By John Jarvi
Local Sports Journal
MUSKEGON — The Grand Haven Lady Buccaneers came away with the last two Class A state girls basketball championship trophies, but that’s in the past.
Now the Lady Buccaneers are just enjoying another tournament ride. Grand Haven accomplished that start Monday night by turning back the Grand Rapids Union Lady Red Hawks 68-49 in the second game of the Class A District 6-A tournament at Reeths-Puffer’s Rocket Arena.
Grand Haven, now 16-5, will get a big challenge Wednesday night when the Lady Buccaneers take on the idle Mona Shores Sailors at 7:30 p.m. Mona Shores ended an area-record 57-game winning streak that spanned over three seasons for Grand Haven in early January, and the Lady Sailors are now 16-4 overall.
“It gets way tougher from here on,” said Grand Haven coach Katie Kowalczyk-Fulmer. “We lost by four points to Mona Shores on January 3. We don’t feel like we have anything to lose.
“It’s a tough district. Whoever wins Wednesday, is probably going to play Muskegon in the finals.”
The Lady Buccaneers used the hot shooting of forward Taylor Craymer to control the game against the Lady Red Hawks from the start.
Craymer scored 10 of her career-high 25 points in the first quarter in helping the Lady Buccaneers to a 15-5 lead after one period.
The senior forward staggered the Red Hawks by scoring five two-point baskets and five of her eight three-point tries. She also had eight rebounds and five steals for the Lady Buccaneers.
“Craymer started out very strong, and it helped put the game out of reach early,” Kowalczyk-Fulmer said.” “It’s nice to get out of the blocks and set the tempo for the game.”
Amanda Merz backed up Craymer very effectively. Merz had 15 points and added six assists and six steals. Mallory Beswick had eight points for Grand Haven. The Lady Buccaneers led 34-16 at halftime and 55-29 after three periods.
Union, now 4-12 according to available records, got 16 points from Tyra Williams, 14 from Samantha Lesatz and 10 from Cheryl Baraza.
The Grand Haven-Mona Shores game Wednesday will give the Lady Buccaneers a chance to possibly win their fifth year Class A district title in a row. Grand Haven failed to reach the district finals in 2009 and then advanced to the regionals in 2010 and the state semifinals in 2011 before coming away with state championships in 2012 and 2013.