TRAVERSE CITY — Thirty-four Big North Conference games.
Traverse City West capped off a run of three straight years without a setback in league play with a 2-1 victory Tuesday over Petoskey.
One might think that win would bring a sigh of relief to forward Brad Richey, one of three Titan seniors who have been on varsity for each of those three campaigns.
"I'd say it's not as much a relief as an expectation for us," Richey said. "We're expected to win, so to go out there (and win) is something we have to do."
Twin brothers Dan and Brandon Montgomery are the other two West players to enjoy the three-year ride, although they were promoted to varsity midway through their sophomore seasons.
Richey transferred to West from Florida as a sophomore and slid right into a prominent role in an already-established program.
"It speaks a lot to the tradition of the program," West coach Jason Carmien said. "Kids come into our program understanding that the bar has been set pretty high. We've had some success. Since the program's inception, we've just built it up. This group is really focused. They don't take a game off, and they understand that to win a championship, you have to play every game on the schedule and you can't take nights off. We've had our share of luck. We've come back to tie quite a few times. Central, in particular, has had our number, and for some reason we've always had the bounce go our way and been able to get a result. This group has been very consistent and they've worked very hard. They have a lot of pride. And one of our goals every year is to win (the conference). They've worked toward that, and they really take pride in that. To not lose a game speaks to their consistency."
Over the last three years, West has posted BNC marks of 9-0-1, 9-0-3 and 10-0-2 — each time claiming the league crown.
That's a 28-0-6 mark over that three-season span. Five of those six ties have come against Traverse City Central, with one against Petoskey in 2011.
Of those five deadlocks with Central, one stands out to Carmien.
"We were down 2-0 to Central and Mitch Taplin was our senior captain and he scored a goal on a penalty kick to tie that game," Carmien said of a 2010 matchup with the Triojans. "That kind of typified their season. There were 12 seniors on that team and we'd go on to win the district final that year. And I think coming back in that game was a big turning point in that year, because we were down 2-0 at home and were able to come back and tie that game."
"It really goes back to coach Carmien's great coaching," Richey said. "We've had varying degrees of talent every year, but every year he gets us playing really well for our conference season."
To finish off this year's unblemished BNC slate, the Titans had to hold off a furious Petoskey comeback attempt.
"It's always a battle going to Quick Road," Richey said of Petoskey's home field. "They have a good team up there. Every time you're away in conference after three straight years of wins, everybody's gunning for us, so it's always a battle."
TC West went up 2-0 in the first half.
"When we rolled in, the flags were dead. There was nothing," Carmien said. "It was dead calm. In the second half, that southwest wind kicked up, right around halftime. And you could feel it. And all the sudden, we're like, 'Oh no, we don't have the wind.' They took it to us. We were lucky to withstand it. They had several chances to score and only got one. Again, we came out of that one 2-1, but that could have gone a different way in a hurry, but Justin Kraft played great in goal."
Seven of this year's nine seniors start, and two of those are the league's top scorers.
Brandon Montgomery has 20 points to claim the Big North scoring title, with Dan Montgomery second with 13, Josh Stiglich third at 11 and Cameron Sipple fourth at 10. Christien Geiger is tied with Central's Matt Grost for fifth with nine.
"When kids come back at Christmas time, they ask the guys how they did in the fall and they take pride in that fact that they didn't lose a game," Carmien said. "So there's some competition there between guys that seniors that graduate. No senior class wants to be the class that loses the title or loses a game. They've taken that up this year as a pride thing."
The Titans (14-3-3 overall) host rival TC Central in the opening round of districts Tuesday.
"We're really ready to go," Richey said. "We made a few changes to our tactics for the next time we play them, and we're all looking forward to it. We're really pumped for the game."
TC West's victory over Petoskey was 34th in a row
TRAVERSE CITY — Thirty-four Big North Conference games.
Frankfort, McBain win regional titles
The No. 3-ranked Frankfort Panthers secured a Class D girls basketball regional championship tonight, defeating Bellaire 61-33.Continued ...
TCAPS cancels special board meeting
Traverse City Area Public Schools officials canceled a special meeting about the district's long-standing election law violation.Continued ...
Titans roll into district finals
Sault Ste. Marie trailed by double digits for all but 90 seconds Wednesday night. That pretty much sums up Traverse City West's dominance in winning a Class A district semifinal 77-57 after jumping out to an early 14-0 lead.Continued ...
Editorial: County board must codify what counts as per diem
The issue: GT board can’t agree on per diem payments. Our view: It’s another case of a flawed policy.Continued ...
Stella’s Anton chalks up another coveted Beard nomination
There’s no comparison between summer-ripened tomatoes fresh from the garden and those pallid pink pucks labeled “tomato” on February’s supermarket shelves.Continued ...
Aviation agreement takes off
Will Bennett doesn’t want to spend his future saddled to a desk from 9-to-5 every day. It’s one reason he’s training to be a pilot in Northwestern Michigan College’s Aviation Program.Continued ...
Board to discuss violation in closed session
Traverse City Area Public Schools board members will consider an offer to resolve a longstanding election law violation, but the public won’t be privy to what district officials say once their conversation moves behind closed doors.Continued ...
Propane prices dip; gasoline up for spring
Michigan’s propane prices are finally falling after the state sent out a call for help.Continued ...
Bullough's return propels Gladiators past McBain
When St. Francis needed a spark to ignite its offense Wednesday night, the Gladiators turned to the Big Three.Continued ...
Cadillac manufacturer to make pallets
A northern Michigan business will benefit from a $133 million contract with the United States Air Force.Continued ...
Foodie with Family: Nothing says romance like spaghetti
I’m a little romantic about food. I’m sure that comes as a not-surprise-at-all to many of you who have been reading me for years.Continued ...
Letters to the Editor: 03/06/2014
Reasons to be happy.Continued ...
Alpena starts fast, cruises past Central
Falling into a big, early deficit is a dangerous way to live. Although Traverse City Central was able to scratch out a win that way in Monday’s boys basketball tournament opener versus Petoskey, it couldn’t find that same magic in Wednesday’s Class A district semifinal against Big North Conference champion Alpena.Continued ...
Nancy Krcek Allen: Marriage made in winter kitchen
Nancy Krcek Allen has been a chef-educator for more than 25 years and has taught professional and recreational classes in California, New York City and Michigan. Her culinary textbook, “Discovering Global Cuisines” was released in March 2013.Continued ...
Forum: Return to local control
What happens within a prison population when prisoners convicted of violent crimes are mixed in with inmates incarcerated for non-violent crimes?Continued ...
CTC's orientation shows eighth-graders that concepts can excite
A class of eighth-grade students sat quietly, and patiently listened to an engineering presentation in a Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District Career-Tech Center classroom.Continued ...
Sleeping Bear bill passes House
Favored trails, views and hunting spots in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore are one step closer to being preserved for good.Continued ...
Boys Basketball Roundup: Manton rallies to beat Lake City
Manton (10-11) rallied from a six-point fourth-quarter deficit to edge visiting Lake City 56-55 in a Class C district semifinal clash and earn a berth in Friday’s district title game with Traverse City St. Francis.Continued ...
Sports in Brief: 03/06/2014
Frankfort's Reznich elected president of BCAM; Boating safety class set.Continued ...
Hit-and-run vehicle sought: White car with front-end damage
Grand Traverse County sheriff’s deputies seek a vehicle involved in a Garfield Township hit-and-run.Continued ...
Today in Sports: 03/06/2014
What's happening in sports across the region and the nation:Continued ...
Paw Paw man faces sex crime charge
A Paw Paw man is accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl during a summer camping trip at Interlochen State Park.Continued ...
Nightclub keeps TC police busy
Traverse City Police Capt. Mike Ayling said officers responded to four different calls — three fights and one drunken driver — linked to the Streeters Center in two hours on Tuesday evening.Continued ...
Community in Brief: 03/06/2014
Guest musicians join Jazz at the Cambria; benefit pancake breakfast; reservation deadline for senior luncheon; and more.Continued ...
- Poll: Should commissioners pay back some of their per diems?
- Frankfort, McBain win regional titles