Spring Lake’s varsity girls basketball team played what head coach Rich Hyde called one of its best halves of the season against visiting Orchard View on Friday at Spring Lake High School.
The Lakers couldn’t put together a full four quarters of excellent play, however, and let a five-point halftime lead slip away in the Cardinals’ 48-36 victory.
The loss sends Spring Lake to 1-8 overall this season, as well 1-2 in Lakes Eight Conference play.
Hyde was encouraged with the opening 16 minutes of action, due to his Spring Lake squad being able to score some easy baskets in transition.
“That’s what’s been missing with our team,” he said. “But we did a great job early of getting some run-outs, which created more opportunities to get more easy baskets.
“But instead of just being up five at the half, we could have easily been up 15,” he added. “We had lots and lots of opportunities (to score) in the first half, but we didn’t convert.”
Spring Lake connected on just 13 of its 46 shots from the floor.
Orchard View, which dressed only seven players, also gave the Lakers fits with its speed and pressure defense throughout, forcing the Lakers into 28 turnovers.
Still, Spring Lake had the momentum in its favor early in the third, until the Lakers hit a dry spell midway through the quarter and the Cardinals’ high-scoring duo of Diamond McGee and Jayshonna Blackshire began to take over. McGee scored 11 of her game-high 24 points in the third quarter, and Blackshire sank four key free throws in the fourth to ice the win. She chipped in with 12 points for OV.
“They got a couple offensive rebounds and we got a little soft with our defense and we let an athletic team outwork us,” Hyde said of the disasterous third quarter, in which the Cardinals held an 18-6 scoring advantage.
Lakers’ senior guard Molly Miedema tried to will her team back in the fourth by scoring five of her team-high 12, but Spring Lake only managed to claw to within eight on a pair of different occasions.
Senior forward Megan VanDeWeg added 10 points for Spring Lake, while fellow senior Jewel Wiersma had six points and 14 rebounds.
Brittany Beeler dished out five assists for the Lakers and Tori Tober swiped three steals.
“I’m happy with the progress our team has made, but this was a tough conference loss,” Hyde said. “Behind Ludington, there’s really a five-team race in the middle of the league and unfortunately, we fell a step back tonight.”