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5 things to watch this week

Tribune Staff • Jan 9, 2018 at 12:29 AM

After a jam-packed first week of conference matchups, local hoops teams will look to hold serve or bounce back in the second batch of games. Meanwhile, invitational season is in full swing for local wrestling and the Drawbridge Classic hits the pool for a depth vs. speed matchup.

SL hoops vs. Sparta

Where: Spring Lake High School

When: Today, 7 p.m.

Week two of the conference basketball season kicks off with a bang at Spring Lake High School as the Lakers look to bounce back from a 80-39 shellacking by Catholic Central on Friday.

The boys’ quest for an O-K Blue title was similarly sidetracked last season with an opening-weekend loss to the Cougars and was pushed back on course with a sound defeat of the Spartans. This year’s Sparta squad seems to have leveled up, as they ride a three-game winning streak into Tuesday’s matchup with high-scoring wins over Fremont (56-41), Belding (74-19) and Grant (50-45).

Spring Lake is 1-0 in bounce-back games so far this season, putting together a comprehensive victory over Wayland following their first loss of the season to Forest Hills Central at the Cornerstone Christmas Showcase.

The Laker girls will hit the road Tuesday to take on a Sparta team that finished next-to-last in the conference a year ago, and is on pace to do the same in 2018.

After Catholic Central’s sweep of the Lakers, the girls also need a win Tuesday, regardless of opponent, to keep pace with the conference leaders.

GH vs. SL  swim and dive

Where: Grand Haven Aquatic Center

When: Today, 6 p.m.

Tuesday’s rivalry matchup between the Spring Lake and Grand Haven swim and dive teams is sure to be a classic, with a small team of speedy Lakers taking on a legion of Grand Haven athletes in the ultimate test of speed versus depth.

In their most recent outings, the Bucs finished third at the Rockford Invitational, just 15 points behind the hosts and 90 behind perennial powerhouse Saline. Jenison rounded out the contest in last place.

Spring Lake most recently finished runner-up at their own invitational, losing out to Northview. One week prior, they finished runner-up to Jenison at the Wildcat Invitational, establishing a trend for the team.

The Lakers routinely have the three most impressive swims wherever they compete, but have trouble backing it up with a limited roster. Meanwhile, Grant Ruster, Jordan DeVries and the Bucs’ top group have rounded into form, with 40 more eager bodies fighting to break into the varsity heats.

Holland Christian serves as their only common dual-meet opponent this year. Grand Haven fell to the Maroons in their first contest of the season, 108.5-72.5, while Spring Lake faired similarly, losing 106-72.

WMC girls hoops vs. Fruitport Calvary Christian

Where: Western Michigan Christian High School

When: Today, 7 p.m.

The Western Michigan Christian girls basketball team gets to play big dog Tuesday as they welcome Class D Fruitport Calvary Christian for a rivalry matchup.

This year’s edition features a bit of a roll reversal, as the Warriors carry in a near-perfect 6-1 record and a five-game winning streak. The Eagles dropped the first two games of their season before rounding into typical dominant form.

The Warriors’ lone loss game on Dec. 5 to Calvin Christian by a slim three points, while FCC fell to Muskegon Heights and Mason County Central to start the season.

In last year’s matchup, the Eagles took their third-straight victory in the series 63-58.

GH hoops vs. West Ottawa

Where: Grand Haven Fieldhouse

When: Girls varsity 6 pm., boys varsity 7:30 p.m.

Friday night brings yet another pair of O-K Red Conference contenders to the Grand Haven Fieldhouse to battle the Bucs. The West Ottawa boys come in defending their conference title with four of five returning starters, while the girls arrive boasting a much-improved 5-1 record thus far.

The Panther boys took a wake-up loss to Godwin Heights in their season opener, and have been on a tear since — defeating four straight opponents by an average of 23 points. The defending champs came into Grand Haven in with the same record last year, finishing their season 23-2 in the regional finals.

It took the Bucs extra time to finish off East Kentwood last week, but don’t count them out against the champs, Grand Haven has proven they can play with just about anyone so far.

On the girls’ side, the Panthers rolled through their first five games of the season, winning each by no less than 16 points and a maximum of 41. Hudsonville got the best of them in their first game of the conference season Friday, by a final score of 67-60, a far cry from last year’s 47-34 loss.

After a final-minute loss to defending champion East Kentwood last week, the Bucs will be keen to get back in the winning column come Friday.

Fruitport Legends Invitational

Where: Fruitport High School

When: 9 a.m.

The Fruitport wrestling team is scheduled to host their sixth annual Fruitport Legends Invitational on Saturday, bringing premiere local grappling competition to Fruitport High School to honor the rich history of Trojan wrestling.

O-K Red powerhouses Grandville and Rockford highlight the guest list, along with local flair from Muskegon Catholic, an ex-Lakes-Eight rival in Ludington and stalwart competition from Hamilton, Kelloggsville, Thornapple-Kellogg and Watervliet.

With Zach Sykes leading the way as a returning state qualifier and a few other quickly rising stars on the squad, watch for Fruitport to perform well at home this weekend in front of a crowd of esteemed alumni.

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