Sparta's 1-2 punch poses a challenge for SL

Lakers hope to take advantage of mismatch with Austin Johnson
Nate Thompson
Mar 11, 2013

Spring Lake and Fremont don’t see eye-to-eye often in athletic competition, but when it comes to helping out a fellow conference member advance in the postseason, the fierce rivalry is put aside.

Thanks to provided game tapes and scouting reports from both Fremont and fellow Lakes Eight Conference school Grant, Spring Lake has a much clearer picture of its Class B regional semifinal opponent in Sparta. The Lakers (21-2) and Spartans (17-5) will tangle tonight at Fremont High School, with the opening tip set for 5 p.m.

Big Rapids and Alma will square off in the second regional semifinal, with the winners advancing to Wednesday’s final at 7 p.m.

The Spartans defeated Grant in the district semifinals on Wednesday, 65-49, then squeaked past Fremont in Friday’s district championship, 61-59. Both games were played at another Lakes Eight school, Tri-County, which taped both contests.

Spring Lake Bill Core was able to see firsthand on tape what Lakes Eight coaches have been telling him — the Spartans are a two-superstar team.  

“They’re both being recruited by Division 2-type schools,” Core said.

Point guard Jared Bradford is a lightening quick 5-foot-9 point guard, who specializes in stroking the 3-point shot. He averages around 22 points a game for a squad that finished runner-up to Comstock Park in the O-K Blue Conference.

“He had 35 (points) against Grant on Wednesday,” Core said. “He’s a great outside shooter and he shoots 90 percent from the free throw line. He’s our No. 1 focus.”

Sparta’s other big threat is 6-8 center Ben Sheckler, who possesses a unique skill set. He averages 16 points a game, and has connected on the second most 3-pointers on the team. He also shoots 90 percent from the free throw line. He burned Fremont with 28 points on Friday.

To read more of this story, see today's print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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