A triple-double by Abby Cole was enough to secure a fourth straight O-K Red Conference championship for the Buccaneers’ girls basketball team.
Cole, the Bucs’ 6-foot-5 senior center, finished with 11 points, 12 rebounds and 13 blocked shots as Grand Haven improved to 19-0 on the season with a 38-27 victory over the host Panthers of West Ottawa.
Grand Haven is now 9-0 in O-K Red play and holds a two-game lead over second-place Rockford with just one game remaining.
“We’re outright champions, which is one goal that we accomplished, but we have several more that we want to accomplish,” said Bucs’ coach Katie Kowalczyk-Fulmer, who has guided her program to a 72-2 record over the past three years. “I told the girls, it’s tough to win a conference championship, but it’s even tougher to win a district, because you have to win three games in five days.”
The Bucs open Class A district play on Monday as they host Reeths-Puffer.
First, they’ll try to wrap up a perfect regular season at Hudsonville on Friday. They’ll have to win that game without Cole, who will be in Colorado Springs, Colo., trying out for the USA Volleyball Junior National team.
“It’ll be challenging, but it will be a good challenge for us to win without Abby,” Kowalczyk-Fulmer said.
On Wednesday, the Bucs raced to a 16-4 lead after one quarter of play, then substituted liberally throughout the remainder of the game.
Senior Hannah Wilkerson gave Grand Haven a boost with 10 points and four rebounds, while Taylor Craymer ripped down 10 rebounds and swiped four steals.
Amanda Merz had a nice outing with three assists and five rebounds for the Bucs.