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Late holiday gift eludes Bucs

Nate Thompson • Jul 21, 2015 at 12:00 PM

Even gutting through tired legs from playing back-to-back nights, Westland John Glenn had enough spring in its step to shoot down Grand Haven.

The Rockets connected on six second-half 3-pointers to give them a comfortable advantage against Grand Haven, but the Bucs’ inspired fourth-quarter comeback came up one key shot short of making things a lot more interesting.

Grand Haven rallied back from nine points down in the fourth quarter and were tied with the Rockets at 36-all with 1 minute remaining. But the Bucs couldn’t hold onto the lead and guard Sean Steffel’s pull-up jumper from 3-point land at the buzzer clanked the front rim, giving John Glenn a hard-fought 41-38 victory at the Muskegon Area Sports Hall of Fame Meijer Basketball Classic at Reeths-Puffer High School.

The Rockets defeated Muskegon in the opening night of the 11th annual holiday tournament on Thursday, 54-53, thanks to a clutch 3-pointer by Dre Black with four seconds remaining.

They faced a much different style in regards to Grand Haven, who ate away big chunks of clock with their slow-it-down offensive sets.

“Their style is similar to many of the teams we see in our league,” said John Glenn coach Dan Young, whose squad improves to 5-1. “They’re deliberate, hard to guard, they space it out and shoot it.

“It’s very hard to play twice in a row. High school kids aren’t used to going back to back. So this was as good and as impressive of a win as yesterday was.”

The Rockets and Bucs were locked in an offensive struggle at the half, with John Glenn clutching a 16-14 lead. The two squads combined for just six total points in the second quarter.

“We turned the ball over too much and we missed too many easy shots,” said Grand Haven coach Steve Hewitt. “I thought we had some good looks in the first half. We need to convert those.”

Grand Haven finished 15-of-37 from the floor, but could never get going from long range, connecting on just 1-of-8 from beyond the 3-point line.

To read more of this story, see today's print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.


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