“That felt good,” Steffel said with a laugh. “It means a lot. I know everybody up in that student section. This is a big game to play against my old school. This was my first time playing against them.”
Steffel and teammate Ethan Groothuis, both Buccaneers’ juniors, began their careers at Spring Lake. Both transferred to Grand Haven following their freshman year, and both were thrilled to take on their former teammates on Tuesday night.
“I know all of them, and it’s fun to play with them and against them, too,” said Groothuis, who came off the bench to score nine points. His 3-pointer late in the game gave the Bucs a commanding 59-40 lead.
“I’ve been preparing for this game mentally. It’s good to finally play the game,” Groothuis said.
Steffel also had a strong game, scoring 13 points, including his 3-pointer in front of his former classmates and several aggressive drives to the basket.
The performance by Groothuis and Steffel wasn’t lost on the rest of the Buccaneers.
“Definitely, it’s one of our biggest games because of the atmosphere,” the Bucs’ Jeremy Lattig said. “Everyone comes out, and everyone looks forward to it. Plus, we have two guys who used to be on their team. It was really special for them, really special that we could get this win.”
The Spring Lake student section disagreed. At one point, following a bucket by Steffel, they chanted, “He’s a traitor!”
Lattig shrugged off the opposing fans’ jeers.
“We don’t care. We’ve got them now, and that’s a good thing for us,” Lattig said with a smile.