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5 Things to Watch this Week

Tribune Staff • Feb 5, 2019 at 2:15 AM

The prep sports calendar was put on ice last week, as an unprecedented streak of inclement weather produced by a polar vortex covered West Michigan with snow, ice and subzero temperatures.

With a friendlier forecast this week, many local teams will be preparing for important league matchups in their pursuit of conference championships. The local wrestling programs are gearing up for team and individual districts this week, as the Grand Haven, Spring Lake and Fruitport squads are looking to bring home some hardware.

Here's a look at five events worth the price of admission this week:

Grand Haven basketball vs. West Ottawa

When: Today, 7 p.m.

Where: Grand Haven and West Ottawa high schools

The Grand Haven and West Ottawa boys and girls basketball teams will take the court today in a pair of critical O-K Red Conference matchups. The boys' game will take place at the Grand Haven Fieldhouse, while the girls will meet at West Ottawa High School.

The Grand Haven boys (8-5, 3-2 O-K Red) are coming off back-to-back heartbreaking losses — an overtime loss to East Kentwood (56-50) and a one-possession loss to Zeeland West (51-48). The Bucs look to bounce back against a West Ottawa squad (5-7, 2-4 O-K Red) that has also dropped a few close games recently. The Panthers, however, are coming off a 45-42 upset win over Rockford on Friday and should have plenty of confidence heading into tonight's game.

In their first meeting, the Bucs used a second-half surge to upend the Panthers on the road for a 45-32 win on Jan. 8.

The No. 2-ranked Grand Haven girls (12-0, 5-0) will travel to West Ottawa (7-4, 2-4 O-K Red) for what should be a tough road test for the undefeated Buccaneers. The Panthers have lost four of their last six matchups since starting the season 5-0, but have the length and athleticism to give the Bucs problems. In their first matchup, Grand Haven managed to pull away late for a 44-30 win at the Grand Haven Fieldhouse on Jan. 8.

Team wrestling districts

When: Wednesday, Thursday

Where: Grand Haven and Fruitport high schools

Teams: Grand Haven and Fruitport

The postseason is officially underway for local wrestling programs across Michigan with both team and individual districts beginning this week.

The first challenge will be team districts Wednesday and Thursday, as squads will test the depth and quality of their lineups against each other to see who comes out on top. Grand Haven and Fruitport will host their team district events, with the Bucs taking on some of their local rivals Thursday, while the Trojans look to play spoiler and knock off O-K Black Conference champion Reeths-Puffer at their meet.

Grand Haven will host Mona Shores (6 p.m.) in the district semifinals, with the winner taking on West Ottawa or Hudsonville in the district finals at 7:30 p.m. The Bucs will be gunning for their sixth straight team district title and have the depth and experience to do just that.

Fruitport will host Fremont (6 p.m.) with the winner taking on Reeths-Puffer or Muskegon in the district finals at 7:15 p.m. The Trojans are looking to win their second team district title in three years. 

The Spring Lake wrestling program does not have a full lineup at their disposal this season, and, therefore, are not eligible for the team tournament.

Spring Lake boys swim vs. Grand Rapids Catholic Central

When: Thursday, 6 p.m.

Where: Spring Lake Aquatic Center

The Spring Lake boys swim and dive team will host Grand Rapids Catholic Central on Thursday, after a 12-day break in action due to postponements and cancellations.

The Lakers are ranked No. 3 in the latest Michigan Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association poll, while the Cougars are honorable mention.

In their last competition, the Lakers took on the Hudsonville Invitational on Jan. 26, as the Lakers competed against mostly Division 1 squads at the event.

Spring Lake took home four gold medals and eight total medals from the event, with senior standout Cam Peel picking up a pair of victories in the 50-yard freestyle and the 100 freestyle, coming in at 20.99 seconds and 46.69 seconds, respectively.

Joey Wachter took second place in the same event with a time of 21.48 seconds. Wachter also went on to take runner-up in the 100 backstroke in 54.14, while K.J. Losee picked up a Laker win in the 100 butterfly with a time of 52.91 and grabbed a third-place finish in the 200 freestyle at 1:45.93.

Losee, Sam Sella, Wachter and Peel teamed up for Spring Lake's strongest relay effort in the 200 freestyle relay as the foursome clocked in at 1:26.94 to best the field by nearly two seconds.

The same four ended the meet with a strong performance as they took second in the 400 freestyle relay with a time of 3:11.51.

Eric Geschiere, Evan Schock, Charles Brown and Ed Lidke picked up fourth place in the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:44.07.

Spring Lake basketball doubleheader vs. Coopersville

When: Friday, 6 and 7: 30 p.m.

Where: Spring Lake High School

The Spring Lake boys and girls basketball teams will host one of their final home games of the season Friday, as the Lakers take on O-K Blue Conference rival Coopersville in a doubleheader at Spring Lake High School.

The Spring Lake boys (4-10, 1-5 O-K Blue) have had a difficult time maintaining consistency this season, but a Friday night matchup with the Broncos (7-6, 4-2 O-K Blue) could help spark a turnaround to their season with a rivalry game win. The last time these two teams met on Jan. 11, Coopersville got hot from outside, knocking down double-digit 3-point attempts on their way to a 60-47 home win over the Lakers. If Spring Lake's perimeter defense can tighten up, they should have a shot at the upset.

The Spring Lake girls (5-6, 1-5 O-K Blue) will have a tougher test in the nightcap, as they take on a Coopersville squad (8-4, 5-1 O-K Blue) that has won six straight games, including a lopsided 68-35 win over the Lakers on Jan. 11. The Lakers will have to cut down on the turnovers and play some inspired defense in order to record an upset win over the surging Broncos.

Individual wrestling districts

When: Saturday, 9 a.m.

Where: Grand Haven and Fremont high schools

Teams: Grand Haven, Spring Lake, Fruitport

After the grueling competition of team duals earlier in the week, local grapplers will put their own seasons on the line this weekend with individual district tournaments.

Grand Haven will host their individual district tournament, as they hope to push as many grapplers through to the regionals, which the Bucs will also host the following weekend. It won't be an easy road for the Haven grapplers, however, as teams such as Grandville, Hudsonville, Jenison, Rockford and Forest Hills Central will be in the mix with plenty of upset-minded programs in the field, as well.

Spring Lake and Fruitport will travel to Fremont for their individual district tournament Saturday. The Lakers and Trojans will fight through a crowded field of contenders that features programs like Cedar Springs, Coopersville, Reeths-Puffer and Sparta, amongst others.

The top four wrestlers in each weight class will advance to the regional tournament at Fremont High School on Feb. 16 with a shot at a trip to the state finals at Ford Field on the line.

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