Grand Haven didn’t need any more motivation coming into this week’s Class A girls basketball district tournament, but the Buccaneers suddenly have much more to play for.
Hanna Rinkevicz, a sophomore forward for the Bucs, is suffering from complications from a severe bout with the flu and had to be admitted to DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids.
Her teammates rallied around her on Monday, throttling Grand Rapids Union in the opening round of the district tournament at Reeths-Puffer, 68-49 in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score would indicate.
“It was quite a shock to find out about Hanna,” said Bucs’ senior captain Mallory Beswick, who knocked down a pair of 3-pointers and finished with eight points. “It was very emotional for all of us. We all love basketball, but Hanna’s health is way more important than anything.”
Each member of the team bore the initials HR and a heart on the back of their socks and on their wrists.
Beswick said that, instead of it being a distraction, playing for their ailing teammate served as a big motivator for the Bucs.
“To be honest, playing for Hanna was huge,” Beswick said. “We wanted to make a statement, to make her proud.”
It was Bucs’ senior forward Taylor Craymer who made the biggest statement. She torched the nets to the tune of 25 points, despite playing just a few minutes of the second half. Craymer, who knocked down a season-high seven 3-pointers, had 11 points in the first quarter and matched her previous career high of 20 by halftime.
“I had a shooters’ mentality,” said Craymer, who also led the Bucs with eight rebounds to go with five assists and five steals. “I just kept shooting. I had a positive mindset, and I love playing against a zone.”
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