But in the end, it came down to making shots — East Kentwood made them with the game on the line, and Grand Haven didn’t, resulting in a hard-fought 54-49 victory for the visiting Falcons.
“I felt like we did a lot of good things. We just didn’t do enough to win,” said Bucs’ coach Steve Hewitt, whose team was much more competitive against the Falcons on Friday than when the two teams met back on Jan. 17 — a 51-32 East Kentwood victory.
“They hit some big shots, and we missed some big shots, and they made more free throws than we did.”
The game was close throughout, with the Buccaneers leading by a point, 28-27, midway through the third quarter.
But East Kentwood used its deadly outside shooting to build a small lead going into the fourth, then sharp-shooting guard Jeffery Drake-Todd buried a triple to open the fourth, giving his team a 38-31 lead.
That set the stage for an entertaining fourth quarter, as the Buccaneers attempted to claw their way back into the game.
The uphill climb proved to be too steep. Every time the Bucs would gain some ground, East Kentwood would answer with a big bucket.
“They have some good players who made some good plays,” said Grand Haven senior Isaak Newhouse, who scored a career-high 14 points, including nine in the fourth quarter on several aggressive takes to the basket.
The Bucs’ best chance to get back into the game came with 50 seconds remaining.
Read more of this story in today's print edition or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.