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Jackson High School to join SEC White starting in 2018-19 school year

Jackson High School has been seeking a new athletic conference to join, and it now has one. The Jackson School Board voted unanimously to approve the switch from the Capital Area Activites Conference (CAAC) to the Southeastern Conference White Divison for all Jackson High sports teams beginning in the 2018-19 school year.

The SEC White, a six-school league in 2016-17, will add Pinckney to the conference for the 2017-18 year before Jackson makes it an eight-team league the following season.  Jackson’s enrollment of 1,246 would make it the third-largest school in the SEC White. In addition to newcomer Pinckney (1,279), the SEC White includes Adrian (794), Chelsea (867), Dexter (1,146), Tecumseh (832), Ypsilanti (1,115) and Ypsilanti Lincoln (1,404).

The Red Division includes Ann Arbor Huron (1,589), Ann Arbor Pioneer (2,055), Ann Arbor Skyline (1,752), Monroe (2,046), Saline (1,923) and Temperance Bedford (1,597). There are no plans for expanding the SEC Red.

The CAAC consists of eight teams, seven of which are considered Lansing area. The SEC White will have eight teams, each of which has its own geographic region.

“Each school (in the SEC) has its own sense of community,” Jackson High Athletic Director Jack Fairly said earlier this month. “The CAAC has been good to us, but being from the Jackson area, we’re down here by ourselves. Teams in (the SEC) all have their own community, whereas the CAAC was really a greater-Lansing conference and then us.”

Joining a conference that didn’t increase travel was also an important dynamic. The distance between Jackson and every school in the SEC White ranges from 26-51 miles while the distance between Jackson and the CAAC schools ranged from 32-49 miles. Additionally, the annual SEC league fee is $700, compared to $3,125 in the CAAC.

Starting this fall in 2017 Pinckney comes back to the SEC after it left in to join the Kensington Lakes Activities Association (KLAA) in 2000. The Pirates held rivalries with Dexter and Chelsea, as well as Tecumseh, still playing an annual basketball game with the Dreadnaughts.

Pinckney was looking for a good conference fit and as their enrollment falls they will be on pace with several of the other schools in the SEC White.
 “We’re joining a conference where schools have some of the strongest programs in the state,” Pinckney Athletic Director Brian Wardlow said. “But it does allow us to get back into a more level playing field and against some of our neighbors. This seemed like a natural fit, even on more levels than athletics.”
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Chelsea Edged By Ann Arbor Huron

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Junior Guard Cam Copper drives inside for 2

Chelsea hosted the Ann Arbor Huron River Rats in a big SEC conference showdown on Friday night. Both teams came in unbeaten in conference play and were  looking to gain an edge. Huron came in at 8-2 and on a three-game winning streak while Chelsea came in at 8-1. And both teams were ready to play.

Chelsea took off fast using their strength to work down low and Senior Forward Trevor Kingsley got the scoring started with 2 hard fought shots underneath to give the Bulldogs the edge. Junior Guard Cam Cooper hijacked the ball from a River Rat and drove the length of the court for a big bucket and immediately the Bulldogs were up 8-0. Huron came back strong though on an 11-0 run. Then Cooper stole the ball again and was fouled with only .1 seconds on the shot and sank both free throws to put Chelsea up 12-11 at the end of the first.

Huron put the pressure on the Bulldogs and points were hard to come by in the second period for both teams and with a minute left Junior Ryan Mitchell stole the ball & drove the court to put Chelsea up 22-21. Huron drove up the court and was trying to hold the ball for the last shot but with 23 seconds left in the half, Kingsley jumped and used his strength to aggressively block a Huron shot and let the River Rats know they were in for a fight.

Huron came out strong in the third but the Bulldogs did too. Although Huron had the height advantage, Chelsea had the strength advantage with Kingsley and Senior Collin Steinhauer crashing the boards on both sides of the court. Neither team led by more than 2 points at any point in the game at this point and Chelsea Head Coach Josh Tropea did a masterful job answering Huron’s substitutions with his own. With 57 seconds left in the 3rd and Chelsea trailing a technical foul was called on River Rat Avery Lewis. Cooper took the free throws and then right before the buzzer in the period it was Senior Guard Ethan French slipping inside and putting the Bulldogs up off a great reverse layup.

Both teams traded baskets in the third and Chelsea was keeping in the game until Huron’s Darian Root hit a big three-pointer to put Huron up by 5, the biggest lead for either team of the night. From that point on the River Rats outscored Chelsea in the closing minutes, 5-0, en route to a hard-fought victory. Rowley finished with a game-high 11 points, followed by Alec Anderson with nine and Jack Smith with eight.

For Chelsea (9-2), Kingsley and Steinhauer each led the Bulldogs with eight points. Alex Vasquez had 6 points and several big blocks for the Bulldogs, Cooper finished with 5 points.

With four-straight wins under its belt, Huron (10-2) will prepare for a pair of home games next week against Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Lincoln. Meanwhile, Chelsea (9-2) will try to get back on the winning side as they host Adrian Lenawee Christian on Tuesday before hitting the road to face Ann Arbor Skyline on Friday.

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