers men’s basketball tournament hopes were scuttled by visiting Delta, 89-83, despite a late SC4 run.
This year’s rivalry has been the basketball equivalent of a dogfight. In the regular season the Skippers dropped both their games to the Pioneers by a total of five points.
“I am struggling to come up with an answer to the Delta question,” said SC4 Coach Dale Vos. “We finished two full games ahead of them in the league standings and yet lost to them 3 times which is very strange to me.”
“They played more physical and that did slow down our running game. They also played off our ball handlers which made it more difficult to get drives, which is a real key for us” Vos said.
After an initial SC4 surge, Delta carried play for the remainder of the first half. The pioneers took a 40-33 half time lead to the locker room.
SC4 opened the second half with a run and press game that swung the momentum. The Skippers made a 15-7 run that cut the lead to 48-47. The teams battled back and forth to a 63-63 tie. Delta took control and a ten point lead with four minutes left. The Skippers were not down and out but battled back to cut the lead to two with 42 seconds left only to fall short.
Marques Pool led the Skippers with 20 points and twelve rebounds. Joemar Black netted 15 points. Antwan Willis added twelve points and six rebounds, Terrell Wright ten points and seven rebounds, and Deandre Vail nine points in a balanced attack.
“I am incredibly disappointed that our season has ended,” Vos said. “This was a great group of young men and I loved coaching them, watching them mature, help each other, have each other’s back, and just generally watching them grow as a team and as people.
Coach Vos went on to say that this was one of the most enjoyable seasons he’s had in 22 years.
Delta coach Lonnie Griffin acknowledged the hard fought victory.
“We knew SC4 was going to keep battling back,” Griffin said. “It’s been nip and tuck all year between our schools.
“We told our guys if we could withstand their run in the first four or five minutes of the game we had a chance. We played through some mistakes to get this win. SC4 was right there to the end.”

SC4 basketball teams roll

Skippers approach playoffs

Donald Lierman
Staff Writer

Both Macomb Community College Monarch basketball teams were singed by their SC4 counterparts Tuesday as the Skipper squads continue their march to the playoffs.
The Lady Skippers notched their 20th victory in a row in front of a home crowd with a score of 80 to 58, a drubbing of the third place Macomb team.
Sheyna Deans led SC4 with 23 points. Rachel Kehoe notched 18 points and six rebounds. And Ta’kira Height added 13 points.
“I thought we played well,” said women’s basketball coach Michael Groulx. “We executed our game plan effectively. Our half-court defense was excellent.”
The win gives SC4 a 17-0 league record, one game from an undefeated season. Their overall record is 24-2.
“Overall, we were able to use our athleticism to make plays on both offense and defense” Groulx said.
The Lady Skippers play for the state championship on Saturday; then move on to the regional tournament on March 7.
SC4 men’s squad upped their league record to 10-7 and 17-11 overall.
“I was proud of the way our guys found a way to win,” said men’s basketball coach Dale Vos. “Although we shot poorly from the three point range and the free throw line, we only trailed once. Otherwise, we led the whole way.”
Marquis Pool and Antwan Willis led the Skippers with 12 points. Matthew Van Dyk added 11 points and 12 rebounds.
“This was an important win as it clinched a home playoff berth” Vos said.
SC4 will host an opening round regional playoff game Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Skippers hold Hawks on ground level

SC4 women’s basketball team head towards championship

Brendan Buffa
Sports Editor

The Skippers clipped the wings of the Hawks and came ready to play, scoring more than double their opponent.
Attempting to orchestrate a triumphant takeoff, the Henry Ford Hawks were held down by the Lady Skippers in a 102-48 point loss.
Currently leading the Western and Eastern conference, the Lady Skippers are sitting on top with a 24-2 overall record, and are currently undefeated in the MCCAA Eastern conference.
Not only did the Skippers succeed with a win, they supported breast cancer awareness by sporting their pink jerseys.
The Lady Skippers play in the Western conference championship on March 1, and then to the NJCAA District H Tournament at Delta College.
Head Coach Mike Groulx is looking for his second consecutive MCCAA Women’s championship, which hasn’t been done by St. Clair County Community College since ’97 and ’98.

Skippers coach leads team’s quest for crown

SC4’s basketball coach makes positive impact on team

Donald Lierman
Staff Writer

Years ago, the Lady Skippers basketball team was hovering around .500. A midseason change brought Michael Groulx to take the reigns of an ineffectual squad.
Today, SC4 is poised to make a run at a national title and is ranked in the top ten.
Groulx is no stranger to SC4. He attended the school in 2002-2004 at which time he played basketball for current athletic director and men’s basketball coach Dale Vos. He returned to become assistant basketball coach from 2006-2007 until 2011-2012.
“Mike studied and worked at learning more than any assistant I ever had,” said Vos. “I may have helped him a little with his coaching, but in the recruitment end he taught me a bunch.”
Groulx became interim women’s basketball head coach in January 2012 and took over the position in March 2012.
“By the time he went to the women’s program he was my go to guy. He set many of our defenses, did much of our scouting, and almost all of our recruiting” said Vos.
“He is a great teacher of skills and probably the best recruiter in the state. He reads game situations extremely well.”
Last year’s Lady Skippers team captured fourth place in the national tournament. Coach Groulx remembers their performance proudly.
“Last year’s team was a group that became a family very quickly,” said Groulx. “They were very unselfish and had great player leadership. They competed every day in practice and brought a very high energy, passion, and excitement to every game.”
The sophomores on last year’s squad played in back to back national tournaments. That squad finished their sophomore season undefeated at home. They set school records of 32 wins in a season, and 17 most consecutive wins in a season, becoming the first women’s team in the history of SC4 to capture the league championship.
This year’s model has even higher expectations.
“The returning sophomores were part of a highly successful group. However, they do not want to live in the past and plan to blaze their own trail” Groulx said.
“It has taken a little longer for the freshmen on this team to buy into what we were teaching. Slowly but surely, the freshmen have grown up and the sophomores have taken on more leadership.”
Freshman Ta’kira Height is impressed with the coaching.
“Coach Groulx has impacted us tremendously, he has given us the confidence we need as a team” said Height.
“He helps us reach higher levels of potential. It is not only with basketball but with school, too. I’m honored to be here. I know he will help us become great.”
Groulx works as an admission’s representative at SC4. He and his wife, Ashley, have two daughters, Adrien, 8, and Addison, 3.
On June 18, 2013, Addison was diagnosed with Leukemia. “She is receiving chemotherapy treatment. With that comes a lot of time spent in the hospital” said Groulx.
“She is doing well and responding well, but the worries are always there and I have had to learn to balance my time between my family and our basketball family. My wife is such a strong woman and without her, the success of this season would not be possible.”
Despite these adversities, Groulx’s passion for teaching and developing youth remains.
“I don’t want to be remembered for the championships that we won. I want to be remembered for the lives I was able to change by helping kids move on to university where they can complete their education.”

Lady Skippers filet Firebirds

SC4 Women’s Basketball team takes first place in the Eastern Conference

Donald Lierman
Staff Writer

To construe the Lady Skippers’ home victory as shooting Firebirds in a barrel would be unfair, as Kirtland did not have enough players to fill a barrel.
With only six players, the Kirtland squad was no match for the twelfth ranked SC4.
The Skippers overpowered the Firebirds by a score of 99-47on Jan. 29. With the game out of hand early, SC4 used the opportunity to hone their skills.
“No matter who we go up against we must keep up the same intensity,” said freshman Ta’kira Height. “We use a game like this to continue to improve our skill set. That allows us to be better prepared for more talented teams. We kept up the pressure and kept running the floor. We focused on playing team basketball.”
After scoring the first six points in the game, SC4 dominated the Kirtland squad, ending the first half with a 52-26 lead. SC4 opened the second half with a 14 point run. The Firebirds’ hopes for rebirth were doused. After the Lady Skippers’ smoke settled, the outcome was a decisive 52 point victory.
“Tonight, we knew that with six players Kirtland would not be much competition,” said sophomore Rachel Kehoe. “We used the opportunity as a stepping stone to improve our game. Our team has the talent to make a run. We just need to reach last year’s competitive spirit. We have to quit repeating mistakes and develop the fight that took us so far last season.”
Last year the Lady Skippers reached the national final four. Second year head coach Michael Groulx hopes this year’s squad will reach that same lofty realm.
“We need to continue to get better,” said Groulx. “Our execution must be more efficient. We have one of the best transition teams in the nation. However, we need to continue to improve on the little things.”
Height and Sheyna Deans led SC4 with 17 points for the Lady Skippers. Whitley Currie added 13. The win gives SC4 control of first place in the Eastern Conference of the Michigan Community College Athletic Association with a record of 9-0 (16-2 overall). Their win streak stands at twelve. Kirtland falls to 2-6 in the MCCAA (4-8 overall).
The Lady Skippers next host Delta College at 1 p.m. on Feb. 15.

SlamJam 2014 hits Richmond

Pro wrestling returns to St. Clair County

Sean Lathrop
Guest Writer

After a 6 year hiatus, Blue Water Championship Wrestling is back to deliver elbow drops to their opponents and smiles to fans.
The audience at Richmond High School got to see some up and coming local talents and stars battle for their enjoyment. Featuring steel cage matches like Shane Douglas facing Xavier Justice for the BWCW Championship and Leah Von Dutch defending her Xtreme Bombshells of Wrestling Championship against Courtney Rush.
Plus, with stars like Buff Bagwell, Petey Williams, Josh Raymond, & N8 Mattson coming out, how could a wrestling fan not be excited?
Owner Andrew D’Arcy wasn’t planning on even having BWCW return and wanted to focus on his DJ company and his all women wrestling organization. When he posted an idea of doing his new XBW show with his old company, he was in shock at how many people wanted to get involved.
“I can’t tell you how many guys contacted me that I had worked with from 2001 through 2008 saying they wanted to be a part of it,” said D’Arcy.
After the 13 matches, the crowd was still chanting for the two men that ended the show; Shane Douglas and Buff Bagwell. Bagwell, who has worked shows for D’Arcy in the past, said that he has always enjoyed coming to St. Clair County, while Douglas made comments on Richmond High School’s strong wrestling history of winning 6 state championships in 12 years. “This is a strong wrestling town and it is obvious fans like you wanted to see some action,” Douglas said to the audience.
At this time, there is no word yet when the next event will be but it is likely this isn’t going to be the last of BWCW.

Staying hungry

The path to the postseason

Brendan Buffa
Sports Editor

The final month is approaching, and the final buzzer is close to sounding, signaling an end to the men’s Skippers 2013-14 basketball season.
The top three seeds in the eastern conference (Oakland, Wayne County, and Mott) have qualified for the NJCAA District 10 tournament as of Feb. 8, leaving the Skippers trailing in fourth place.
Although slipping as a qualifier, the Skippers are in pursuit of the playoffs and intend to strive for the postseason.
Wayne County and Mott are up against the Skippers the week of Feb. 9, and with a win against both teams they can hold their heads above water for one last shot.
“I have a strong belief in my brothers and our coaching staff,” said Terrell Wright, guard for the Skippers, “our practices have been full of enthusiasm and readiness for the next opponent.”
Wright, a returning player and sophomore for the Skippers, leads the team on and off the court.
“I’m doing my best to be a leader in any way, and playing my role as a player as well,” said Wright, “the chemistry we have as a team is great, and if we keep working hard and playing together, our success will have no limit.”
Freddy Cook, guard, also hones his positive attitude onto the court to bring the greatest amount of achievement to the table.
“I think the most interesting thing about our team is our depth,” said Cook, “I believe on any given night, anyone is capable of giving our team a new way to win.”
With a team of 15 active players, depth is not a problem – and neither is height.
The Skippers have 11 of their 15 players reaching at or above 6-feet tall, along with the towering Justin Weaver at 6’10”, freshman from Richmond, MI.
“I think we are beginning to learn that defense is our strongest attribute,” said Cook, “We need to take every possession of the game seriously, and more importantly play as one unit.”
The Skippers don’t plan on letting the opportunity for a successful post season slip through their fingers, especially when a busy week approaches them.
Simply stated by Cook, “we need to stay hungry.”
The Skippers return home on Feb. 12 against Mott at 7:30 p.m., which if won could mean a postseason run by team.

Denver and Seattle light it up

Super Bowl XLVIII hosts the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks in New Jersey on Feb. 2, 2014.
Super Bowl XLVIII hosts the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks in New Jersey on Feb. 2, 2014.
Super Bowl XLVIII Preview
Brendan Buffa

Sports Editor

The polar vortex that has consumed the Midwest encapsulates the outdoor MetLife Stadium as Super Bowl XLVIII prepares to host the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks.
The last time both top seeded teams in the NFL made it to the Super Bowl was in 2009, with the Indianapolis Colts achieving victory over the Chicago Bears with the now Broncos star quarterback, Peyton Manning.
Manning was predicted to never play another game of football after his spinal fusion surgery in 2011.
After losing out on a franchise tag from the Colts, Manning was released and was later signed to the Denver Broncos in 2011 under a 5-year contract for 96 million dollars.
Manning has had a stand out 2013 season as he broke the all time season passing touchdown record (55 TD’s), and became one of six players to throw 7 touchdown passes in a game, breaking the league passing record of 5,477 yards.
The Denver Broncos, led by Manning, also known as “The Sheriff,” will have to bring out their big guns as they step up against Seattle’s historically strong defense and their famously coined secondary, the “Legion of Boom.”
Richard Sherman, a cornerback that dubbed himself “the best in the league” after the NFC championship post-game interview with Erin Andrews, serves as a threat to the elite passing offense on the Broncos.
After a game-winning tip of the ball in the end zone against the San Francisco 49ers that sealed the fate of the Seahawks, Sherman went on a fueled rampage after 49ers receiver, Michael Crabtree, clubbed Sherman in the face.
“When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that’s the results you’re going to get,” shouted Sherman, who visibly frightened Andrews.
With 8 interceptions on the season, Sherman and the Seahawks defense, aided by the 12th man (the Seattle crowd, which at full volume has registered a 2.0 on the Richter scale) will be a tough obstacle to overcome on February 2, 2014.
Gary Davenport of bleacherreport.com predicts a 31-27 victory for the Seahawks, yet the predictions are seemingly split 50/50 between both teams.
As Peyton Manning strives for enshrinement into the Hall of Fame, whether the Broncos will be able to overcome the dominant force of the Seahawks defense will remain a mystery until game day.
Prediction: Manning throws for 300+ yards, yet falls short of a victory to Seattle, 34-28. Marshawn Lynch takes MVP and leads the Seattle Seahawks to their first Vince Lombardi trophy in franchise history.