The Buccaneers jumped out to a 19-13 halftime advantage and used a 15-4 run in the third quarter to pull away from the Eagles.
“They are a good team with a Division 1 point guard running the show for them,” said Grand Haven head coach Katie Kowalczyk-Fulmer. “We missed a lot of shots early on, and most of them were decent looks, too. We came out of the locker room at halftime and had a great third quarter. We really pulled away and had a 19-point advantage at one point.
“I was proud of the effort the girls played with and our 2-2-1 zone press made a huge difference in the game. We weren’t great in our half-court sets, so the instant offense we got due to our defense was important for us.”
The Eagles and their Toledo-bound point guard came swooping back into the contest in the fourth quarter, however, forcing the Buccaneers to hold off a late rally in order to come out with the win.
“It was a little bit of a disappointing finish,” Kowalczyk-Fulmer admitted. “Sophia Wiard finished with 17 points for them, but she had 10 in the fourth quarter. She can weave through traffic when you give her space, and we allowed her to catch the ball too easily and make a move at the top of the key. They are a good team, well-coached, and we definitely got tested tonight.”
Center Esther Byington led the Bucs (3-0) with 14 points, two blocks and four rebounds.
“Esther was effective in the post tonight. Their tallest player was 5-foot-9, so she had an advantage. She finished 7-of-10 from the floor. She got in some foul trouble and fouled out late in the game, but she was focused and played well.”
Autumn Buikema added 10 points and four steals, while Alli Keyser had eight points, 10 assists and four steals and Sophie Mariani added eight points and seven rebounds.
“Anna Strom played a lot of minutes and was strong with the ball tonight, too,” added Kowalczyk-Fulmer. She had five rebounds, and she played smart. Autumn was aggressive on defense and knocked down some shots, Sophie was active in the passing lanes and on the boards and Alli did a great job of facilitating the ball to her teammates. Her shot wasn’t falling for her, so she adjusted and made plays in other ways.”
Junior varsity: Grand Haven defeated Oakridge, 38-31. Olivia Striegle led the Buccaneers with 12 points.
Freshmen: Grand Haven defeated Ottawa Hills, 36-16. Eryn Beecham scored eight points to lead the Bucs, while Olivia Lovett added five.