Grand Haven took control early, grabbing an 11-6 lead through the first quarter. A second-quarter rally by the Scots proved the Caledonia campaign possible, forcing a 22-22 tie at halftime.
A 12-3 run for the Bucs to start the third quarter delayed the rebellion. By the end of the third, Grand Haven led 39-30 before using a 7-0 run to start the fourth to take a commanding 16-point lead.
The Scots battled back in their final home game of the season, deploying a 7-0 run of their own to close the gap to 46-37 with 4:43 left to play. Four made free throws by Casey Constant kept the rally at bay heading into the final minute of play, where the Scots would close the gap to just three points.
A steal and score for the Scots closed the gap to 52-46 with 35 seconds left to play, forcing Grand Haven to hit some free throws. The Bucs would miss both of their attempts on the ensuing possession, giving Caledonia the chance to drop the lead to one possession. A pivotal travel call turned the ball back to the Bucs, triggering an immediate foul on Mason Mahacek, who would hit one of two attempts with 15.5 seconds left.
Caledonia was not done, as they took the next possession the length of the court and nailed a 3-pointer with 8.8 left on the clock for a 53-49 deficit. Adam Strom was then sent back to the line, hitting one of two, to push the lead back to five. Caledonia took the ball the length of the court once again, this time for two points, before sending Drew Sinke to the free throw line. The game’s leading scorer would nail both attempts, putting the game away.
“We were fortunate to come out on top tonight,” said Grand Haven head coach Greg Immink. “Caledonia plays very well at home. They have played the best teams in our league really well at home. We knew we had to play a good game to get the result we wanted tonight, and I’m proud of the game we played.
“We had a really nice push in the third that gave us the cushion we needed for the victory there. They made a run at the end and tightened the game right back up, but our free-throw shooting was solid. We made 21 throughout the game.
“We rebounded well. They made some shots from the outside tonight, but when they missed, we came out with the rebounds more often.”
Sinke led all scorers with 19 points, including five 3-pointers. Constant followed on the score sheet with 12, including six points in the fourth quarter. Strom and Bryce Taylor each scored six, followed by Mahacek with five.
“Drew made several key shots for us throughout the game,” Immink said. “He hit a couple of threes early to get us going and in the second half, our guys did a better job finding him for open shots. I give credit to our team for having good offensive focus as the game went on.”
The win provides a well-timed momentum boost as the Bucs’ prepare for their regular-season finale at East Kentwood on Friday before taking on Muskegon in the opening round of the district tournament Monday.
“This week is a lot of about building some momentum, and tonight was big,” Immink said. “Friday at East Kentwood is kind of a game for second place in the league, you might say. Then, we build into the district tournament next week.
“We’re looking forward to Friday for a long bus ride to play a good team on the road.”
Tuesday’s win improves Grand Haven’s record to 12-7 overall and 7-4 in conference play. Tip-off Friday is scheduled for 6 p.m.