Grand Haven’s varsity girls basketball team received a nice late Christmas present from center Abby Cole.
The 6-foot-5 senior took full advantage of her height advantage against a guard-dominated lineup from Lansing Waverly on Thursday by scoring a career-high 28 points in the Bucs’ 48-36 victory against the Warriors at Portland High School.
The win keeps the Bucs unbeaten this season at 8-0, while Waverly falls to 3-5.
“(Waverly) really didn’t have an answer for her,” said Grand Haven coach Katie Kowalczyk-Fulmer. “They didn’t have a lot of size and our girls did a great job of getting (Cole) the ball down low.”
The Bucs nearly led from start to finish, but Waverly kept close due to its strong outside shooting led by point guard Victoria Milton, who scored 14 points. No other Warriors’ player had more than four, however.
“They were pretty patient and ran a lot of sets for (Milton),” Kowalczyk-Fulmer said. “We had a seven-point lead in the fourth and the kids kind of played keep away so they couldn’t get any more opportunities to creep any closer.”
Grand Haven’s Taylor Craymer made some pressure-packed free throws in the fourth quarter to preserve the Bucs’ lead. She scored seven points and grabbed a team-best 10 rebounds.
Cole had 12 blocked shots for the Bucs, while Amanda Merz and Hannah Wilkerson each had four assists. Merz, the Bucs’ point guard, also six points and five rebounds.
Kowalczyk-Fulmer also credited Courtney Springer and Wilkerson for playing tough defense on the 5-6 Milton, who is capable of scoring in bunches.
Kowalczyk-Fulmer said she feels fortunate that her team pulled out a tough road win against a quality program, despite the fact they didn’t have their best shooting night. Grand Haven connected on just 1-of-10 from beyond the 3-point line and hit 38 percent of their total shots.
“It’s been a long break for us and I think some of the girls had some Christmas cookie legs,” she joked.
Grand Haven will have an even lengthier break now, as the Bucs don’t return to the court until Jan. 11.
Junior Varsity: Grand Haven improved to 5-3 with a convincing 46-20 win over Lansing Waverly on Thursday. Every Buccanners’ player scored in the win. Hanna Rinkeicz pulled down 16 rebounds for the Bucs, while Katelyn Meser had five points and five rebounds. Amanda Flaquer added four points, four rebounds and four steals.