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Grand Haven boys hoops team surges past Petoskey with second-half rally

Josh VanDyke • Dec 30, 2017 at 1:34 AM

GRAND HAVEN TWP. — The Grand Haven boys basketball team huddled together during a timeout early on in the third quarter.

The Buccaneers saw visiting Petoskey knock down back-to-back 3-pointers to take a 27-20 lead and look poised to impose their will on the host.

During the timeout, Grand Haven head coach Greg Immink implored his squad to find some energy and play with some passion. The end result was a full-court press that changed the trajectory of the game and helped the Buccaneers play at the fast-paced, break-neck speed that they are comfortable living in.

After the timeout, Grand Haven outscored Petoskey 36-12 and pulled away for their fourth win of the season with a 56-39 win in the first round of the Lakeshore Cup at the Grand Haven Fieldhouse.

"We didn't change much during that timeout. The big change didn't come from the coaches, it came from the players and that was the energy level," Immink said after the game. "The amount of energy that our guys expended in those third and fourth quarters was a lot, but it was worth it, especially when you win.

"We were able to push the tempo in the second half, and that is the style of play we are accustomed to playing. In the first half, we got stuck in too many half-court sets and with their length and size and it made things difficult to get anything going.

"Our defensive pressure in the second half was huge. That helped create some easy offense in transition. You add that in with Bryce (Taylor) knocking down some big shots, and we were able to pull away, but it all started with us bringing more energy to the game."

Taylor scored 14 points to lead Grand Haven (4-1), while Kellum Bridgeforth and Owen Ross each added 11.

"He shot the ball really well tonight," Immink said of Taylor. "His ability to stretch the floor is very important for us. I think more importantly than just knocking down shots, he's always made a lot of good decisions with the basketball. He's been very effective with the drive-and-kick this season, and he did that a few times tonight, too. It was another big game for him and I thought he stepped up for us in that second half."

Seth Mann scored 15 points to lead Petoskey, while Jake Lee added nine.

"Petoskey is a good team. They were undefeated heading into this game," Immink added. "They've got a lot of length, they are physical, and they can knock down shots. It was a challenge at certain points tonight, but we were able to do some things that loosened things up and that got us better looks at the basket."

Immink was happy to see his team battle for rebounds with a team featuring an entire starting lineup of players reaching 6-4 or taller.

"We held our own against them on the boards, especially on defense," he added. "They didn't have a lot of offensive rebounds or extra possessions. We held them to one shot and that's a big reason why we were able to hold them to 39 points.

"Owen (Ross) had some nice moves on the block tonight, and a lot of our younger post players are getting more and more comfortable the more they play. Petoskey was a good challenge for them, and I thought we never backed down for that challenge."

UP NEXT

In the opening game, Traverse City West defeated Muskegon Heights, 54-51. Miigwaanhs Barrientoz, who scored 35 points in the game, led the Titans.

Now, the Buccaneers hope to cool him off prior to their 3 p.m. game today at the Grand Haven Fieldhouse.

"He had all 18 of their points in the second quarter, and he's a great player for them," Immink added. "He can shoot it from anywhere. I believe he made seven 3-pointers in their regional final game against Saginaw last year. He's a Vinnie Johnson-type scorer — when he gets hot, he can go for a whole bunch. He will be a big focus for us on defense tomorrow."

The tournament picks up at noon with the Petoskey and Muskegon Heights junior varsity teams playing at the Fieldhouse, followed by the Petoskey and Muskegon Heights varsity squads battling at 1:30 p.m.

The Grand Haven junior varsity team hosts Traverse City West in the Auxiliary gym at 1:30 p.m., while the Buccaneers varsity team caps off the tournament, as they host the Titans at 3 p.m.

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