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Five things to watch this week

Tribune Staff • Feb 19, 2019 at 12:54 AM

Conference races will be decided this week as the winter prep season comes to a dramatic close. On the line are titles for the Spring Lake boys swim team, the Spring Lake ski team and the Grand Haven girls basketball team.

With the final league competition on the slopes and in the pool this week, and a pivotal rematch with East Kentwood coming Friday for the Grand Haven girls, there is plenty high-stakes prep action to enjoy this week. Don’t miss these five events.

Final Grand Haven, Spring Lake skiing conference race

WHEN: Today, 4:30 p.m.

WHERE: Cannonsburg Ski Area

Today marks the final opportunity to check out Grand Haven and Spring Lake skiers close to home, as they take on their last Greater Grand Rapids Area Ski Conference competition.

The meet is a rescheduled competition, coming between the regional and state finals.

Last week, the Lakers secured a team bid to the state finals with a third-place finish at the regional finals. Colby Brown, Aidan Parker, Charlie Parker, Griffin Phares, Jonah Willhelm and Jack Lauinger finished behind East Grand Rapids and Grand Rapids Christian to earn a spot at the Division 2 state finals at Boyne Mountain on Feb. 25.

The Bucs will send two skiers to the state championships at Schuss Mountain on Feb. 25, as Michel Bosgraaf and Jack Hardebeck made the cut. Bosgraaf will compete in the giant slalom and slalom, while Hardebeck will take on the giant slalom.

With one final conference race to tune up their turns, local state-bound skiers will be going for it all today, while the non-qualifiers will give their final run of the season a little extra push.

SL boys basketball senior night

WHEN: Friday, 6 p.m.

WHERE: Spring Lake High School

The Spring Lake boys basketball team will celebrate their seniors Friday night as they host league-leading Grand Rapids Catholic Central.

Sam Negen, Noah Verlinde, Kyle Wiersma, Zach Foster and Tristian VanDerHeide will be honored as outgoing seniors after tremendous contributions to the Laker program in recent years.

Spring Lake will be chasing an upset victory, as the Cougars bring the O-K Blue Conference’s best record to the Lakeshore. In their previous meeting, the Lakers were run off the court in an 81-54 loss.

The Spring Lake girls will also add some additional programming to the O-K Blue doubleheader as they celebrate Parent Appreciation Night in the nightcap game, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Grand Haven vs. East Kentwood girls hoops

WHEN: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: East Kentwood

The best hoops action of the week will come on the road Friday as the Grand Haven girls are scheduled to travel to East Kentwood for a battle atop a complicated O-K Red Conference.

The Bucs have just two losses on the season so far, both coming in conference play to West Ottawa and Rockford. The Falcons sit even with Grand Haven in second place with losses to the Bucs and Rockford. Finally, the Rams wait in first place with their only conference loss coming to East Kentwood.

The Rams lie waiting for Grand Haven in their final conference game of the season, with two additional conference games against Hudsonville (4-4 O-K Red) left on the Rockford schedule. That matchup on Feb. 26 could even the Bucs and Rams with two losses atop the schedule, earning Grand Haven a share of the title, but only if they take care of business Friday at East Kentwood.

In their last meeting, the Bucs put on an impressive 78-55 beat down of the Falcons on Jan. 25.

GH, SL swim conference championships 

WHEN: Prelims – Friday, 12 p.m. Finals – Saturday, 12 p.m.

WHERE: O-K Red – East Kentwood High School. O-K Greater Grand Rapids – East Grand Rapids High School

Local swim and dive teams have officially hit the postseason as they gear up for their respective conference championship meets Friday and Saturday.

The Bucs will take on the O-K Red Championship meet at East Kentwood, shooting to finish as a top-three team.

The Lakers will face the O-K Greater Grand Rapids Swim Conference at East Grand Rapids High School, looking to usurp the Pioneers as league champions.

Both meets feature deep competition from a plethora of talented teams. The O-K Red will test the Bucs against five of last year’s top-20 teams from the Division 1 state finals, including runner-up West Ottawa. The Lakers will face off with their best competition for the Division 3 state title as 2018 runner-up EGR hosts the meet. Last year’s Division 1 fourth-place finisher Forest Hills will also line up against the Lakers.

Preliminary swims Friday feature swims from every athlete, while the top-16 times in each event will return Saturday to swim for points.

The Bucs took home a fourth-place finish at last year’s meet behind West Ottawa, Rockford and Hudsonville. The Lakers finished in third behind Forest Hills and East Grand Rapids.

GH bowling regionals

WHEN: Team – Friday, 10 a.m. Individual - Saturday, 10 a.m.

WHERE: Fairlanes Bowling, Jenison

The Grand Haven bowling teams have been rolling in 2019, both excelling in conference play. This weekend brings the individual and team regional tournaments with the Bucs playing in Division 1, region 1.

O-K Red Conference opponents serve as the stiffest competition for both the boys and girls teams as Caledonia and Hudsonville return as team 2018 state tournament qualifiers.

The Bucs feature one state tournament veteran as Colin Prokopec hopes to make a return trip to the individual finals after qualifying last year as a freshman. He would go on to finish 45th overall.

Last year, the boys team fell just one place short of qualifying with a fourth-place team finish behind champion Caledonia, runner-up Jenison and third-place Hudsonville. On the girls’ side, Grand Haven finished eighth while the same trio finished atop the standings to advance.

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