By Craig Beilfuss
REMUS—As has been the case all season, the sixth ranked Newaygo Lions girls basketball team relied on four year varsity seniors Emmerson Goodin and Jaxi Long to finish the 2021-2022 regular season with a solid 63-39 win over Chippewa Hills on Friday evening.
Goodin finished with a double-double grabbing a team high 13 rebounds to go along with scoring 18 points. Long had a team high 23 points to go with five steals, four assists and three rebounds.
Barbara Toth chipped in with eight points and grabbed four rebounds.
“Good win to end the season tonight,” said Newaygo coach Nate Thomasma who has been running the Newaygo program for seven years.
“We couldn’t buy a bucket in the first half but the girls continued to work hard and in the third quarter the shots began to fall,” Thomasma said.
“Very proud of the team for going 14-0 in the conference this year. That’s always a tough accomplishment. With that, we know that starting tomorrow morning (Saturday), everyone’s record is 0-0 going into the postseason and we will treat it that way. We have a very tough district and we will need to play our best to compete,” said Thomasma whose 2020-2021 Lion squad finished runner-up in the MHSAA state tournament in Division 2 and completed the season with a 21-2 record.
During the past four years, while Goodin and Long have been a vital part of the Newaygo program, the Lions have went 75-13 overall, while winning the Central State Activities Association-Gold this season and last season with identical league records of 14-0.
The Friday night game marked the final regular season game for four Newaygo seniors who have had a major impact in the Lion basketball program over the past two to four years.
Lily Swinehart is in her second year on the varsity team. As a forward she has been a key contributor on both ends of the court according to Thomasma. She went into the Friday evening game with over 150 points and over 175 rebounds in her varsity career.
At another forward position is a three year varsity player in Kayla Fisk. According to Thomasma Fisk has been one of the best defensive players he has seen at Newaygo with over 200 deflections and 150 steals.
Then there are the two four-year varsity ballplayers in Emmerson Goodin and Jaxi Long.
Goodin, who also plays at the forward position, is currently in tenth place all time in points scored and in the top ten all time rebounding leaders in Newaygo high school history with over 640 rebounds during her career.
Finally, Long a guard, currently sits at the number four spot in Newaygo Lion girls basketball history with more than 1260 points scored. Earlier this season she went over the 1000-point mark. Long is Newaygo’s all-time 3-point leader with 171 3’s going into last nights game with Chippewa Hills.
Newaygo wraps up the regular season with a 19-1 overall record and a perfect 14-0 record in the Central State Activities Association-Gold. The Lions will be back in action on Wednesday, March 2 at the Comstock Park girls district. They will play the winner of Monday evening’s game between Comstock Park and Fremont. Game time is slated to begin at approximately 7 p.m.