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5 Things to Watch this Week

Tribune Staff • Jan 14, 2019 at 6:30 AM

Rivalries and local bragging rights highlight the menu this week, as conference races continue to heat up and teams go out to prove their worth against the best in the area.

On the basketball court, the Grand Haven girls basketball team looks to stay unbeaten against league rival Rockford, while the Spring Lake and Western Michigan Christian basketball programs will compete in an all-day event that showcases the freshmen, junior varsity and varsity squads for both boys and girls programs.

On the wrestling mat, Spring Lake will get an opportunity to host a four-team tournament, as they prepare to take on the rest of their O-K Blue Conference schedule. After hosting their annual Legends Invitational, the Fruitport wrestling program will host the Greater Muskegon Athletic Association city meet this weekend in hopes of proving themselves against the best that the Muskegon area has to offer.

On the ice, the Grand Haven-Spring Lake co-op hockey team looks to rebound after dropping three of their last four contests with a home game Friday night.

Here's a deeper look into each event and what to watch for:

Grand Haven girls basketball vs. Rockford

When: Tuesday, 7 p.m.

Where: Grand Haven Fieldhouse

The Grand Haven girls basketball team is off to its best start since finishing 28-0 and capturing a Class A state championship during the 2012-13 season. The Buccaneers have used stingy defense and balanced scoring to roll their schedule so far, as the squad has kept seven of its eight opponents to less than 40 points.

On the offensive end, senior point Alli Keyser is averaging 21 points a game, while junior shooting guard showcased her abilities with a 21-point against West Ottawa last week. Add in the low-post presence of seniors Kelly Olthof and Esther Byington and the consistent play from starting wing Anna Strom, and you can see why the Buccaneers are considered a title contender come March.

Before they set their sights on a state championship, however, the Buccaneers want to win an O-K Red Conference crown. In order to do that, they'll have to beat the likes of teams such as Rockford, who comes to the Grand Haven Fieldhouse on Tuesday.

Last season, the Rams handed Grand Haven one of their worst losses of the season in a 55-37 rout on the road. The Buccaneers responded with a 33-31 a month later at home.

A win Tuesday night would give Grand Haven a 3-0 start to league play and a winning streak over their rivals from Rockford. A Jan. 22 home against East Kentwood (6-2, 2-0 O-K Red) will have a huge impact on the conference race, but in order for that matchup to matter, the Bucs will need to take care of business against the Rams.

Spring Lake wrestling jamboree

When: Wednesday, 5:30 p.m.

Where: Spring Lake High School

The Spring Lake wrestling program will host only its second event this season, as Grand Rapids West Catholic, Muskegon and Kenowa Hills visit for a four-team double dual meet.

The Lakers will also host their conference tournament Feb. 2, but Wednesday's meet will be an important step for a young Lakers' squad in preparation for the postseason. The team is coming off a strong showing at the 43rd annual Sparta Invitational.

Jack Parker finished runner-up at 103 lbs. to lead the Lakers, while Max Montgomery finished in fifth place in the same division. Also picking up wins for Spring Lake were: Collin Hatch (112 lbs.); Jamie Holt (125 lbs.); Tristyn Ball (130 lbs.); Nick Giddings (160 lbs.); Nate Derose (189 lbs.) and Jared Zielinski (285 lbs.).

Grand Haven-Spring Lake Hockey vs. Hudsonville

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Lakeshore Sports Centre

The Grand Haven-Spring Lake co-op hockey team is looking forward to a much-needed home game this weekend, as they host division foe Hudsonville (10-4, 2-2 Fischer) on Friday.

The Buccaneers are coming off a tough trip Up North last weekend, that saw the squad drop games to Marquette (7-3) and Davison (9-1). With a road game against Kenowa Hills-Fruitport (1-9) before Friday night's conference clash, the Bucs could put together a win streak in time for their showdown with Jenison (12-4, 3-2 Fischer) on Jan. 25.

At 6-8 overall and 3-1 in league play, the young Bucs are still fighting to find some consistent offensive production, but with 10 games left in the regular season, the squad still has plenty of time to grow.

Back-to-back wins this week could be just what the doctor ordered.

Spring Lake-WMC Basketball Marathon

When: Saturday

Where: Spring Lake High School

The Spring Lake and Western Michigan Christian girls basketball teams will meet Saturday for their annual basketball showcase, which will feature freshmen, junior varsity and varsity games for both boys and girls programs.

The action tips off at 12:30 p.m. with the boys' freshmen teams and concludes with a 6:45 p.m. tip-off between the girls' varsity squads.

The Spring Lake and Western Michigan Christian boys varsity teams are both dealing with some growing pains so far this season, as the Lakers stand at 3-6 overall and the Warriors are 4-5. Both squads are in desperate need of a win, and Saturday night could be a turning point for the winner.

On the girls' side, the Warriors are undefeated (8-0) with six of their eight wins coming by more than 20 points. The Spring Lake girls are 3-4, as they continue to find some consistency. After an impressive road win over Reeths-Puffer before the holiday break, the Lakers have lost three straight O-K Blue Conference games and will be hungry to turn the tide at home Saturday night.

GMAA Wrestling Meet

When: Saturday, 9 a.m.

Where: Fruitport High School

The best wrestling programs in the Muskegon area will meet under the same roof this weekend, as the Fruitport Trojans host the Greater Muskegon Athletic Association city tournament. The Trojans are beginning to fill out their lineup with quality grapplers, as Crue Cooper (171 lbs.) and Mason Brown (112 lbs.) continue to have strong starts to their season.

At last weekend's Legends Tournament, Cooper and Brown, along with Zech Richardson (152 lbs.) and Trever Wahr (103 lbs.) took top honors in their respective weight classes. Dominic Dault (135 lbs.), David Ross (145 lbs.), Brennen Martin (103 lbs.) and Evan Ludlow (125 lbs.) each finished runners-up in their weight classes, while Jayme Woodring (215 lbs.) and Wes Illuim (285 lbs.) both finished third.

With teams like Whitehall, Holton, Montague and Reeths-Puffer coming to visit, the Trojans will once again look to measure up to the competition and build toward a potential postseason run come February.

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