Cole’s comfort zone is under the basket, and that’s where she stayed on Tuesday. The Buccaneers’ 6-foot, 5-inch junior blocked 10 shots as Grand Haven overcame a sluggish offensive performance to beat a strong Holland Christian team, 40-31.
“I primarily stay in the paint,” Cole said. “My job is to not let the ball get past me. No layups. Coach (Katie Kowalczyk-Fulmer) said stay low, no layups. She’d rather have them shoot a 3 than get a layup.”
Cole’s defense also served as a spark to her team’s offense, especially early in the fourth quarter, when the Bucs built a 17-point lead. Cole swatted away a Maroons’ shot, leading to teammate Kaeding Skelton getting to the foul line. Skelton made the first free throw, then missed the second. Cole was there for the put-back and a 37-23 lead.
Moments later, Cole again blocked a Holland Christian shot, and the Bucs pushed the ball ahead to Alex Law, whose 3-pointer gave her team its biggest lead of the game at 40-23.
Grand Haven didn’t score another point the rest of the game, but it didn’t matter. With the way the Bucs defense played, 40 points was plenty.
“Grand Haven’s a great team, and they took us out of what we wanted to do,” said Holland Christian coach Crystal Zick, whose team suffered its first loss of the season. “Abby blocked 10 shots, and she probably altered 10 more.
“Our defense played pretty well. Our goal every game is to hold teams to 40, and we did that.”
Law was the Bucs’ only consistent form of offense. After going scoreless in the first quarter, she hit a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws in the second quarter, then caught fire in the third, scoring all 10 of Grand Haven’s points.
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