By Jim Goorman
Local Sports Journal

The Fruitport Trojans needed a big fourth-quarter effort Friday night versus the host Montague Wildcats, outscoring the Wildcats 21-16 to escape with the 60-54 victory in non-league boys basketball action.

Montague's Luke VanBoxel soared through the air fortwo of his 18 points during last season's win over Oakridge. Photo/Tim Reilly

Montague’s Luke VanBoxel soared through the air for two of his 18 points during last season’s win over Oakridge. Photo/Tim Reilly

The Trojans held a 39-38 lead after three quarters.

Luke Van Boxel, the leader on the Wildcat team, did all he could for his squad, finishing with 24 points in the losing effort.

VanBoxel recorded a milestone in the third quarter as he notched his 1,000 career point on a free throw. The senior was given a standing ovation from all the spectators.

“We played with more intensity this game than in the last game with Fremont but we forced things too much the first half and I was off balance”, said VanBoxel, a four-year starter.

Fruitport led at the end of every quarter moving from a 12-8 first quarter advantage to a narrow 27-25 half time lead..

Zack Garber, the  big center for Fruitport, had a great second quarter with eight points, using his body around the basket to spark his team.

Van Boxel regained his shooting touch in the second quarter, exploding for 10 points in the last three minutes – including two treys off ball screens – to end the half with 14 points.

His shooting prowess helped to bring his team back from an eight point deficit to keep the score close at half.

The third quarter was a nip and tuck affair as the game was tied five times. Things changed dramatically in the fourth, as the Trojans played their best ball to seal the win.

First year Fruitport coach Adam Anspach was satisfied with his team’s second win in a row. The Trojans are now 3-4 overall.

“Fruitport has not won two games in a row in a long time and it is big going into our next game with Spring Lake,” said Anspach. “We did a great job getting the ball into the post tonight and getting great help on defense on Van Boxel.”

The Trojans had nice balance with the very quick Shawn Knox leading the way with 14 points. Antonio Flores and Garber notched 12 points each and the latter helped his team to a 30-22 advantage on the boards, securing eight bounds himself in the win.

Following Van Boxel in scoring, Montague (2-4) was led by Merritt Hamann, who chipped in with eight points.