Gritty, not pretty

Grand Haven girls hold on to beat Muskegon, remain unbeaten
Matt DeYoung
Jan 12, 2013

 

It’s been more than 12 months since the Grand Haven varsity girls basketball team has lost a game.

The Buccaneers weren’t about to let that streak come to an end against a gritty Muskegon team on Friday.

To see more photos from Friday's game, click here.

Grand Haven (9-0) led by just a single point, 37-36, early in the fourth quarter, but outscored the Big Reds 22-8 over the game’s final six minutes to win, 59-44.

“To be honest, I’m pretty confident in our team, and I was never really worried,” said Buccaneers’ senior Hannah Wilkerson, who provided a much-needed offensive lift for her team with 18 points. “They were good. They were fast. They got their hands on a lot of passes. We just came out and played with more urgency down the stretch.”

Grand Haven hadn’t played since Dec. 28, a span of 15 days. That rust was extremely evident on Friday, especially in the first half, when the Bucs shot just 12 percent from the floor. They trailed 9-4 early on following a 3-pointer by Muskegon’s Keiarra Guy, but battled back to lead 13-11 at the end of the first quarter thanks to a pair of buckets by backup guard Mallory Beswick.

In the second quarter, it was point guard Amanda Merz who gave the Bucs a boost, scoring her team’s only two buckets of the quarter as Grand Haven scrapped its way to a 21-18 halftime lead.

Muskegon hung around all night thanks to a tremendous defensive effort. The Bucs tried to pound the ball inside to 6-foot-5 center Abby Cole, and Cole struggled tremendously from the floor, making just 2-of-13 shots. Still, thanks to six made free throws, she finished with a triple-double: 10 points to go along with 18 rebounds and 13 blocked shots. She also had a team-high five assists.

“Muskegon is a good team,” said Grand Haven coach Katie Kowalczyk-Fulmer. “We were a little rusty. We had a great week of practice, but you can’t re-enact that speed in practice. They’re faster than us at every position.

“This was good for us. This is a team we’ll probably see in the district finals. It’s nice to play against them, because we haven’t seen this type of team yet.

“It wasn’t a great game, but we’d feel a lot worse if we had lost.”

 

Read more of this story in today's print edition or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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