Grand Haven’s varsity girls basketball team opens its season on Thursday night with a home game against Traverse City West, followed by a home date with Traverse City Central on Friday.
The following are three questions the Bucs will have to answer as they attempt to defend their Class A state title for the second consecutive year.
1. Gone is all-everything Abby Cole, who guided the team to an 81-2 record and two state championships in her three years on the varsity team. Can the Bucs be competitive without Cole on the court?
In a word, yes. Grand Haven returns enough talent to be a very competitive team, especially against teams across West Michigan. Taylor Craymer is a 6-1 senior who can play any position on the court. She can knock down the 3, handle the point guard duties and post up inside. She’ll be a nightmare for opposing teams. In addition, point guard Amanda Merz is back, along with part-time starter Mallory Beswick at the other guard spot. They’ll make life miserable on opposing guards with their in-your-face defense. Throw in plenty of other talented players, and the Bucs are good enough to be considered favorites in the O-K Red Conference.
Are they good enough to win on a bigger stage? That remains to be seen. Remember, the Buccaneers weren’t expected to be a dominant team last year. They had lost a majority of their talent from the 2011-12 state championship team. Nobody expected a 28-0 season and another state championship.
Read the rest of this story in today's print edition or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.