The Western Michigan Christian girls basketball team clinched a share of the River Valley Conference championship on Saturday with a 61-48 win at Tri-Unity Christian.
The Lady Warriors, who suffered their first conference loss to Muskegon Catholic Friday night, share the championship with the Crusaders.
WMC raced out to a 16-11 first quarter lead, upped that advantage to 40-21 at halftime and led 49-39 going into the final quarter.
Senior Rachel Bruinsma made sure that wasn't going to happen. She scored 14 points, grabbed 15 rebounds, blocked five shots and dished off five assists. Vanessa Eekhoff scored 17 points and snared nine rebounds and had four blocks. Sophomore Lindsey Johnson added nine points and Julie Merz had seven points and five assists.
“The first half we pressed quite a bit then got a lot off of that,” WMC coach Mike Henry said. “Rachel scored quite a few off the press. She had 12 points the first half.”
WMC finished the league season at 7-1 and 14-6 overall.
They host Muskegon Heights Monday at 6 p.m. at Warrior gym to open state district tournament action.
Junior Varsity: WMC lost to the Defenders, 44-30. Emilee Pell led the way with nine points for the Lady Warriors while Melanie Weesies and Ellie Gilson chipped with with eight and six respectively.
BOYS FALL TO DEFENDERS
Host Tri-Unity Christian boys won another River Valley championship Saturday with a 58-43 victory over Western Michigan Christian.
The Warriors led 12-10 at the first stop, but the Defenders went up 29-20 at intermission and 40-30 going into the final quarter. The Warriors cut it to a five point margin in the final quarter, but that's as close as they got.
The Defenders used seven 3-pointers and connected on 21 out of 30 from the charity line en route to the win.
Junior Bernard Smith led the Warriors with 16 points while Henry DeKam added nine and Chaise Schuiteman eight.
Saturday's games were a make-up date and the Warriors finish their regular season Thursday at home again facing Tri-Unity.
Junior Varsity: WMC beat the Defenders 52 to 45. James Godwin led the way with a dozen points. Kyle Kingma added eight, Jared Varnado seven and Derrick Holt six.
WARRIORS, CRUSADERS PLAY FOR A CAUSE
Friday was a very special night at the WMC vs. MCC basketball games at Warrior Gym.
Besides varsity games between the schools' girls and boys teams, it was also the final day of a WMC fundraiser for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Association.
In addition, the 2012 WMC boys track team was honored for its second place finish at the state meet last spring.
Various fundraising events were held at WMC during the week. Players from both schools wore special blue and white uniforms to commemorate the occasion. Names of people who have diabetes were on the backs of their jerseys.
Fans had an opportunity to donate to the cause or to purchase special T-shirts at Friday’s game.
At halftime of the boys game, a check of $6,500 was presented to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Association.
The event was coordinated by WMC staffers Amanda Bosscher and Kyle Kempster. Kempster challenged the students and when they met their goal, he allowed them to paint him blue just prior to the games.
The track banner, only the second one for WMC, joins 38 other state championship or state runner-up banners for other sports in the gym. It was presented to the team and then to Jack Wolffis, who hoisted it to a special spot high up in the gym.
Special recognition was given to Don Weesies of Grand Haven and Della Karel of Muskegon who have made most of the 39 state championship banners on display in the gym.