Column: Trojans bringing basketball to the forefront at Fruitport

Matt DeYoung • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:24 AM

The Trojans are one of the most storied volleyball programs in this state over the past decade. They won state championships in 2005, 2010 and 2011, and were runners-up in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2008.

Girls basketball, on the other hand, has been nothing to get excited about at Fruitport for years. That’s all changing, according to senior Amber Carmean.

“We improved our record from 12 wins last year to 14 this year,” said Carmean, a key player on both the volleyball and the basketball courts for the Trojans. “We called it building a new tradition. We’re known for our volleyball. We want to make a name for ourselves in basketball, too.”

The Trojans did just that this past winter, overcoming a tremendous amount of adversity to put together the best season the school has seen in years.

Fruitport reached 14 wins despite playing without two of its top players for most of the season.

Senior Bre Geile, a first-team all-stater on the volleyball court, hurt her knee during the Trojans’ season-opener and missed the remainder of the year.

Classmate Lauren Hazekamp, also an all-stater in volleyball who was well on her way to earning the same honor in basketball, broke her foot seven games into this season. She didn’t make it back on to the court until Saturday’s re-scheduled game at Newaygo, then shined in Monday’s district win over rival Spring Lake.

“We had 14 wins this year when maybe our second-best player plays one game, then misses the next 21, Bre, and then Lauren breaks her foot,” coach Bob German said following Wednesday’s season-ending loss to Oakridge. “For us to win 14 games, it’s a tribute to the other girls stepping up.”

Carmean is one of those girls who elevated her game following the Trojans’ rash of injuries. So was senior Mallory Vest, who said the Trojans bonded together in support of their injured teammates.

“It made me so proud that we could all come together,” Vest said. “Bre getting hurt was hard enough, then Lauren got hurt and it was 400 times worse.

“That’s what brought our team really together. We bonded together when we had all those injuries.”

Carmean said that the Trojans’ regular season was special, but its win over rival Spring Lake on Monday was pure icing on the cake.

“That was a great win,” Carmean said. “Spring Lake is a well-balanced team. We really came out ready to go.”

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