The Buccaneers raced out to a 17-5 first-quarter lead and never looked back, finishing off the Wildcats, 61-34.
“We just came out with a lot of intensity, a lot of focus,” said Bucs’ senior Danny Cotter, who poured in a career-high 20 points. Cotter scored six points in each of the first two quarters as the Bucs led 30-11 at halftime, then added eight more points in the third quarter as Grand Haven’s lead grew to 30 points.
“We had a lot of support from the crowd,” Cotter added. “They really picked us up.”
The Bucs also benefited from a tremendous defensive effort. They held Jenison’s Eric Evans — who came in averaging 23 points per game — to just nine points, five of which came at the free throw line.
“I was thrilled with our start,” said Bucs’ coach Steve Hewitt, whose team is now 6-5 overall and 4-3 in O-K Red play. “They’re a team that can score, and our defense really got us going, getting consecutive stops. That’s how you build a lead.
“Matt (Kroll) and Jeremy (Lattig) were a tag-team on Evans, and they did a great job. Then they tried to go to (Luke) Diekevers, who’s also a very good player, and Alex (Eidson) did a good job on him.”
Diekevers finished with just five points as no Wildcat scored in double figures.
The Buccaneers featured tremendous offensive balance. All 12 players scored, including Lattig, Kroll and Sean Steffel, who each had six points. Eidson, the team’s leading scorer on the season, scored just five points.
“I give a lot of credit to Alex and his willingness to sacrifice his scoring for the team,” Hewitt said. “We’re so much better when Alex is setting up his teammates and getting a lot of assists.”
Eidson finished with five assists and four rebounds for the Bucs. Ty VanWieren had seven rebounds and four points, while Steffel dished off four assists. Cotter and Ethan Groothuis each had three assists for the Bucs, who had 19 helpers on the night.
VanWieren helped the Buccaneers pull away early as he scored on a nice post move for a 17-5 lead at the end of the first quarter. He then drove and dumped the ball off to Kroll for a bucket and a 24-9 lead early in the second quarter.
The Bucs’ lead continued to grow and reached 30 points when Groothuis penetrated and dished off to Max Young for a layup and a 58-28 advantage.
Cotter surprised even himself by knocking down a few long jumpers in addition to getting several good looks closer to the rim.
“That definitely wasn’t expected,” he said of his scoring outburst. “That’s a tribute to my teammates. They gave me good looks and I was able to make them.”
Grand Haven hosts East Kentwood on Tuesday as they begin the second half of the league season. The Falcons beat the Buccaneers earlier in the year.
“We weren’t ready for that style at that time,” Cotter said. “Now we’ve played through the O-K Red and faced tough teams like Muskegon and Rockford, who put a lot of pressure on you.
“This is our first win streak of the season, and we’re looking to keep it going.”