By Mark Lewis
Local Sports Journal

SPRING LAKE–  Spring Lake’s Austin Johnson wasn’t having a very good shooting night.

Over the first two quarters of the host Lakers’ 58-39 victory over Lakes 8 foe Grant, the bruising senior forward had just seven points on less than 35-percent shooting.

For a player like Johnson, who averages 27 points, that wasn’t good enough.

And yet, by game’s end, Johnson equaled his per-game average, nailing shots from all over the floor throughout the second half.

“Austin didn’t score very well in that first half,” said Spring Lake head coach Bill Core, “and he was pretty down on himself. He felt like he wasn’t finishing like he should. But it’s the kind of thing that a scorer is going to score. He has the respect of his teammates and the coaching staff to take an unbalanced shot or force a shot. He’s going to get his shots. He finished the game much better.”

After taking running out to an 11-4 lead after one, and taking a 25-19 lead into the locker room, Grant took advantage of a Spring Lake scoring lull early in the third quarter, cutting the Laker lead to 33-29.

From there, though, the Lakers finished with a 25-6 flurry that put the contest well out of reach.

“Spring Lake turned up the defensive pressure,” said Grand head coach Josh Delamater. “After we cut the lead to four, they didn’t give us any easy looks. (Spring Lake) is just a great team. It’s one thing to be big. But they have size and speed. They’re very difficult to match up against.”

With his game-high 27 points, Johnson also added six rebounds, while Erik Johnson led the team with eight boards to go with 10 points. Adam Clauss dished out five assists and Ryan Nolan came off the bench to block three shots.

For Grant, Justin Bull finished with a team-high 17 points, with teammate Nick Brown had five blocks, two steals and seven points.

This game, the league opener for both clubs, was just a prelude to a busy week ahead for the Lakers. First, the Lakers welcome Shelby– which just upset Montague – this coming Tuesday. Then, the Lakers host rival Grand Haven on Friday night, the team’s last game until Jan. 4 against Orchard View.

Spring Lake hasn’t defeated Grand Haven since the 1980s, although the rivalry took a decade hiatus in the 1990s.

“That’s always a huge game,” said Core about the Bucs. “It’ll be a packed gym, it always is. It’ll be a great atmosphere for high school basketball that cannot be matched. We’re excited for that even though it’s a week away.”


Spring Lake 58, Grant 39

Kyle Zietlow 1 0-1 3, Adam Clauss 1 0-2 2, Keegan George 0 1-2 1, Charlies Warber 3 1-3 7, Jeff Marod 1 0-0 2, Austin Johnson 8 11-12 27, Ryan Nolan 1 0-0 2, Erik Johnson 4 0-0 10, Nick Goeglein 2 0-0 4. Totals 21 13-20 58.

Tyler Manlick 0 1-2 1, Nick Brown 2 2-2 7, Justin Bull 7 1-2 17, Riley Foster 1 2-4 4, Rickey Wells 1 0-0 2, Chris Rocheleau 1 0-0 2, Austin Jensen 1 0-0 3, Dakota Scholten 1 1-2 3. Totals 14 7-12 39.

Spring Lake 11-14-15-18-58
Grant 4-14-12-9-39

3-pointers: Zietlow, E. Johnson (2), Brown, Bull (2), Jensen. Total fouls:SpringLake22, Grant 17. Fouled out: none. Technical fouls: none.