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Grand Haven boys hoops team sinks 11 three-pointers, cruise past Reeths-Puffer

Josh VanDyke • Jan 3, 2018 at 12:03 AM

GRAND HAVEN TWP. — Sometimes maintaining status quo isn't a bad thing.

The Grand Haven boys basketball team didn't need to make any New Year's resolutions heading into 2018.

They entered the new calendar year with a 5-1 record and have been steadily improving on both ends of the court since knocking off Muskegon on Dec. 19.

The Buccaneers didn't need to reinvent themselves or do something drastic — they just needed to continue to do the things that have brought them early season success already.

Grand Haven did just that on Tuesday, as they hosted Reeths-Puffer in the last non-conference contest before O-K Red league play starts Friday.

The Buccaneers knocked down 11 three-pointers and blitzed the Rockets for a 69-43 win.

"We've been playing some pretty good basketball lately," said Grand Haven head coach Greg Immink after the game. "We've played in some pretty tight games already this season. We've gained a lot of experience over the course of our pre-conference schedule, and we feel pretty good with where we are at."

The backcourt tandem of Casey Constant and Malic Love continues to be a strength for the team. On Tuesday, Constant poured in 13 points, including three long-distance bombs, while Love added 12 points, including two from long range.

"Malic has been aggressive on offense and defense lately," Immink said of his senior guard. "He provides us that toughness on defense and that ability to get into the paint on the drive and make shots from deep, too."

Photo Gallery: Grand Haven boys basketball tops Reeths-Puffer

Joining the bomb squad was Bryce Taylor, who knocked down three 3-pointers for nine points, while Dimitrius Neely, Mason Mahacek, and Kellum Bridgeforth each added one 3-pointer.

"We've got a lot of guys on the team that can fill the basket from distance, and we use that to our advantage when we can," added Immink. "Tonight, I think our first five or six baskets were on 3-pointers, so that kind of set the tone for the game."

GAMETRACK

The Buccaneers didn't waste any time launching from deep. As soon as Grand Haven won the tip, Bridgeforth caught the ball and let it fly. The 3-pointer sank and the Buccaneers would go on to knock down a bevy of long-range jumpers to take an 18-12 lead into the second quarter.

The Rockets hung tough with the Buccaneers in the second quarter, thanks to some extra possessions due to offensive rebounds.

At halftime, Grand Haven held on to a 31-22 lead with the visitors from Muskegon starting to believe in themselves a little bit.

That momentum was short-lived, however, as the Buccaneers opened the second half on a 12-0 run. In the process, Reeths-Puffer head coach Lance Johnson burned through three timeouts in an effort to break the momentum.

The effort on defense seemed to be contagious for the Bucs, as every stop and rebound was met with applause from the bench and every turnover created sparked a transition bucket the other way.

"We came out in the second half, and I thought we played with a lot more energy," said Immink. "I thought our defensive intensity made a big difference and then when you shoot the ball well, that makes things look even better."

The Bucs lead Reeths-Puffer 54-32 at the end of the third quarter with the outcome seemingly at hand for the home squad. Grand Haven extended the lead and the playing rotation in the final quarter and cruised to a 69-43 final score at the Grand Haven Fieldhouse.

Freshman guard Kaleb Michelson scored 14 points to lead the Rockets (4-3), while junior guard Jalen Williams and junior forward De'Airrus Ware each added six.

Immink was happy to see his team continue to bring a high-energy attack to the game, despite playing three games in five days.

"We were able to bounce back after a pair of long games over the weekend and still play with high energy. We have a couple guys on the team that say that they just don't get tired," he added. "I don't know how they do it, but they keep doing it.

"Our style of play requires a lot of energy, and I'm proud of these guys for always bringing that to the game. That has allowed us to be successful so far this season."

UP NEXT

Grand Haven opens its O-K Red Conference schedule by hosting East Kentwood on Friday for the program's annual Bucs' Pride Game. The Buccaneer boys will follow the girls varsity game, which starts at 6 p.m.

Freshmen: Grand Haven defeated Reeths-Puffer, 56-18. Eli Nelson scored 11 points, while Logan Miller, Ethan Prins and Gabe Taylor each added six.

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