When Grand Haven forward Ryan Peterson returned after missing the first four games of the Bucs' season with a broken hand, he knew exactly what head coach Steve Hewitt wanted out of him when he stepped back onto the court: Play tough, physical defense and pick his spots to contribute offensively off the bench.
The 6-foot-3 senior did just what was asked of him against visiting Forest Hills Northern on Tuesday at Grand Haven Fieldhouse, as he battled tough in the post on defense and scored two key fourth-quarter buckets to keep the Huskies in the doghouse.
With their 46-35 non-conference victory, the Bucs (5-3 overall) not only avenged a loss to the Huskies from last season, but gained more momentum heading into a showdown at rival Muskegon on Friday.
Grand Haven's win was keyed by defense, as the Bucs held the Huskies to 23 points below their season scoring average. Northern (4-4 overall) played without one of its top scorers in guard Michael McLaughlin, who was out with an ankle injury.
The rest of his teammates couldn't pick up the slack, as Grand Haven forced the Huskies into 18 turnovers – most coming in the first half.
“Coach scouted them pretty well, so we knew all of their sets and basically what was coming,” Peterson said. “We played really good team defense. We helped each other out really well.”
Grand Haven limited the Huskies to just nine points at the half, yet the Bucs weren't able to put the game out of reach due to their own struggles taking care of the ball, and led by only eight.
“We didn't handle the ball well, we didn't finish well, we just didn't look sharp,” Hewitt said. “Yeah, their pressure played a role, but a lot of times, we were just rushing it and made wrong decisions.”
Bucs' senior guard Sean Steffel continued his torrid scoring streak, as he led the Bucs with 20 points — 12 of which came in the first half.
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