Cats tip off boys’ hoops season in Niles

NILES — Coming off one of its best seasons in years, Three Rivers opens the 2016-17 boys’ basketball campaign hoping to build off last year’s success.
Third-year head coach Brian Burg takes his Three Rivers ballclub to Niles for a non-conference battle with the Vikings.
Tip-off time is 7:15 p.m. and the game can be heard live on WRCI (97.1 FM) radio station in Three Rivers. Air time is approximately 7:05 p.m.
Three Rivers dropped a 47-43 decision to Niles at home last year and fell 81-69 the previous year on the Vikings’ home court.
Three Rivers compiled a 15-8 overall mark last season, including an 11-4 Wolverine Conference record, and second-place finish of 5-3 for second place in the South Division. The Cats captured their first district championship since 2005. Three Rivers also achieved its first winning season since 2006.
Three Rivers lost in the regional semifinals to South Haven.
Expectations remain high despite the graduation loss of their top two leading scorers, Adam Reed and Tanner Blyly.
“The guys are excited to open the season. We’ve been getting after it and working real hard in practice and in our two pre-season scrimmages,” Burg said.
Niles graduated its top two postplayers from last year. The Vikings’ two leading returners are Jacob Hamm at the wing position and guard Bryce Lake.
“We just need to run our offense correctly and execute plays. That’s what you want to do in an opener,” Burg said.
Returning for Three Rivers are starters in junior center Tirrell Haumanis (6-foot-4, 250) along with senior strong forward Carson Charvat (6-5, 190).
The Cats will start senior Sam Hawkins and sophomore Jalen Heivilin at the guard positions and sophomore Gavin Charvat at the other forward spot.
Also on the roster for Three Rivers are seniors Austin Wright, Esden Stafne, Max Chapman (6-5), Zavier Barth, Michael Coffey, Eric Johnson and juniors Jensin Blyly and Ashley Manansala.
“Our rotation will depend on the flow of the game,” Burg said.
In other area games tonight, Schoolcraft hosts Berrien Springs, White Pigeon visits Burr Oak, Howardsville Christian School entertains Lakeside Prep Academy, Constantine hosts Sturgis, Lake Michigan Catholic travels to Centreville and Colon visits Union City.
In the girls’ game, Three Rivers faces a Niles team it defeated last season on a layup at the buzzer.
“The girls are excited to get back on the court. They work together for each other and if they do that we will be successful,” said Three Rivers varsity girls’ coach Jason Bingaman.
Three Rivers fell to Vicksburg 48-41 in its season opener at home on Friday.
The Lady Cats were led by freshman Hadley Miller with seven points and 11 rebounds. Arionne Fowlkes scored eight points to go with five rebounds. Izzy Taylor added two points, nine rebounds and four steals.
In other area girls’ games tonight, Centreville entertains Colon and Constantine hosts Sturgis.
Scott Hassinger can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 25 or sports@threeriversnews.com.

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