Lakers can't bridge the gap on Bucs

There was some feeling before Tuesday - especially among the Spring Lake faithful - that this might have been the perfect opportunity for the Lakers to end their losing streak to neighboring rival Grand Haven. In the four years since the non-conference rivalry renewed after a lengthy hiatus, the Buccaneers have gone 4-0, with each win coming by double figures.
Nate Thompson
Dec 21, 2011

Before an impressive crowd inside Grand Haven Fieldhouse, complete with a number of returning alumni from both schools, the Buccaneers proved that although the faces may have changed in the spirited showdown, the results are all the same.

Grand Haven opened the contest on a 15-2 run against the visiting Lakers (2-2) and the Buccaneers never relinquished their lead — or their impressive defensive energy — in a 63-43 victory.

It was also the most efficient and sustained offensive showing by the Bucs this season, which helped them improve to 2-2 overall. Grand Haven shot a staggering 58 percent from the floor (25-of-43), by far their best shooting night of the young season.

Bucs’ senior forward Jeremy Latting said a packed house and the sheer significance of the game helped add some pep in the Bucs’ step.

“This is one of our biggest games because of the atmosphere. Everyone comes out, and everyone looks forward to it,” Lattig said, who was the Bucs’ surprising X-factor with 17 points and seven rebounds. “Plus, we have two guys (Sean Steffel and Ethan Groothuis) who used to be on their team.

“I thought we executed offensively really well,” he added. “We hit our shots, unlike the last couple games.”

Steffel and backcourt mate Alex Eidson keyed the Bucs’ hot start and helped Grand Haven easily win the guard matchup against the Lakers. Spring Lake’s starting tandem of Adam Clauss and Michael Zietlow struggled to break down the Bucs’ defense and create off the dribble, which made Grand Haven’s job of defending Lakers’ standout forward Austin Johnson that much easier.

Johnson entered the contest averaging nearly 23 points a game, but managed just 13 Tuesday evening.

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

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