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5 Things to Watch this Week

Tribune Staff • Jan 22, 2019 at 1:15 AM

Frigid air might have brought a chill across the Lakeshore, but the prep sports scene is just starting to heat up, as conference races tighten and postseason visions become clearer.

The Grand Haven and Spring Lake ski teams will hit the slopes tonight, as they take on another conference competition, while the Grand Haven boys swim team will host East Kentwood in hopes of keeping pace in their league race.

The Grand Haven and Western Michigan Christian basketball programs will host important conference doubleheaders Friday, as the Buccaneers look to clip the Falcons of East Kentwood and the Warriors hope to best their Lakes Eight Conference rivals from Muskegon Catholic Central for their Homecoming night.

Capping off the week is a rivalry on the ice, as the Grand Haven-Spring Lake co-op hockey team takes on West Ottawa on Saturday night.

Here's a deeper look at this week's events:

Grand Haven-Spring Lake ski at conference meet

When: Today, 4:30 p.m.

Where: Cannonsburg Ski Area

The Grand Haven-Holland Black River and Spring Lake boys and girls ski teams are coming off a strong performance last weekend at Cannonsburg, and the Buccaneers and Lakers hope to carry that momentum into another conference competition today.

The Buccaneers and Lakers brought home a combined 10 medals out of 24 division champions during last weekend's Slalom Championships.

Spring Lake's Aidan Parker took first place for the freshmen boys division and also posted the second fastest combined time among all competitors, while Grand Haven-Black River's Duncan Elmer took first place for the sophomore boys.

The Bucs swept the junior boys division with Jack Hardebeck taking first, Mitchel Bosgraaf taking second and Ryan Tongue taking third.

Grand Haven-Black River's Kate Kendall took second place among the freshmen girls and Eden Nykamp took third place among the sophomores.

The Lakers were led by Erin Burke and Sidney Thompson, who brought home second and third place, respectively, for the juniors. Grand Haven-Black River's Sarah Walker took third place for the senior girls.

Grand Haven boys swim vs. East Kentwood

When: Thursday, 6 p.m.

Where: Grand Haven Aquatic Center

The Grand Haven boys swim and dive team will host East Kentwood on Thursday, a week after picking up a big rivalry win over Rockford.

The Buccaneers have found their groove in the lanes as of late, as swimmers such as Eli Vandenbrand (200 freestyle, 100 freestyle), Michael MacDonald (200 freestyle, 500 freestyle) and Mark Wilgenburg (50 freestyle, 100 butterfly) continue to pick up key wins to help the team scoring.

Other performers such as Thomas MacDonald, Collin Kelley, Griffin Kelly, Carter Brown and Louis Mallot (diving) have helped provide quality depth to the lineup and push the Buccaneers into a contender this winter.

A win Thursday would help the squad continue to roll in preparation for the conference tournament, where the team will likely add a few more state qualifiers to the mix.

Grand Haven basketball doubleheader vs. East Kentwood

When: Friday, 6 and 7:30 p.m.

Where: Grand Haven Fieldhouse

The Grand Haven boys and girls basketball teams are both fighting for O-K Red Conference glory this winter, as the Buccaneers remain in the top half of the league standings midway through the season.

After a matchup with Caledonia on Tuesday, both Grand Haven squads will return home to host East Kentwood on Friday. On the boys' side, the Falcons (6-5, 2-2 O-K Red) sit just behind the Buccaneers (7-3, 2-1 O-K Red) in the league race. Grand Haven is coming off a wild 52-43 comeback road win over Grandville, while East Kentwood is coming off a narrow loss to league-leading Rockford (55-51).

On the girls' side, the Buccaneers remain undefeated at 9-0 and entered the first installment of the Associated Press poll at No. 2 overall in Division 1. They will look to stay perfect this week, as they travel to Caledonia (1-8, 0-4 O-K Red) on Tuesday and then prepare for a critical league showdown with defending O-K Red Conference champion East Kentwood (8-2, 4-0 O-K Red) on Friday.

A win against the Falcons would put the Buccaneer girls in a great position to capture their first league title since 2013, the same year the team won a Division 1 state championship.

WMC basketball doubleheader vs. Muskegon Catholic

When: Friday, 6 and 7:30 p.m.

Where: Western Michigan Christian High School

The Western Michigan Christian boys and girls basketball teams will host Muskegon Catholic Central on Friday, as the Warriors celebrate Homecoming night.

The WMC boys (5-6, 3-2 Lakes Eight) are coming off a difficult road loss to Spring Lake (60-34) on Saturday, but the team will get a chance to redeem themselves against North Muskegon (10-1) on Tuesday, before taking on the Crusaders (6-3, 2-2 Lakes Eight) in a critical league matchup.

On the girls' side, the Warriors suffered their first loss of the season at Spring Lake (39-33) on Saturday but still remain perfect in league play at 5-0. WMC should be able to bounce back against an MCC squad (1-8, 1-3 Lakes Eight) that has struggled so far this season.

A pair of rivalry wins on Homecoming night could be just what the Warriors need to get back on track after non-conference losses last weekend.

Grand Haven-Spring Lake Hockey vs. West Ottawa

When: Saturday, 5 p.m.

Where: Lakeshore Sports Centre

The Grand Haven and Spring Lake co-op hockey team evened its overall record to 8-8 with a narrow 2-1 win over Hudsonville last weekend, and now the squad hopes to pick up two more important wins on their schedule this weekend.

Against Hudsonville, Kyle Eveland and Trevor Kalis each netted one goal and added one assist for the Bucs, while Cooper Fox also added a helper.

The squad will travel to Jenison on Friday (5:30 p.m.) for an important Fischer League matchup at Griff Ice Center, before hosting West Ottawa (8-7, 3-3 Rue Division) for a non-conference rivalry matchup with the Panthers.

The Buccaneers (5-1 Fischer Division) can keep pace with Byron Center (10-0) in the league race with two straight wins this weekend over a pair of local rivals.

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