by Mike Moll
Friday night at Wyoming High School was “a night that could not have been scripted any better” according to Wyoming Athletic Director Ted Hollern.
He was referring to the evening’s events which started off with the Wyoming Wolves girls basketball team capping their perfect 10 win OK Blue season, to go along with 18 regular season victories against just 2 losses. They defeated Comstock Park (2-8, 4-16), by a final score of 63 to 18. That game sends the Lady Wolves into their district opener, Monday, February 24 against Zeeland East in a game that will be played at Zeeland East.
It was a chance for the big crowd Friday to show their appreciation to the senior girls basketball players as they were introduced at the conclusion of the game.
Immediately following is what many had come to see. The first Hall of Fame induction ceremonies since Wyoming High was formed last year, as it is a product of the merger between Wyoming Park and Wyoming Rogers. The inductees were each a star player from those schools.
Tonya (Yonkers) Coates was named Michigan’s Miss Softball for 2001 when she helped lead Wyoming Rogers to the Class B State title. That win culminated Rogers three consecutive state championship game appearances, having also won the title in 1999. Coates has the 19th most wins as a pitcher in the state’s history with 106, against 11 losses. She was an All State selection in each of her last three seasons during which she had a combined record of 100 wins and just 6 losses. Her teams won their Conference title and the District titles in each of her 4 years. They were Regional champs in 3 of those seasons. Some of her personal career statistics were giving up only 2.26 hits per game, an earned run average of 0.87, striking out 247 hitters, and giving up a measly 0.37 earned runs a game in her Senior year. Tonya today is a surgical technician in the state of Michigan.
Drew Neitzel was named Michigan’s Mr. Basketball for 2004 when he helped lead the Wyoming Park team to the state semi finals and a 23-4 record. That season Neitzel, in 27 games, not only scored 893 points (33.1 avg.) which is the 7th highest mark in Michigan history, but also had 240 assists (8.9 avg.) which is the 3rd highest season total in the state’s history and the school record. Drew was an All State Honorable Mention selection in 2001, an All State selection in each of his last 3 years at Park, the 2004 Class B Player of the Year, and a Parade All American in 2004. His teams won two Conference, District, and Regional championships. Neitzel still holds the school records of 57 points in a game, 2,462 career points, 692 career assists, which is also the 2nd highest state total, and the single game record of 15 assists. The 227 three-point baskets made in his career place him 10th in the state and his 467 made free throws are the 9th most in state history. Neitzel went on to play at Michigan State where he was the starting point guard for the 2005 Final Four team, and had more than 1,500 points and 500 assists during his tenure as a Spartan. Today, Drew is a Financial Advisor for Wells Fargo.
The last portion of the evening came as the Wolves boys basketball team avenged an earlier season loss to Comstock Park with an exciting 71 to 61 win. This was the first OK Blue loss of the season for Comstock Park (9-1, 16-2). It sends the Wolves into their Tuesday game where they host OK Red leader Hudsonville (7-2, 11-7) with a 2nd place conference finish at 8-2 league and an overall mark of 12-6.