Winning games hasn’t been an issue for the Grand Haven varsity girls basketball game.
In fact, they’ve won 36 straight, dating back to early last season.
But just winning isn’t enough for coach Katie Kowalczyk-Fulmer’s team, which is now 13-0 on the season after Tuesday’s uninspired 46-39 vitory over West Ottawa.
The Buccaneers (4-0 O-K Red) led by 16 points in the first half and held a 15-point advantage midway through the final quarter, but could never pull away against an opportunistic West Ottawa (6-6, 1-3 O-K Red) team that did just enough on offense to hang around.
“We had a great second quarter, outscored them 17-4, and we felt pretty good about that coming into halftime up 29-14,” Kowalczyk-Fulmer said. “We were hoping to build on that in the third quarter, but credit West Ottawa. They’re a scrappy team. They scrapped right back into it. They hit some big shots.”
West Ottawa’s Taylor Dean scored eight of her 10 points in the third quarter, knocking down a pair of 3-pointers in the process, to help the Panthers trim the Bucs’ lead down to 11, 37-26.
In the fourth, the Bucs looked poised to finally pull away. First, junior forward Taylor Craymer slashed through traffic and scored at the basket for a 41-28 lead. Moments later, the Bucs showed off the fantastic ball movement that they’re capable of at times, swinging the ball around before hitting a cutting Hannah Wilkerson for a layup and a 43-28 lead.
Instead of protecting that lead, however, the Bucs got sloppy down the stretch, throwing the ball away several times and giving up several offensive rebounds, allowing the Panthers to claw back into the game.
The Panthers Molly Bergman had a big night, scoring a team-high 15 points, including six in the fourth quarter alone. Mikayla Martinie added four of her six points in the fourth to help the Panthers keep things close down the stretch.
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