After taking a sharp elbow to the hand during practice Thursday night, Spring Lake freshman point guard Reiko Johnson wasn’t sure if she’d be available for Friday night’s showdown with rival Fruitport.
X-rays Friday morning were negative, and Johnson got word that she was cleared to play later in the day.
The 5-foot-2 freshman jitterbug took advantage.
Johnson scored 11 points to go with four rebounds, three assists and three steals, helping Spring Lake hand Fruitport its first Lakes Eight Conference loss of the year, 36-29.
“I didn’t realize how big the Fruitport-Spring Lake rivalry was,” said Johnson, who moved to Spring Lake from North Muskegon.
While her 11 points were big, Johnson’s ball handling against Fruitport’s pressure defense was even bigger. The Trojans, who pride themselves on getting hands on opposing teams’ passes, had just two steals on the night.
“If we can get out of her way, she can handle most of those things against the press,” said Lakers’ coach Rich Hyde, whose team improves to 4-5 overall and 3-2 in league play.
Both teams struggled shooting the ball Friday night, especially from long range. The Lakers were just 2-of-16 from beyond the arc, but when they needed one the most, Emily VanWingen stepped up and answered the call. The junior guard banked in a 3-pointer that tied the game at 24-all with 6:40 remaining.
The Lakers then took the lead on a steal by Johnson, which led to a strong layup under pressure by fellow freshman Olivia Grimmer.
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