The Lakers took on winless Orchard View in the Class B District semifinal round, dismissing the Cardinals, 46-29.
“They are athletic, they play hard and they are well coached. They have just had a tough year,” Spring Lake head coach Cavin Mohrhardt said of Orchard View. “You tell the girls, we better not be their first win. Don’t overlook, don’t be overconfident, come out and play.”
Play they did, the Lakers hit the ground running, outscoring the Cardinals 15-2 over the first quarter. Despite the lopsided offensive efforts, Mohrhardt was looking for more from his girls.
“We didn’t board very well in the first quarter,” he said. “But everything else I was happy with.”
The focus on rebounds proved tough sledding against a strong Cardinal post presence.
“We aren’t big” Mohrhardt said of his post players. “We have the height, but weight wise, if we don’t get the call, our girls can be like pinballs out there.
“It turned out, though. We had a good second half, I’m pleased will all that.”
Spring Lake took a 28-11 lead into halftime, and led 38-15 to start the final frame.
The lead gave the Lakers a chance to work personnel that may have gone neglected without a tune-up district game.
Three of Spring Lake’s junior varsity players from this season got a chance to enter the game, with two earning their first varsity points. Phoebe Saunders grabbed two points in the fourth quarter while Leah Vaughan netted one free throw.
“That’s building the program,” Mohrhardt said. “Everyone should want to do that. Two of them scored tonight, It is good to see that.”
A few offensive looks and defensive schemes also shed some dust against the Cardinals, as the Lakers capitalized on the opportunity to polish up their entire arsenal ahead of Friday’s championship game.
“There was nothing new,” Mohrhardt said. “Just stuff we haven’t used in a while. Now is the time to work some looks we haven’t used in a while. It is good to keep those, who knows, we might need them.”
Mixing in different looks and players ensured deep scoring for the Lakers, who penciled 11 girls into the scoring book.
Linsey Paggeot led the Lakers with 12 points, followed by Jenna Core with eight, Madeline Zenas scoring seven and Madelyn Nelson dropping six points.
Reiko Johnson nailed one 3-point shot to round out her scoring, while Emily Batts, Jorden Peppin and Rebekah VanDeWeg all scored two points each.
Addison Lindsey rounded out the Laker scoring with one made free throw.
Late in the game, it looked as though the long season has begun to take its toll on this fast-paced Laker squad, with Johnson taking a seat to ice her ankles and Emily Batts going down with an in-game injury and Lindsey Paggeot showing signs of knew discomfort.
“Three games this week with everything else, it is tiring,” Mohrhardt said. “We had six games in 12 days at one point this season, they will be O.K.. They are tough competitors, they will be 100 percent for Friday.”
The district title will be decided back at Montague High School against Oakridge, after they defeated Montague, 46-40, in the second game on Wednesday.
The Eagles finished their regular season at 20-2 and as champions on the West Michigan Conference. Coach Mohrhardt kept it simple.
“We’ve seen them play,” he said. “We will be ready.”
The stage is set for the Lakers to make a run at the Regional tournament, pending a win at Montague on Friday at 7 p.m.