Defense has long been a trademark of the Grand Haven varsity boys basketball team.
But a new wrinkle — a bit more pressure from the get-go — has jump-started the Bucs over the past week.
After using that pressure defense to record a stunning come-from-behind victory at Rockford last Friday, the Bucs raced out to a quick lead against visiting Grandville on Friday and never looked back, cruising to a 54-41 victory.
“This was a good win,” Bucs’ coach Steve Hewitt said. “We did a lot of good things, even though the shots weren’t falling early.
“The pressure, we’ve been working on it. It’s something we haven’t done much early in games. The last time we played Grandville, we didn’t pressure them nearly as much. We’ve been extending it out quite a bit more.”
The Bucs raced out to a 15-5 lead at the end of the first quarter, with four different players scoring. Ethan Groothuis buried a 3-pointer and had five first-quarter points while Ty VanWieren and Sean Steffel each scored four.
Steffel finished with a team-high 13 points to go with four assists and four steals. VanWieren also had 13 points and pulled down five rebounds to go with five assists.
Mac Carter had one of his most effective offensive games of his senior season, scoring 10 points. He made some great cuts to flash open inside, and his teammates found him for several open looks in the paint.
“In the second half especially, the kids did a very good job making the extra pass, and a good job finding people,” Hewitt said. “Mac got it in the paint a few times. We had 16 assists, and any time you’re in double figures, that’s a good thing.”
Late in the game, Hewitt had the luxury of clearing his bench, and junior guard Chad Mattson drew some cheers from his teammates as he scored on a strong coast-to-coast drive for a layup.
Grand Haven will look to make it three in a row when they take on West Ottawa on Tuesday.