Western Michigan Christian boys in driver’s seat in River Valley basketball race

Local Sports Journal

The Western Michigan Christian Warriors own a two-game lead in the boys River Valley Conference basketball race after an impressive 67-52 victory over the host Covenant Christian Chargers on Friday night.

The Warriors (8-4, 5-0) swept the two-game season series against the second-place Chargers.

Senior Bernard Smith poured in 23 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, but he had plenty of help. Jacob Ray and James Godwin also hit double figures with 10 points and Jared Varnado had seven points. Guard Derrick Holt chipped in six points and seven rebounds.

The second quarter was the key for the Warriors, who scored 24 points in that pivotal eight minutes. Godwin hit a pair of 3-pointers while Nate Dugener and Varnado hit one each. WMC had a 24-13 scoring advantage in that quarter to take a 38-21 lead into halftime.

“This was our best game,” WMC coach Kyle Mastenbrook said. “I told the guys they are in trouble now that I know how well they can play and how hard they can play. I knew that Covenant would want it tonight so I challenged the guys and they did everything and more.”

Covenant made several runs at the Warriors in the second half, but could not cut the deficit below 10 points. Each time a run was made, WMC had an answer. Smith scored nine points in the third quarter to lead the way. The Warriors led 53-35 after three quarters.

“Tonight, I was really, really happy with the effort we gave,” Mastenbrook said. “It was from everybody.”

That two-game lead comes with three games to play in the River Valley race. WMC will host Tri-Unity next Friday for Homecoming then travel to Muskegon Catholic and Grand River Prep in its other two league contests.

Western Michigan Christian 67, GR Covenant Christian 52

WESTERN MICHIGAN CHRISTIAN
Alex Rop 0 0-0 0, Jared Varnado 2 2-2 7, Jacob Ray 5 0-0 10, Devin Eekhoff 0 0-1 2, Derrick Holt 3 0-2 6, Bernard Smith 10 3-4 23, Sam Mast 2 0-1 4, James Godwin 3 2-4 10, Nate Dugener 2 0-0 5. Totals 28 7-14 67,.

COVENANT CHRISTIAN
Brandon Kuiper 3 0-1 6, Jared Minderhoud 4 1-1 10, Cole Bleyenburg 1 0-2 2, Brandon Kaptein 3 1-2 8, Austin Brower 3 0-0 9, Travis Bouwkamp 0 0-1 0, Derek Dykstra 0 1-2 1, Derrick DeVries 2 4-6 8, Matt Meulenberg 2 2-5 6, Nic Looyenga 1 0-1 2. Totals 19 9-21 52.

WMC 14 – 24 – 15 – 14 — 67
Covenant 8 – 13 – 14 – 17 — 52

3-pointers: Varnado, Godwin (2), Dugener; Minderhoud, Kaptein, Brower (3). Fouled out: none. Technicals: none. JV: WMC 52-48.

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