By John Jarvi
Local Sports Journal
GRAND HAVEN — A sluggish offense never found its way for the Grand Haven Buccaneers boys’ basketball team Tuesday night.
The poor start made the difference as the Hudsonville Eagles ended a five-game losing streak by coming away with a 46-34 victory in the O-K Red Division opener for both teams.
The Eagles rolled to a 15-7 lead after one quarter and never trailed after that.
Grand Haven cut the lead to 16-14 once in the second quarter, but that was as close as the Buccaneers came.
“This was definitely a low point after playing fairly well last Friday against Muskegon,” said Steve Hewitt, the Grand Haven coach. “I thought we took a big step backward.
“It looked like nobody for us wanted to catch it and shoot it. We really looked hesitant. We knew their 2-3 or 3-2 zone was coming, and it was like we were throwing it to the wrong people.”
Hudsonville, now 3-5 overall, rode the play of forward Brent Hibbitts to the victory. Hibbitts won the opening tip and scored the first two baskets for Hudsonville in the opening 65 seconds of play. He ended up with a game-high 22 points by getting nine baskets, including one three-pointer, and sinking one of three free throws.
The worst part for Hewitt was the lost opportunity of a fast start in the O-K Red race.
Grand Haven, now 2-5 overall, plays at East Kentwood Friday, Jan. 17. East Kentwood rolled to a 65-48 victory over Grandville in another league opener Tuesday night and is 3-2 for the season.
“The O-K Red is wide-open this year,” Hewitt said. “If we play well, we feel like we can compete in the conference, but we have to play well.”
The Buccaneers hit only 10 of 33 field-goal tries, including only two of 12 three-point attempts.
Isaak Newhouse and Ross Koella each had a team-high seven points for Grand Haven. None of the other Buccaneeer players had more than four points and one starter did not score. Newhouse also had four steals for Grand Haven.
Mason Opple had seven points and Jared Blum six for the Eagles, who led 22-12 in rebounds.