By Jim Goorman
Local Sports Journal
GRAND HAVEN – After 57 straight wins followed by a tough loss to Mona Shores last week, the Grand Haven girls basketball team embarked on a new beginning Friday with a 50-41 victory over Muskegon in a clash of two O-K Black Conference powers.
The game was a back-and-forth battle until the fourth quarter when the Bucs opened up their biggest lead and sealed the victory.
The very quick and talented Muskegon cagers used an aggressive man-to-man defense to keep the score close the entire first half. There were six lead changes in the first two quarters and Muskegon led 22-21 at halftime.
Grand Haven’s Amanda Merz had nine of her team-high 21 points in the first half.
The third quarter was owned by Muskegon until the Bucs scored the last seven points, sparked by center Taylor Cramer, who hit a monster three-pointer to give her team a 36-34 lead.
The 6-1 Craymer was a huge problem for Muskegon during the second half. Grand Haven Coach Katie Kowalszyk-Fulmer adjusted her offense by looking more inside to the almost unstoppable Craymer.
Teaming with the unsung heroine of the night, senior substitute Bailey TeBeau, Creymer presented a big mismatch inside. Muskegon had no answer for guarding the two big girls.
TeBeau scored eight valuable points in the pivotal fourth quarter.
Grand Haven played a very patient game in the second half, looking for Cramer and TeBeau inside with lob and entry passes, mostly from Merz. It was their very poised offense that gave the Bucs their big advantage as they outscored Muskegon 14-7 in the final stanza.
Muskegon was hurt by a rash of turnovers in the fourth quarter.
Craymer led Grand Haven with 17 points, including two three-pointers, while Merz finished with 14. Keiarra Guy led the Big Reds with 11 points while Jade Paige and Madreka Cook had nine each. The Big Reds had a 32-23 rebounding edge in the contest.