The Lakers hosted Coopersville for an O-K Blue Conference tilt Friday night, falling to the Broncos by a final score of 53-39.
After falling behind 11-2 from the jump, Spring Lake was able to rally back into the game with strong post play for a 14-11 first-break deficit. Scoring halted in the second as the Broncos won the quarter 20-7 for a 34-18 halftime lead.
In the second half, Spring Lake’s post players struggled to find the hoop, while their jump shooters got hot. They would outscore Coopersville 9-6 in the third, briefly closing the gap to single digits, 42-33, early in the fourth. The Broncos locked in down the stretch, though, closing out the game on a 6-2 run to seal the victory.
“Our second quarters have killed us this year,” said Spring Lake head coach Cavin Mohrhardt. “That second quarter was just terrible, and it decided the game. We lost by 14 and that was a 13-point swing. I am proud of the girls for how they responded in the second half. All nine girls came out and said, ‘Let’s do it,’ and we were able to close the gap to eight. We played much better in that second half, which is all I can ask for.”
Jenna Core led the Lakers with 13 points and 10 rebounds; while Madeline Zenas added with 11 points and 14 rebounds; and Jennifer Judge scored 9 points on three 3-pointers.
The lethal second quarter was part Bronco dominance and part Spring Lake mixups. With Madeline Zenas on the bench in foul trouble for most of the quarter, the Lakers struggled to find their way on the court offensively and defensively. That, combined with Coopersville’s accurate shooting, made points hard to come by.
“Having Madeline on the bench for that stretch hurt us,” Mohrhardt said. “We just weren’t making shots and they were making theirs. The other thing we didn’t do well in that quarter was transition. That is our game. We were mixed up a little bit defensively and they were making their shots, finding some back-doors, and it is a lot harder to get the ball out of the basket and run than off the rebound.”
Bright spots came in spurts for the Lakers. After falling being 11-2 to start the game, six straight transition points, finishing with Zenas at the hoop, swung the game back in their favor. Meanwhile, freshman Jennifer Judge continued to show off her shooting stroke, hitting three of the Lakers’ four total 3-pointers.
Despite the positives, things never lined up Friday.
“Abby and Madeline were great underneath, we just couldn’t make the shots,” Mohrhardt said. “We got down early, we had four or five shots we just missed inside.
“Jennifer continues to hit shots. It makes for a nice double threat. Everyone knows Jenna can shoot and Judge is gaining confidence. I tell them, we have two of the best rebounders in the league, get the shots up.
“We continue to have all the right pieces, we just can’t get them to fit together.”
The loss drops Spring Lake to 6-7 overall and 2-6 in O-K Blue play, putting the league race soundly out of reach, reshaping the teams’ goals.
“Are we going to win the league, probably not,” Mohrhardt said. “So, we have to worry about getting a little bit better every game and focusing on the next thing, which is districts. We came back in the second half tonight and played better, which is what is important now.”
The Lakers are scheduled to return to action Tuesday as they host Comstock Park (8-4, 4-2 O-K Blue) at 7 p.m.