By Dave Hart
Local Sports Journal

The night belonged to Taylor Richards both on and off the court as the Fruitport Calvary Christian girls basketball team defeated Wyoming Tri-Unity Christian 64-49 Tuesday night in the Alliance League regular season finale’.

Richards had 19 points, 15 rebounds, and five assists to lead the Eagles to victory, but her performance on the court was just the start of her unforgettable night.

At halftime she announced that she will be attending Cornerstone University starting in the fall of 2015.

“I am thrilled of the character she has shown in the recruiting process.” stated her head coach and father Brad Richards.  “She turned down a lot of larger schools, including Division 1 schools, because she wants to go to a Christian college and be closer to home.”

Taylor was not the only Richards girl who had the spotlight on Tuesday night.  Her younger sister Allyson led the Eagles in scoring with 21 points and added 12 rebounds and five assists.  Both Richards’ girls accounted for over 50 percent of the Eagles’ scoring.

“As a coach I am pleased with their growth on and off the court,” said Coach Richards. “They are very unselfish and they are trying to open up the offense for the other girls on the team,” said Richards. “As a father, we leave basketball on the court and we do not bring it home with us.”

The Eagles jumped out to a 17-5 lead after the first quarter.  Taylor and Allyson Richards combined to score 15 of the 17 first-quarter points, respectively.

Wyoming Tri-Unity Christian woke up offensively in the second quarter, scoring 16 points. Yet, the host Eagles matched the Defenders’ intensity and managed to take a 37-21 lead into the locker room at halftime.

In the third quarter, the Eagles outscored the Defenders 16-12 to keep a solid lead going into the fourth quarter at 53-33.

The 20-point lead allowed Coach Richards to pull Taylor Richards out of the game with moments left in order to receive a nice reception from the crowd.

The Defenders tried to take advantage but were only able to cut a 24-point deficit into 13 points.

Ellie Kornejan’s 20 points and Sarah Buffum’s 17 points led the Defenders in scoring.

Becca Wolffis added eight points and six rebounds, while Brianna Zehr had 6 rebounds and six assists for the Eagles.

Tuesday night’s victory gave the Eagles a 16-3 overall record on the season with a 9-2 record in league play.

With the win, the Eagles clinched the North division title in the Alliance league.

The Eagles will host Wyoming Potter’s House Christian Friday night for the Alliance League title.  The Eagles lost to Potter’s House by 20 points earlier in the regular season and will look for redemption.

“I feel blessed by God to be able to coach here,” said Coach Richards.”This school is a good place for kids.”

Tip-off for Friday’s championship game will be at 7 p.m. at Fruitport Calvary Christian.