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5 Things to Watch this Week

Tribune Staff • Feb 20, 2018 at 12:30 AM

The winter season is entering the final stretch, with some sports wrapping up their regular seasons and other sports already preparing for their respective state finals events.

March Madness is right around the corner for the local basketball squads, but first, the programs will celebrate their senior performers and final home games of the season. Local swim teams will take on their respective conference meets, while hockey clubs will fight to finish their conference schedules in style and possibly take home a league championship.

Here’s a look at a few events that will be worth the price of admission this week:

Grand Haven boys basketball vs. Grandville

When: Today, 7 p.m.

Where: Grand Haven Fieldhouse

The Grand Haven boys basketball team will host Senior Night tonight in a second-place battle in the daunting O-K Red Conference.

It will be the final regular season home game for five Grand Haven performers: Malic Love, Dimitrius Neely, Tucker Beland, Kellum Bridgeforth and Charlie Brown.

The Grandville Bulldogs (10-6, 6-4 O-K Red) enter tonight’s showdown one game ahead of the Buccaneers in the standings, but a loss to the Bucs would put the two squads in a tie for second place behind conference champion West Ottawa with one more league game on the schedule.

The Bulldogs defeated Grand Haven at home on Jan. 23 by a score of 72-66, but enter tonight’s game on a two-game losing streak. The Buccaneers snapped their three-game losing streak with a 38-35 win over Rockford on Friday, and appear to have their mojo back.

It’ll be an emotional night between two conference contenders with bragging rights hanging in the balance.

Spring Lake girls basketball vs.GR West Catholic

When: Today, 7 p.m.

Where: Spring Lake High School

The Spring Lake girls basketball team will also be celebrating Senior Night tonight, as they host Grand Rapids West Catholic in their final contest of the regular season.

Seniors Madelyn Nelson, Linsey Paggeot, Rebekah VanDeWeg and Kayli Sneller will be honored before the game as they step onto the court to cap off their home schedule.

The Lakers will be looking to snap a two-game losing streak after heartbreaking losses to Coopersville (37-34) and Comstock Park (57-52 in overtime). The team maintained a seven-game winning streak prior to last week’s losses and will be looking to create some positive energy before next week’s district tournament starts.

Grand Haven boys swim hosts O-K Red Conference meet

When: Thursday-Saturday

Where: Grand Haven Aquatic Center

The Grand Haven boys swim team will get the opportunity to enjoy some home-pool advantages this week, as they prepare to host the O-K Red Conference meet this weekend.

The top-ranked West Ottawa Panthers will be the heavy favorites to take home the team title, but don’t be surprised if a few Buccaneers are battling for top spots in individual and relay events.

Senior Grant Ruster will lead the charge for the host Buccaneers, headlining the 200-yard freestyle and the 100 butterfly events, as well as the 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams.

Grand Haven along with Rockford and Hudsonville enter the event as honorable mention squads in the latest Michigan Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association (MISCA) rankings, making the O-K Red Conference once again one of the most competitive across Michigan.

WMC boys basketball team vs. Ludington

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Western Michigan Christian High School

After a 3-3 start to the regular season, not many people outside of the Western Michigan Christian boys basketball program would have predicted they would be playing for a conference championship in their final league game of the regular season.

The Warriors (9-7, 7-2 Lakes Eight) currently sit one game back of first-place Ludington (11-5, 8-1 Lakes Eight) as the two teams prepare to compete for league supremacy Friday night at Western Michigan Christian High School.

In their first meeting of the season, the Warriors defeated the Orioles 48-41 on Jan. 19 in a surprising road victory that has propelled the squad to a 7-2 mark in Lakes Eight play.

However, WMC will have to shake off a surprising loss to Orchard View (7-9, 3-6 Lakes Eight) on Friday, and will look to do exactly that with a non-conference road matchup with Grand River Prep (8-5) tonight.

Grand Haven-Spring Lake hockey vs. Jenison

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Lakeshore Sports Centre

The Grand Haven-Spring Lake co-op hockey team enters a critical week in their schedule with only two games remaining and a logjam atop the O-K Tier 3 conference.

The Buccaneers (9-8-3, 5-1-2 Tier 3) are currently in a three-way tie in the standings with Jenison (16-5-1, 6-2 Tier 3) and Hudsonville (10-14, 6-3 Tier 3), with all three squads tallying 12 points in conference play.

A win over Grand Rapids West Catholic (14-7-2, 3-4-1) on Wednesday paired with a win over Jenison on Friday would likely clinch at least a share of the league championship for the Buccaneers and vault them into Tier 2 next season.

Grand Haven is coming off a 5-4 overtime loss to Northview on Friday but should enter this final stretch with confidence, having defeated Jenison (6-2) on Dec. 1, 2017, and tying Grand Rapids West Catholic (2-2) on Jan 5.

After scoring a combined 11 goals the last two contests, the Buccaneers appear to be supercharged and ready to light a few lamps in the next five days.

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