By Ron Rop
Local Sports Journal
FRUITPORT – Brad Richards had his Fruitport Calvary Christian girls basketball team ready to play on Friday night.
Armed with an intensity North Muskegon couldn’t match and a halfcourt trap it couldn’t solve, the host Eagles ran away early and posted a 60-33 victory over the Norse.
“We know that North Muskegon is a very good team,” Richards said. “They have some good players and we felt like every possession tonight would be crucial.”
It started right away in the first quarter when the Eagles scored early and often and raced to a 16-6 lead after the first quarter. North Muskegon’s leading scorer, Morgan Seaberg picked up two key fouls, one just 3 seconds into the game and another 3 minutes later.
“We stressed two things in the locker room,” Richards said. “Seaberg was not going to touch the ball and value each possession.”
With the senior center on the bench, it made it that much easier for Fruitport Calvary to surge ahead.
“With her, we were more prepared for that trip,” North Muskegon coach Doug Clark said. “Without her, we were pretty much lost. I should have called a timeout quicker, I take a lot of the responsibility for that. Obviously, we were not prepared for that and they ran out to that lead and we could not buy a basket.”
North Muskegon’s fortunes didn’t change much in the second quarter. Two baskets and one free throw was all the Norse could muster against Richards’ intense squad.
By the half, the Eagles led 32-11.
Taylor Richards, a sophomore who had 13 points in the first half, came out even stronger in the second half. She scored her team’s first seven points and that helped push the Eagles to a 45-20 lead after three quarters. For the game, Taylor Richards finished with 24 points and 11 rebounds.
By the time the final buzzer sounded, Coach Richards had nine of his 11 players score at least one point and his team 2-0 heading into next week’s clash with another WM Conference team, the Hart Pirates.
Hayley Mohr, a senior, finished with 14 points and eight rebounds. Allyson Richards had seven points and eight rebounds.
“I was surprised by how well we rebounded tonight,” Brad Richards said. “North Muskegon is a big, strong team and they are athletic. I was surprised and pleased by how physical we were able to play against their athleticism.”
The victory avenged an Eagle loss to the Norse last season.
“I think they had something to settle after last year,” Clark said. “We beat them in a close one. Last year, they had a great year and we were one of their losses and I think they talked about that and they wanted revenge.”
Freshman Olivia Duncan led North Muskegon with 11 points. Hannah Meier and Chevelle West had six points each.