Abby Cole’s triple-double carries Grand Haven back to the Class A girls state semifinals

Local Sports Journal

The Grand Haven Buccaneers are heading to the Breslin Center for the third straight year after claiming a 43-35 Class A quarterfinal girls basketball victory over Grand Ledge on Tuesday night.

The game was played at Lansing Eastern High School.

The undefeated and third-ranked Bucs will be on the campus of Michigan State University at 1 p.m. Friday for a semifinal matchup against Westland John Glenn, a 55-50 winner over Detroit Martin Luther King in another quarterfinal game.

Grand Haven (26-0) started slowly in the first quarter and trailed 7-6 after eight minutes.

In the first half, Abby Cole, who finished with 18 points, 10 rebounds and15  blocked shots, made her presence felt in the middle with her 6-foot-5 frame. Not only was she blocking shots but affecting Grand Ledge shots as well.

Grand Ledge slapped on a press in the second quarter, but Grand Haven was able to break  it. The Bucs did miss high percentage shots in the quarter, but Cole came through with eight points in the quarter. Grand Ledge’s Cori Crocker, a sophomore, was tough down low for Grand Ledge.

Grand Haven led 17-16 at the half.

The Bucs were able to extend the one-point halftime lead to six points, 32-26, by the end of the third quarter.

Grand Ledge mounted a comeback in the final eight minutes and with less than 6 minutes to play, had tied the game at 34-all.

Cole and Hannah Wilkerson scored to make it 38-34 for the bucks

Down the stretch, Cole continued to dominate inside with blocked shots and Amanda Merz made a pair of free throws to make it 40-35 with less than 2 minutes remaining.

From there, the Bucs were able to run out the clock and secure another trip to the Breslin Center.

Besides Cole’s 18 points, the Bucs received nine points from Taylor Kramer and eight from Wilkerson.

Lindsay Orwat led Grand Ledge with 20 points.

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