Manistee, Catholic Central both turning a page in boys basketball

Manistee junior Kyle Mantych (32) shoots over a Shelby defender during the Chippewas’ 52-50 win on Jan. 6. The win was the start of a 3-game winning streak. (Brian Fogg/News Advocate)

Manistee junior Kyle Mantych (32) shoots over a Shelby defender during the Chippewas’ 52-50 win on Jan. 6. The win was the start of a 3-game winning streak. (Brian Fogg/News Advocate)

Don’t look now, but all of a sudden Manistee has two real boys basketball teams.

These days, both Manistee High and Manistee Catholic Central are rewarding fans that had little hope of witnessing success in what can now be looked back upon as a stretch of hard-to-watch basketball.

The Chippewas could very well win as many games this season as they have in the previous three combined. Of course, one of those seasons, 2014-15, saw Manistee go winless, but still.

And last year’s dismal 1-20 year for MCC was merely a blip, as the bulk of that team has returned, battle-hardened from the experience.

As you probably know, I’m not from around here, so I had to dig into the archives to see how the two programs have fared in recent years.

MCC has the more successful recent history, having won the West Michigan D League as recently as 2013, but that was the last year they managed double-digit wins.

Manistee, meanwhile, has had just one 10-win season since 2008, when our online archives began. That was a 10-11 record in 2012. Since then, the Chippewas have never won more than six games in a season, and went 0-for-2014-15.

But that is all in the past.

Neither team will run the table this season, nor have ambitions for a deep state-tournament run.

But both look a lot better than they have lately. Both programs have taken a major step forward, and have given local fans a reason to come in out of the dismal cold and watch a competitive basketball game, something that hasn’t been the case lately.

I’ll be honest. It’s much more fun to cover a winning team than a losing one. I would much rather talk to, and write about, athletes and coaches who are smiling than those who are defeated.

And I would much rather cover a game whose result is in doubt before the opening tip. Both teams can be competitive with just about every opponent on their schedule from here on out, and pulling the occasional upset would not be the heart-stopping shock that it would have been even last year.

Both teams have taken athletes and made them into basketball players, and the individual improvement of several of them has been obvious. Both are not just athletic but also skilled, with well-honed basketball instincts that simply were not there last year.

Both look like actual basketball teams.

Given a bit of stability going forward, both can build on what they have accomplished this season, regardless of the results down the stretch. Both can make a bit of noise in districts, and make other teams pay for assuming that recent history will just repeat itself.

The key word there is “history.” Manistee and Manistee Catholic Central would both rather speak in the present tense.

avatar

Posted by Scott Yoshonis

Scott is the sports editor of the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach him at (231) 398-3112 or syoshonis@pioneergroup.com.

Leave a Reply