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Fruitport Calvary prepares to bear down

Tribune Staff • Mar 6, 2018 at 12:48 AM

The Fruitport Calvary Christian girls basketball team has made appearances in the Class D regionals an annual tradition over the past decade, with the Eagles advancing to the round of 32 in six of their last seven seasons.

In fact, this year's trip to the regionals will be the programs' fifth straight.

The Eagles will prepare to take on Bear Lake (17-5) today at Big Rapids Crossroads Academy with tip-off set for 7:30 p.m.

"They've got three really nice guards," said Fruitport Calvary head coach Brad Richards. "They also have two big post players, so we have to make sure we get good position on the boards.

"They shoot a lot of three-pointers, so it'll be important for us to pressure their guards. If we can force them into uncomfortable passing lanes and not let them just swing the ball around the perimeter with ease, I think we should create a lot of problems with our length. "

Yuki Babinec leads the scoring charge for Bear Lake. The playmaking point guard can also dish the ball out to Hayley May along the perimeter. The duo will be the main focus on the Eagles' heading into tonight's showdown.

"Bubinec can do a lot of things for them," added Richards. "She's their playmaker and she basically runs their offense. May is the one we have to keep an eye on at all times. She's probably their best scorer and if she gets into a rhythm, the rest of the team will feed off that.

"We like the way we are playing right now, but anything can happen in the playoffs. We have to come out focused and play with energy. We want to keep this thing going."

If the Eagles are able to keep their season going, they will likely meet top-ranked Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart in the Thursday's regional final. The Irish have knocked the Eagles out of the last four postseasons, and Richards isn't shying away from the potential rematch.

"Human nature is to look ahead to Thursday's potential matchup," he said. "Our players and coaches would love nothing more to have another chance at the team from Mount Pleasant. We know the history there, and they are obviously a very talented team.

"They've made numerous runs to the Breslin Center over the years, and we know that if we can win two games this week, we'll put ourselves in a good position to make it through for the first time.

"At this point in the season, I just told my girls, ‘why not us?' We aren't going to put any pressure on ourselves. We just want to go out there and play basketball."

SCOUTING REPORT

Bear Lake Lakers (17-5)

• Last regional appearance: 2013

• 12-2 in West Michigan D League

• Won 10 of last 12 games

• Defeated Mesik (35-21) and Brethren (37-31) in districts

• Key Players: PG Yuki Babinec, SG Hayley May

TRIB PREDICTION: Fruitport Calvary Christian 65, Bear Lake 47

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