Five things to watch this week

Duncan MacLean • Feb 6, 2017 at 12:05 AM

With the winter sports season reaching its final chapter, local teams are fighting for standing to finish off their regular seasons.

Basketball conference races are bubbling over, swimmers are finding their speed and wrestlers are grappling for a shot at postseason glory.

With so much action this week, no contest is insignificant. Here are the five prep happenings coming up that you don’t want to miss.

Grand Haven hoops vs. East Kentwood

When: Tuesday, 7 p.m.

Where: Girls: Grand Haven High School, boys: East Kentwood High School

Both the Grand Haven basketball squads sit within striking distance of their O-K Red Conference leaders.

The girls will battle the first-place Falcons to continue their second-half march through the O-K Red. After losing to Caledonia early in the season, the Bucs defeated the Fighting Scots with authority in their rematch last week.

The Grand Haven girls team will look to continue their success and rise to the top of the conference in their second conference run-through. The next step is toppling the tower. The Bucs fell to East Kentwood on Jan.10, 45-59.

The boys are looking up at West Ottawa from second place in the O-K Red, with the Falcons holding the three-spot. Grand Haven takes on East Kentwood on Tuesday hoping to hold off the hungry Falcons and maintain conference clinching potential.

Spring Lake basketball vs. Grand Rapids Catholic Central

When: Wednesday, 7 p.m.

Where: Girls: Grand Rapids Catholic Central main campus, boys: Spring Lake High School

The Cougars control their own fate sitting at the top of both the girls and boys O-K Blue Conference standings. Both Laker teams are looking to overtake Catholic Central before the season is out, and that process starts on Wednesday.

Reiko Johnson and the Lakers girls basketball team will head to Catholic Central’s main campus gym with the mission to dethrone the first-place Cougars, who sit undefeated in the conference.

Spring Lake is the only remaining threat to a wire-to-wire conference championship for Catholic Central; they sit just one win behind the Cougars.

The Spring Lake boys basketball team has a bit more complicated road to toppling Catholic Central. The Lakers are currently tied with Allendale and Coopersville for second place in the conference, all two wins behind Catholic.

Cam Ball and his squad must defeat Catholic Central on Wednesday and hope either Allendale or Coopersville can do the same later in the season in order to sniff a conference crown.

GH swim and dive senior night vs. East Kentwood

When: Thursday, 6 p.m.

Where: Grand Haven Aquatic Center

The buoyant Bucs will join their peers from the hardwood in taking on the Falcons this week, celebrating the careers of five senior swimmers in the process.

The final O-K Red dual meet of the season marks the Bucs’ last chance for an elusive conference win, the Bucs have yet to win an O-K Red dual meet this season.

The meet also serves as the last chance to pick up state-qualifying cuts before the conference championship meet later this month. Those without a cut at the end of Thursday night will likely need to taper, shave and don a high-tech racing suit at the O-K Red championship weekend in a final effort to make it into the big dance.

The five seniors, Josh Boehnke, Kolton Epplett, Sam Hankinson, Sawyer Hamm and Tom Stock, will be honored and celebrated by head coach Doug Thorne in a ceremony following the meet.

Spring Lake, Fruitport wrestling team districts

When: Wednesday, 6 p.m.

Where: Fruitport High School

The Fruitport wrestling team set out this season with a mission to avenge an injury plagued 2015-16 campaign. Spring Lake’s wrestling program was looking to make some noise in their first year in the O-K Blue.

Both teams will meet at Fruitport to square off for a district championship and a bid to team regionals.

Spring Lake will take on Coopersville, while Fruitport will grapple with Grand Rapids Kenowa Hills.

The Lakers fell to Coopersville soundly during the regular season, 24-54, on Jan. 18.

The Trojans will look to continue their comeback season with a district title. They defeated Kenowa Hills, 58-21, on Dec. 21.

Grand Haven wrestling team districts

When: Thursday, 6 p.m.

Where: West Ottawa High School

The Buccaneer wrestling squad is no stranger to success; they will head to West Ottawa High School to take on the hosting Panthers in pursuit of their 17th district title in the past 19 seasons.

With a slew of wrestlers in their lineup capable of strong postseason appearances in their own right, the Bucs will look to wipe the matt with the Panthers.

In their last meeting, Grand Haven topped West Ottawa, 55-17. The Panthers managed just three wins. They secured one technical fall, one pin and one forfeit.

After a run through districts, local wrestling squads will have a chance to compete at team regionals for a shot to see action at the state tournament. Between now and the big dance, individual district and regional competitions will be held as well.

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