3 Questions: Can Bucs contend in O-K Red Conference?
Jul 21, 2015 at 11:53 AM
1. The Buccaneers graduated four of their top five scorers from last year’s team. Where will the offensive production come from this year?
The Bucs will certainly miss three-year varsity performer Alex Eidson, who led the team in scoring (17.5 points per game), rebounding (5.5 rpg) and steals (1.7 apg) last year. Also gone are Jeremy Lattig (8.5 ppg), Danny Cotter (5.2) and Matt Kroll (4.0). The leading scorer coming back is point guard Sean Steffel, who averaged 5.9 points and 3.1 assists per game. He’ll have to pick up his scoring this season, as will senior shooting guard Ethan Groothuis, who shot 30 percent from 3-point range and averaged 3.7 points a year ago. Ty VanWieren, a senior forward, picked up his game as the season went on and will be leaned on heavily this winter as well. As far as newcomers, look for sophomore Noah Lein — the leading scorer on the freshman team last year — to chip in with some production.
2. Grand Haven doesn’t have a player standing over 6-foot-3 on its roster. How will the Bucs stack up against taller teams?
Grand Haven gets a look at some serious size as early as Friday night, when the Bucs host Mona Shores and 7-foot center Adam Rayner. The Bucs may not have any one player who towers above the rest, but with five players — Connor Grimes, Lein, Ryan Peterson, VanWieren and Jon Cahalan — all standing 6-3, Grand Haven does have some size to throw at teams. Plus, this is nothing new — the Bucs’ tallest player a year ago was also 6-3, and that team ended up winning 14 games, including three in the district tournament and another in the regionals.
3. How will the Buccaneers stack up against the competition in the O-K Red Conference?
The league changed drastically this year, with Muskegon and Jenison bowing out, leaving six teams: Grand Haven, Rockford, East Kentwood, Grandville, Hudsonville and West Ottawa. Rockford is the obvious favorite, with several key players back from last year’s team that advanced all the way to the Class A state finals. East Kentwood also looks loaded, making the Falcons the leading the candidate to challenge the Rams. With that kind of competition, it looks to be a tall order for a young team like the Bucs — with just one full-time starter returning — to compete for a top spot. Still, the Bucs proved last year that they can never be counted out when they traveled north in the regional tournament and beat state-ranked Petoskey. The Bucs should be solid on defense, and if their offense comes around, they should contend for a spot in the top third of the league standings.