Otsego’s Charlie Woodhams and Hopkins’ Tyler Zomerlei had a lot in common on the hardwood.
For starters, both were senior leaders for their respective teams this season, with Woodhams helping lift the Bulldogs to their third consecutive Wolverine Conference championship and Zomerlei helping the Vikings secure their first OK Silver championship in 23 years.
Each also emerged as the scoring leader for his team.
It seemed only fitting, then, that these two Allegan County standouts ended their season on the same court, as Otsego posted a 66-49 win over Hopkins in a Division 2 district semifinal before the tournament was suspended and ultimately cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Woodhams scored a game-best 25 points in that showdown, while Zomerlei netted a team-topping 17 points.
And due to strong performances like that, Woodhams and Zomerlei have something else in common: both were included on the Associated Press Division 2 All-State team.
Woodhams garnered First Team honors, with Zomerlei picked up Honorable Mention recognition.
Martin junior Collin Coburn gave the county a third All-State honoree, as he was included as an Honorable Mention selection in Division 4.
Here is a closer look at those three players:
Woodhams was a three-year varsity player for the Bulldogs, joining the varsity squad during Otsego coach Matt Dennis’ second year with the program.
During those three years, Dennis saw Woodhams’ work ethic on display daily.
“On game nights, everyone got a chance to see him in action, which was special,” Dennis said of Woodhams. “But I got to see it happen every day in practice. He never took a play off in the three years I was his coach.”
Woodhams could always shoot the ball, and that was the case again this season.
Knocking down 60.6 percent of this shots—including a 41-percent clip from 3-point range—Woodhams averaged 23.7 points per game playing an average of 29 minutes per contest. He was also one of the top free throw shooters in the state at 92.6 percent.
But shooting wasn’t the only thing Woodhams could do, as he also averaged 8.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. On the defensive end of the court, he averaged 3.0 steals and 1.0 blocks per game.
And despite the fact that he was one of the best players in the Wolverine Conference, Woodhams ,maintained a sense of humility.
“Charlie always wanted to get better and was very coachable,” Dennis said. “This is one thing I’ll remember about him, his coachability. A lot of times players who are a step above act like they are a step above everyone. These players can offer a lot of challenges for a coach. Charlie never did this. He listened, was respectful of others and was the same person all the time.”
Woodhams, who also earned a spot on the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan’s Division 2 Best list, signed to continue his basketball career at Division 2 Hillsdale College.
Dennis has no doubt Woodhams will continue to excel, both on the court and in life.
“Charlie is an exceptional person and player,” Dennis said. “He played at a high level all the time and pushed those around him. Fans will remember his scoring, but I’ll most remember the type of teammate he was.”
Like Woodhams, Zomerlei is planning to continue his athletic career at the collegiate level.
Unlike Woodhams, Zomerlei won’t being doing so in basketball. Rather, he signed his letter of intent to play baseball at Aquinas College.
But before he turned his full attention to the diamond, Zomerlei had one more standout hoops season in him, for which third-year Vikings coach Jake Jewett was extremely grateful.
“Having coached Tyler the past three seasons, it’s been incredibly rewarding to see his progress each year,” said Jewett. “He’s become such a strong and confident player and really was our go-to scorer this past season.”
Zomerlei finished the season shooting nearly 50 percent from the floor and going for 18 points per game in the culmination of a high school career that saw him play at the varsity level all four years.
“Tyler improved tremendously each season,” Jewett said.
One area in which Zomerlei showed continued improvement was the ability to score in a number of ways.
“He’s an incredibly versatile player, being able to score both from the perimeter and also inside,” Jewett said of Zomerlei. “When he gets going and is feeling confident, he’s incredibly tough to stop. He shoots well from the outside, runs the floor and can also score with his back to the basket.”
Zomerlei, along with the Weber brothers—fellow senior Drew and junior Colin—played big roles in ending the Vikings’ conference championship drought that spanned nearly a quarter of a century.
“In addition to his skills on the basketball court, Tyler is also a very high character young man, serving as one of our team captains this past season,” Jewett said.
Zomerlei, who was also Honorable Mention for BCAM’s Best list, took that same level of desire and drive into the classroom, earning a 3.9 GPA.
“Tyler’s an overall well-rounded individual,” Jewett said. “He meant a lot to our program and he’ll be missed.”
The season didn’t start out great for Marin as a team, with the Clippers owning a 2-8 record at the midway point of the season.
The rest of the campaign was much better, with Martin going 10-2 on the way to finishing at 12-10. The Clippers were poised to play for a district championship prior to the COVID-19 shutdown.
Coburn played a big role in that turnaround, leading the Clippers in points, rebounds and steals with respective averages of 18 points, 8.5 rebounds and 3.0 steals per game.
“We were very excited and proud to hear that Collin earned All State honorable mention,” Martin coach Bradley Moelker said. “Collin is a great young man. He has always been one of the most positive teammates and consistently shows respect to those around him.”
Versatility is one of the hallmarks of Coburn’s game.
“Collin played every position from center to point guard from us,” Moelker said. “He just wanted to do whatever we needed him to do in order to win. On the court, he does everything a coach will ask of a player.”
In addition to that willingness to do whatever it takes to help his team, Coburn also improved his basketball IQ since his first year at the varsity level as a sophomore.
“This year, Collin really started to understand the game so much more,” Moelker said. “He just continued to put himself in the right position. Even if he wasn’t the biggest or quickest player out there, he never backed down from a challenge.”
That mentality caused some frustration among opponents.
“I know at times the opposing coaches got pretty frustrated at how Collin continued to get where he wanted to despite what the other team’s players were trying to do to stop him,” Moelker said.
And while there are nearly eight months before the start of the next boys’ basketball season, Coburn is already trying to figure out ways to make the Clippers better.
“One of the best things about Collin is, despite the individual awards he has earned this year, he is not at all content with how the year went for our team,” Moelker said. “Talking with him, I know that our team record is something he wants to improve on for next year. He doesn’t even mention his own stats.”