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Johnson, Lakers quiet former teammates

Nate Thompson • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:58 AM

Spring Lake senior forward Austin Johnson provided a glimpse of the animosity felt between a few Spring Lake and Grand Haven’s varsity basketball players on Friday following the Lakers’ 50-42 victory at Spring Lake High School.

The win snapped Spring Lake’s five-year losing streak to Grand Haven since the rivalry was renewed in 2007.

“It means a lot for this team, because we’ve had so many people leave our basketball program.”

Johnson was referencing Grand Haven guards Ethan Groothuis and Sean Steffel, who both previously attended Spring Lake, but transferred to the school across the bridge following their freshman seasons.

They both played vital roles in the Bucs’ 63-43 victory over the Lakers last season, but were on the other end on Friday, despite Steffel’s 16 points.

“They go over there and think they’re hot (stuff),” Johnson said. “They’re talking (trash) on the court and saying stuff like ‘Oh, you’re not that good or whatever. I mean, I feel we have more talent at every level. We won tonight without Erik Johnson (who was out sick). With him, we would have beat them even worse.”

Johnson, who entered Friday’s game averaging 26 points per game, was held to 16 by the Bucs on Friday.

Both Steffel and Groothuis received some scorn from the Lakers’ student section, which chanted “traitors” during their free throw or shot attempts.

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