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Grand Haven girls roll past Bulldogs

Duncan MacLean • Feb 16, 2019 at 12:15 AM

GRAND HAVEN TWP. — The Grand Haven girls basketball team was in high spirits Friday as they celebrated Parent Appreciation Night with a 52-26 victory over Grandville.

The win was wire-to-wire, as newly minted all-time leading scorer Alli Keyser picked up the game’s first points with a drive to the hoop and Tatum Davis finished the game bringing a steal from midcourt for an and-1 bucket.

The Bucs led 9-0 through the first quarter and 24-11 at halftime before pulling away for a 42-19 lead heading into the fourth.

Keyser led with 10 points to go with five assists, followed by Kelly Olfthof with 10 points, Jolee Houle with nine, Esther Byington with seven and a team-high five rebounds and three steals, Olivia McMullen with six points, Mackenzie Gross with four, and Anna Strom and Davis with two apiece.

“It was a good team win,” said Grand Haven head coach Katie Kowalczyk-Fulmer. “I was really happy with some of the things I saw. We have such an unselfish team. We got big contributions from Olivia McMullen and Mackenzie Gross off the bench. Dhalia Jerosvek always comes in and plays good defense.

“I thought we came out a little stagnant offensively in the first quarter, so credit to Grandville’s defense for that. I thought we played pretty well defensively most of the night. We got to work on our man a little bit more and that was good. So, all in all, a good win. On to the next one.”

For all their success, Grand Haven struggled from the free-throw line, finishing 6-of-14 from the charity stripe, well below their season average of 70 percent.

Grandville stayed in the game in the second quarter with precise three-point shooting, knocking down two in the period and four total.

“They hit a few threes, yes. We knew they had some shooters, that’s why we worked on our man,” Kowalczyk-Fulmer said. “They are going to hit some. There were a couple times we switched on the screen and someone got left open. Not a ton to worry about.”

The pair of second-quarter threes, plus a trip to the free-throw line, closed the gap to 16-8 after the Bucs’ shutout opening frame, marking the closest the Bulldogs came all night.

Byington responded with a strong and-1 conversion, followed by a Houle 3-pointer to get things moving into halftime.

Keyser kicked off the second half with a coast-to-coast and-1 bucket before showing off her quarterback skills with a long-range heave to Olthof under the basket on the next transition to solidify the Bucs’ second-half dominance.

Friday’s victory and extra programming came as a relief moment for the Bucs after a tough loss at Rockford Wednesday night in double overtime. The girls will enjoy a well-earned weekend of rest before taking on the final stretch of conference games next week with a Tuesday-night matchup against Caledonia and road meeting with East Kentwood on Friday.

“I think the kids are a little tired,” Kowalczyk-Fulmer said. “It was nice to close out the week with the win. Our parents are so supportive; it is one of those nights we like to celebrate.

“We’ve got Senior Night on Tuesday against Caledonia and a huge road game Friday at East Kentwood, so we have a lot to prepare for, still.”

The Bucs head into the stretch 14-2 overall and 7-2 in conference, with losses to Rockford and West Ottawa.

Junior varsity: Grand Haven defeated Grandville, 49-32. Zoe Spoelman and Caydee Constant each scored 10 points to lead the Bucs. The squad improves to 10-4 overall and 5-4 in the O-K Red.

Freshmen: Rockford defeated Grand Haven on Wednesday night, 39-35. Claire Stevens led the Bucs with 10 points, while Sammi Campbell and Grace Montgomery each added six points.

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