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Chelsea’s Ronnie Buford Announces College Commitment

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Chelsea Bulldog Ronnie Buford picks off a pass in his junior season

The Chelsea High School football team has produced yet another great young athlete to commit to a Division 1 college as Junior Ronnie Buford announced that he has officially committed to Western Michigan University (WMU) to continue his football career.

Ronnie has committed to the Broncos as a defensive end, where he excelled for the 11-1 Bulldogs team in 2016. The 6 foot 4 inch Buford also excels on the basketball court where he and his Bulldog teammates won the Districts in their division last season.  Buford moved recently to Chelsea from Ann Arbor where he was the starting quarterback for Skyline, but he was moved to defensive end for the Bulldogs where they could take advantage of his size and speed.

“The adjustment from offense to defense wasn’t a real big deal to me,” Ronnie stated. “It was a smooth transition because I understood both offensive and defensive schemes and learned quickly what my coaches were teaching me.”

Many colleges noticed Ronnie’s play in his first year on defense and were interested in him and he and his family visited many of them to get a feel for the community and check out the academics to see if the fit was right for him. Ronnie took his time and with the help of his loving family, friends, and coaches finally decided on his gridiron home for the 2018 season.

“The decision was hard, yet easy. We went to many places but when we went to WMU I just knew I wanted to be a Bronco after the first unofficial visit,” Ronnie stated. “As soon as I stepped foot on the Bronco’s football field,  I just had this feeling that I had at no other visit! It was a confirmation feeling like I belonged there.”

Ronnie also gives much credit to the WMU coaches for making him and his family feel comfortable on their visit.

“They treated me and my family so nice,” Ronnie said. “They were extremely good to my little brother and I could tell this was a great, solid family organization like Chelsea football is. And that’s what I’m all about, family.”

Ronnie plans to major in Business and get a minor in civil engineering while enjoying all the community of Kalamazoo and WMU have to offer. Ronnie is the son of Willie Buford, and Shallis and Laura Mask.

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Chelsea Student-Athletes Make History

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Senior Jack Bush poses with the Chelsea basketball district championship trophy

Chelsea High School is known for its academics. It was recently listed by the U.S. News as the 7th ranked school in the state of Michigan, the only public school to crack the top 10. That’s an excellent ranking since there are over 1,500 high schools in Michigan. Nationally it was listed number 554 out of almost 40,000 high schools! The student body of Chelsea have a 56% ranking in Advanced Placement classes and have very high test scores. Not too shabby for a town of just over 5,000 people.

But academics isn’t all Chelsea is about. They put a good focus on athletics and encourage all students to participate and many of the students will play more than 1 sport. The athletic department is strong and solid and many students go on to earn sports scholarships for Division 1 schools,  and some even have gone on to play professional sports.

This year, a few students have done something that hasn’t been done in quite a while and is very rare for most student athletes. Jack Bush, Hunter Neff, Quinn Starkey, Thomas Steele, and Alex Vasquez have all etched their names in the Chelsea record books as they are among the few student-athletes in the long history of Chelsea sports that have won 3 district championships in one year!

Bush was the starting quarterback for Chelsea the past couple seasons and was a key element of leading the Bulldogs to the MHSAA Class B state championship in 2015. He also started for the basketball team and this year’s baseball team which just clinched a district title last Saturday. Bush will attend Hope College in the fall where he will look to carry on his illustrious football career.

Neff was a part of this years football, and baseball team, and was called up for the districts in basketball.

Starkey played on the basketball team, the baseball team, and was called up for the Districts in football.

Steele was the Bulldogs leading rusher in football last season as well as winning a district championship with the Bulldogs hockey team. He also will be on the field looking for a regional title in baseball, after sealing up a district championship last weekend.

Vasquez starred at end for the Bulldogs football team this past season and was also a part of the state championship runner-ups in 2015. He used his size and strength to help the Bulldogs win districts not only on the gridiron, but on the basketball court, and for this year’s baseball team. Vasquez will be taking his talents to Michigan State University in the fall.

The Bulldogs baseball team will head to Carleton-Airport on June 10th where they will be taking on the South Lyon East Cougars and will be looking to win the regional playoff and help bring more hardware to Chelsea, the city of champions.

 

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Williamston Basketball’s Freshman Mitchell Cook Looking To The Future

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Williamston’s Mitchell Cook Drives for 2 in the quarterfinals game 

Basketball season might be over for some but not for Williamston Hornet Freshman Mitchell Cook. Cook will be practicing as much as possible and be getting ready for next season as his Hornets look to go deep into the Class B basketball playoffs again. In 2016 the Hornets made it to the state semi-finals at the Breslin Center, while this past year they were defeated on a 3-point shot with only 3 seconds left in the quarterfinals.

It takes a lot of talent to be able to play on the Williamston team, coached by Class B Coach of the year Tom Lewis. There are high expectations each and every season. But Cook was able to make the team as a freshman, which says a lot about his playing ability, as well as earning a spot starting as the season went on.

Cook has been playing competitive basketball since the  4th grade. He knew he was going to make varsity on the last day of tryouts.

“It felt really good to make varsity,” Cook said. “it was great to know that all my hard work and dedication has paid off.”

Cook had an excellent freshman season as he brought an extra spark and intensity to a great team. He didn’t feel the pressure of playing against more experienced and bigger and older competition because he feels he brings a toughness to the team and some great defensive skills.

“I didn’t feel any pressure until really late in the regular season and postseason, knowing that’s when you really have to minimize your mistakes,” Cook explained. “But although the games got tougher, so did my team.”

In the semi-final game against River Rouge, Cook drove the baseline and made a great underhanded shot and was appeared to be fouled on the play but the referee strangely called a charging foul against Cook and River Rouge was able to hit a 3 point shot for the victory with almost no time left.

“That was really tough,” Cook said. “I took that loss pretty hard and so did my team. Especially the seniors because that was the last high school game ever.”

Williamston brings back another team of talent next season and the young Cook has gained much experience along with several of his teammates and they look to make another big run for the championship next season.

“I feel like next year we can go just as far if not farther,” Cook stated. “Knowing that we have a lot of great guys coming back.”

Cook is the son of Andy and Jen Cook. He has an older sister Sadie and a younger sister Sophie.

 

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Williamston Edged In Class B Quarterfinals

 

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Williamston Freshman Mitchell Cook drives the lane in the first

 

The Williamston Hornets had made it to the semi-finals at the Breslin Center in East Lansing last year, but this year came up just 1 basket short ending their great season. With the game tied at 51 against the River Rouge Panthers and the clock winding down, it was the Panthers Darian Owens-White hitting a 3 point shot with what would be the go-ahead game-winning basket, edging out the Hornets 54-51.

It was a very good game right from the tip-off. River Rouge came out strong and fast but the Hornets of Williamston didn’t panic and got right back into the game when Sophomore Sean Cobb hit 2 back to back 3-pointers to cut the Panthers lead to 1 after the first.

The Hornets defense was strong in the second giving River Rouge fits and keeping the Hornets within stinging distance. With the score tied at 20, with two and a half minutes left to go in the first half, Junior Cole Kleiver hit a huge 3 -point bucket to give the Hornets their first lead of the game. In front of a huge green and white-clad crowd, the Hornets took a 27-27 tie into the half, something the 25-1 Panthers have not had to deal with all season.

After the half, the Panthers scored early and held the Hornets to just two field goals while outscoring them 13-4 over the first 7:58 of the quarter until a Kleiver layup at the buzzer made it 40-33 entering the fourth.

“I warned them at halftime and said, ‘We really need to win the first four minutes coming out,'” Williamston coach Tom Lewis said. “I just had a feeling they were going to come with a different level. A lot of seniors on the other side of the floor and they did that, we struggled to score, had some messy possessions, they hit some shots … (Owens-White) just killed us with a lot of big baskets.”

In the 4th, the Hornets defense was swarming forcing turnovers and bad shots. The Panthers started to panic as the relentless Hornets fought back and with just over a minute left Cobb drove to the basket for 2 and was fouled. He hit the free throw giving the Hornets a 51-49 lead with time running out. The Panthers were able to tie it up and with the Hornets playing for the last shot, what happened next will be talked about for quite a while.

Freshman Mitchell Cook took a pass and drove the baseline and put up a beautiful underhanded shot that went in as he was knocked hard to the floor. But instead of a Hornet lead, the possibility of a 3-point play, and quite possible certain victory was snatched away as the official called Cook for a charge, even though his defender had never established position and was not set.

It was then that Owens-White hit his 3 point shot and with only 3 seconds left, the Hornets launched a deep 3 as time expired that just missed bringing their excellent season to a very sad end.

The Hornets finish the season with a great 21-5 record. They will graduate 5 seniors but will be bringing back a bevy of young talent.  Kleiver led the Hornets with 21 points, Cobb finished with 17 and 5 rebounds and 2 big blocked shots, while Sy Barnett finished with 11 points. Cook played an outstanding defensive game with 3 steals, 5 assist, and a big shot made in the 3rd to help keep his team in the game.

River Rouge will travel to the Breslin Center in East Lansing where they will take on the 24-2 Ludington Orioles who defeated Lake Fenton tonight.

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Chelsea Wins District Championship

 

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Chelsea Bulldogs, 2017 Class B District Champs 

 

Just like their girl counterparts did a week to the day, the Chelsea boys basketball team entered hostile territory and were able to fight and scrap to a come from behind victory over Onsted, 57-45. Unlike the girls who played near Onsted, this game was on Onsted’s home court in front of a mostly purple and white laden crowd.

Both teams were evenly matched and came out strong and matched each other basket to basket. Just as the buzzer sounded before the half ended, Onsted hit a long 2 point shot to take a 29-27 lead going into the break.

The Bulldogs were not fazed as first-year Head Coach Mark Moundros gave his team a good talk at the half and made some great adjustments. Moundros was very strategic in his substitutions all night long, knowing who to match up with and when.

Chelsea came out strong in the third and took an early lead forcing lots of turnovers and crashing the boards at both ends of the court. Chelsea’s Ronnie Buford came through with some big offense and Chelsea never looked back as they kept increasing their lead. Chelsea held Onsted’s team to only two points in the third as they took a 5 point lead into the fourth.

With 4 minutes left to go Onsted’s star player and top scorer Skyler Lipinski picked up his 5th foul on the night and had to watch from the bench as Chelsea skillfully increased its lead. With his last shot of the night, it was Buford putting the exclamation point on the game with a huge slam dunk in front of the huge,  loyal Bulldog student section.

As the clock wound down to zero the Chelsea players cleared the bench and hugged one another & celebrated their district championship, their first in ten years.

“I’m proud of our seniors, they led us all year and they worked hard for this and I’m proud of them,” Chelsea’s coach Moundros stated as he watched his players celebrate and pose for pictures with the trophy.

“This is a great group of players and we worked incredibly hard this last year,” Matt Klink stated. “As a group, we have faced a lot of adversity but like tonight, we always managed to fight and win. This truly is a family.”

All SEC selection Ryan Mitchel who finished the night with 9 points, 5 rebounds, and several steals was just speechless after the game. “I don’t know what to say, I’ve wanted this since I started playing, it’s a heck of a team.”

“All the way back to last year, I remember our first tournament, I thought nothing could top that, but this honestly has me speechless, coming back from last year, to this, we wanted this more than ever and I’m glad I got to get this w with my boys,” Bryce Jubenville said.

“5 of us got pulled up our sophomore year,” said Al Vazquez. “It’s a great group of guys, this feels pretty good, we worked together and it paid off.”

“This was a great team win, we were down 10 early and we knew that we had to wear them out because their bench was a lot thinner than ours,” Jack Bush stated. “We have 10 guys that we rotate and we did just a great job sticking together and not giving up to compete and finish that game.”

“I’d like to thank the community for all its support,” Ben Kaemming, who hit a couple big 3 point shots, said. “As the senior class, the program was not where we wanted it to be as freshman, but we’ve really turned it around, getting our first district championship in ten years.”

“We came into this team our first year 3-17 but we worked it out and trusted the system year in and year out,” a happy Brady Friss stated. “10 years but we got the district title.”

“It’s so great to be on this team,” an elated Ronnie Buford exclaimed. “To come back and beat Adrian who beat us last year, and this, Onsted is a tough team, we started a bit slow but came back strong in the second half. When Ben (Kaemming) hit the 3 to tie the game up, that was the turning point to me, that was a great 3 in the corner, great leadership by Ben.”  Buford led the Bulldogs with 16 points and 12 rebounds.

Chelsea gets the weekend to rest up then travels to Milan to take on River Rouge Monday at 5:30 P.M.

 

 

 

 

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Chelsea Girls Advance to District Finals

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Chelsea’s Katelyn McKinley splits the Eagles defense for a shot

After a tough outing Monday night, the Chelsea Bulldogs came out strong tonight against the Columbia Central Eagles starting the game with a 13-1 run en route to a big 41-24 victory advancing them to the Class B District Finals.

Chelsea’s Jesse Jacobusse celebrated her 18th birthday by leading her team in scoring with 14. She also had 3 assist, 2 steals, and 5 rebounds.

“I’m very excited,” the birthday girl Jacobusse said happily. “Monday’s game, we were very nervous, but tonight we played with more confidence. Our defense was very solid. That was the major difference in the games.”

The Bulldogs came out on fire, rolling to an early lead the Eagles could never come back from. The Bulldogs were solid all over the court and played a very stifling defense forcing errant passes and turnovers.”

“I thought our defense was definitely the big factor in tonight’s game,” Chelsea head coach Todd Blomquist stated. “We played much better tonight and I’m real happy for the girls.”

Blomquist is trying to win his 10th district final in his 18th year of coaching. If Chelsea wins Friday evening then they head to their home court to host regionals. In a very classy move near the end of the game, he emptied the bench and gave everyone a chance to play.

“I’ve been a part of a district final but I was just a sophomore so I didn’t get a chance to play,” Jacobusse said. “I feel really good to be a part of this and am hoping we can do it, it will be a great thing for us and for me to be a part of it.”

The Eagles came close to getting back in the game in the second half but too many turnovers and Chelsea’s speed was hard to contend with. Nicole Bareis finished the night in a great defensive effort for the Bulldogs with 8 rebounds and 3 steals while Madeleine Kennedy had a steal and had two big blocked shots. Helena Schultz finished with 8 while freshman Riley Davis earned lots of playing time by sinking 2 big 3 point shots finishing with 8 total on the night and 6 rebounds.

Chelsea will face Onsted in Brooklyn at 7:00 p.m. in the finals.

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Chelsea comes From Behind To Defeat Tecumseh

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Chelsea’s Jesse Jacobusse drives the lane in the first quarter

The drive began in the girls district tournament for Chelsea tonight, as they took on the Tecumseh Indians at Columbia Central High School in Brooklyn. Chelsea came from behind and battled back strong in the fourth quarter scoring the last 9 points of the game to defeat the Indians 32-29.

Both teams started slow, possibly nervous it seemed as in the first quarter there was not much scoring at all. Tecumseh played a stifling defense not allowing Chelsea to get their inside game rolling. At the half, it was a very low scoring 13-11 lead for the Bulldogs. In the third, the Indians exploded right away to take the lead on several inside shots. While Chelsea was getting good reads and shots, they just couldn’t get them to fall.

Bulldog senior Jesse Jacobusse hit a big three point shot to keep the Bulldogs close but then the Indians built their lead back up as they hit a shot at the buzzer to take a 6 point lead into the final stanza.

But the Bulldogs played their normal style of strong defense and forced several turnovers and bad shots and they took advantage of them. With 25 seconds left in the game, the Bulldogs sophomore Helena Schultz scored inside and was fouled to give the Bulldogs their first lead of the game since the very beginning. After she hit her free throw Chelsea forced another turnover and Tecumseh had no choice but to foul to send the Bulldogs to the line in hopes of getting a missed free throw and rebound.

And that happened as with 5 seconds left the Indians quickly moved the ball upcourt but the long distance 3 was short giving the Bulldogs the hard fought for victory.

Jacobusse led the Bulldogs in scoring with 11 points while Schultz finished the night with 8. Nicole Bareis played a solid defensive game forcing errant passes and shots and finished the night with 8 rebounds.

The Bulldogs will play Columbia Central in round 2 Wednesday at 5:30 in Brooklyn.

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