The Portland Boys’ basketball team had less than a week to prepare for their opening game at home against the Mason Bulldogs on November 30th. The Raiders lost that game 67-54. Then three days later they played their second game, defeating Laingsburg 51-41. On Friday, December 7th they will play their 3rd game in just a week when they host one of the CAAC White’s favorites to win the conference title, the Ionia Bulldogs. Ionia is currently sitting with one win and two losses, after having several weeks to prepare for the season and having defeated Belding in their season opener but dropping their last two games to Haslett and Perry respectively.
Of course, none of Portland’s eleven basketball players, or their Coach Dave Pettit, are complaining about the lack of prep time since they had a good reason for starting late. Nine members of the team are members of the Raider’s Division 5 State Runner-up Football team that played its last game at Ford Field on November 24th. “They basically handed in their football uniforms and picked up their basketball uniforms at the same time”, said Pettit who is beginning his 10th year as the Raider’s Head Basketball Coach, “and then they only had three practices and it was game day”. Pettit continued, “We have had to adopt the attitude ‘grind it out’ for the first couple of weeks because there simply has not been the time to practice and get in basketball shape yet.”
The Raiders finished their basketball season last year, with three wins and 18 losses, by losing in the MHSAA District tournament to the Charlotte Orioles 67-65 on a last second buzzer beating shot. They will get a chance to make-up that loss this year when they play Charlotte twice, due to realignment of the CAAC White Division that brings the Orioles and the Lansing Sexton Big Reds into the Division. They will be joined in the White Division by Lansing Catholic, Eaton Rapids, Ionia and Portland. Fowlerville and Williamston have moved to other CAAC Divisions.
The Raider’s roster this year returns three seniors (Tate Dziewiatkowski, Blake Patrick, and Mitchell Savage) and three juniors (Owen Russell, David Svanda, and Jordan Petersen) along with first year varsity players Aryan Virk, Gavin McGregor, Blake Meyers, Ty Snitgen and Zack Pier who are all juniors. Coach Pettit said, “They are a great group of kids to coach!”
The Raider’s 20 game 2018-19 schedule includes hosting non-CAAC White Division opponents Lansing Christian, Haslett, Lakewood and Olivet at home while traveling to away games at Hastings, St. Johns, Fowler and Saranac. The full schedule follows at the end of this article.
Friday’s game with Ionia will begin at 6:00 P.M. at Portland High School. A Varsity Girls game between Portland and Ionia will immediately follow the Boy’s game.