5 Things to Watch this Week

Josh VanDyke • Jan 30, 2017 at 7:30 AM

As many winter sports are hitting the halfway point in their conference schedules, some teams have positioned themselves as contenders, others have fallen out of the race, and others are battling to stay in the hunt.

There are plenty of conference battles on the schedule this week that could go a long way in determining the final standings when the dust settles on the winter sports season.

Here are just a handful of events you won’t want to miss this week.

Spring Lake swimming vs. Jenison

When: Tuesday, 6 p.m.

Where: Spring Lake Aquatic Center

After spending the last few weeks on the road, the Spring Lake swimming and diving team gets a chance to swim in its own pool Tuesday as they host Jenison.

The Lakers, who are ranked No. 6 in Division 3 according to the Michigan Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association, are coming off a strong showing at the Hudsonville Invitational on Saturday.

Cam Peel finished second in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 21.94 seconds, and was also a member of the 400 freestyle relay team with Kevin Losee, Charlie Slajus and Joey Watchter that finished third in their event with a time of 3 minutes, 18.84 seconds.

After battling against mostly Division 1 teams at Saturday’s invitational, the Lakers will test themselves against a bigger school once again when the Wildcats visit.

Grand Haven bowling vs. Hudsonville

When: Wednesday, 3:30 p.m.

Where: Starlite Lanes 

The Grand Haven boys and girls bowling teams will know where they stand in the O-K Red Conference following Wednesday’s battle with Hudsonville. The two programs are widely believed to be the contenders in the race for the conference crown.

The Haven boys have struggled to open up matches this season, continually falling behind in Baker games, but bouncing back to win matches with their strong regular game performances. They’ll need a complete game from everyone in their lineup to keep pace with a strong Hudsonville squad.

On the girls side, the Buccaneer girls just recently returned to full strength, and will be looking to measure up to quality competition and continue to show rapid improvement as both individual bowlers and as a unit.

Grand Haven wrestling vs. Grandville

When: Wednesday, 6 p.m.

Where: Grand Haven High School

The Grand Haven wrestling team continues its trek through the daunting O-K Red Conference as they host No. 6 Grandville on Wednesday night.

The Buccaneers currently have two wrestlers ranked in the top 10 of their respective weight classes according to MichiganGrappler.com. Junior Daniel Guillen is ranked No. 8 in his 130-pound division, while senior Drake Morley holds a No. 10 ranking at his 189-pound division.

The Bulldogs boast four wrestlers in the top 10 of their weight classes with freshman Anthonie Taylor (125), senior Kam Bush (152), senior Sam Greco (171) and Ryan Vasbinder (189). Bush and Vasbinder are currently the top-ranked wrestlers in their respective weight classes.

Grand Haven will be tested by one of the best teams in the state. Their response could go a long way in determining the conference race and could serve as a possible regional preview if both squads see early success in the Division 1 districts.

Grand Haven/Spring Lake hockey vs. GR West Catholic

When: Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Lakeshore Sports Centre

The Grand Haven/Spring Lake co-op hockey team broke a 3-game losing skid with a rout of the Grand Rapids Flames on Saturday, 12-0.

The Buccaneers hope to start a winning streak as they host Tier 3 foe Grand Rapids West Catholic (12-5, 5-3 Tier 3). In their only other meeting of the season on Dec. 9, 2016, Grand Haven defeated the Falcons, 3-0.

Alex Franczek leads the Bucs (7-8, 6-3 Tier 3) in points with 24 (12 goals, 12 assists), while Branden Beeler has added 22 points (12 goals, 10 assists).

Mika Byar (72 saves, .900 save percentage) and Finn Bylsma (41 saves, .745 save percentage) have split time in net for Grand Haven with each goaltender making nine appearances between the pipes.

Grand Haven basketball vs. Caledonia

When: Friday, 6 p.m.

Where: Grand Haven High School

The Grand Haven boys and girls varsity basketball programs will host their annual Bucs Pride Game on Friday as they host Caledonia.

Both teams will wear purple jerseys and the money collected by admissions and t-shirt sales will be donated to cancer research.

In the opening game of the night, the Haven boys (10-3, 4-2 O-K Red) will try to keep pace with West Ottawa in the conference race as they take on a Caledonia squad that has lost four straight games, three in lopsided fashion.

In the nightcap, the Buccaneer girls will try and separate from the pack and play spoiler against a talented Fighting Scots team (10-3 overall). The Buccaneers currently sit at 8-5 overall and 3-3 in the conference, just two games back of league-leading East Kentwood (5-1).

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