The Bucs led 16-13 at the first break before falling behind 25-18 at halftime and closing the gap to 32-29 heading into the fourth, holding the Eagles well below their scoring average of the season.
Casey Constant and Owen Ross led the Bucs with 10 points apiece, followed by Drew Sinke with eight and Bryce Taylor with seven.
“In general, we played a pretty good game against a team like that on the road,” said Grand Haven head coach Greg Immink. “I thought our guys competed hard, we just were missing some of the details that make the margin of victory.
Grand Haven flew out of the gate, jumping out to a 10-1 lead before the Eagles (14-2, 8-1 O-K Red) found their footing, cutting Grand Haven’s lead to 16-13 at the first break.
As hot as they started in the first, Grand Haven went as cold in the second, as they failed to convert a field goal through the entire period. Two made free throws by Casey Constant were their only points, giving Hudsonville a 25-18 lead at halftime.
Grand Haven wouldn’t hit a shot until the 4:33 mark of the third quarter when Bryce Taylor drove the lane for their first bucket in over 10 minutes of play. Despite the offensive woes, consistent, tough defense by the Bucs kept things within reach.
An inspired effort by the Grand Haven big men in the closing minutes of the third and a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Owen Worthington cut the gap to 32-29 heading into the fourth.
A pair of 3-pointers by Casey Constant and Drew Sinke kept the cause alive as the Hudsonville lead hovered near five points for much of the quarter.
With 1:33 left to play, the Bucs trailed 48-44 and started the foul game, where two big rebounds made the difference for the Eagles. Twice the Bucs fouled and Hudsonville hit the first free throw before missing the second shot, gathering the rebound and converting the putback, spurring them to victory.
“Throughout the game, we played pretty well defensively. Our defense gave us a chance. We looked really good in the first quarter. We shot the ball well and we were able to get out in transition for some easy baskets.
“It became tough for us to score in the second. A lot of that is credit to Hudsonville. They are a top-10 team for a reason. They are tough to score on. They are physical, have good speed, and they are long. That second quarter was really tough.
“We had some chances at the foul line that we didn’t take advantage of, and we got beat up on the glass pretty badly. I think 14 of their 25 points in the first half came off the offensive glass. That was significant.
“We are two weeks from the end now. We have to clean up those details and mistakes in those two weeks.”
The loss drops Grand Haven to 9-7 overall and 4-4 in O-K Red play, good for fourth in the conference. They return to action Tuesday to host Rockford.