Local Sports Journal

Mt. Pleasant — The Fruitport Calvary Christian girls basketball team met its match against Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart in the Class D regional finals.

The talented duo of outside guard Sara Hansen and inside center Averl Gamble was more than enough for the Irish to top the Eagles, 65-46.

Calvary Christian fell behind 8-0 early and tried to play a catchup game the rest of the way.

“The girls fought back but it was an uphill battle the rest of the way,” said Fruitport Calvary Christian coach Brad Richards. “Give them credit, they took it away from us. I’d like a chance to play them again but we won’t get that chance this year.”

Fruitport Calvary Christian could not find an offensive answer for Sacred Heart’s 1-1-3 defense. The Irish put pressure on the perimeter and clogged up the middle with 6-3 Gable.

The Eagles would cut Sacred Heart’s lead to 16-11 after the first quarter but struggled to a 36-20 halftime deficit.

Sacred Heart pounded the ball inside to Gamble, who is the daughter of former Boston Celtic Kevin Gamble, and it worked the outside with Hansen. The pair combined for 42 points as Hansen finished with a game-high 25 points and Gamble scored 17.

Calvary Christian did all it could to find a spark on the inside play of sisters Taylor and Allyson Richards. Allyson would lead the Eagles with 18 points while Taylor put in 11 points.

“There were a few times where our offense was their best offense,” said coach Richards. “Their 6’3 kid affected our post play too much and Hanson is one of the most dynamic players I’ve seen.”

The second half was more of the same for Fruitport Calvary as the Irish continued to find the basket taking a 54-32 lead into the final eight minutes.

Taylor Richards led the team with 10 reobunds while sister Allyson finished with seven.

Sophia Zelenka put in eight points and nine rebounds for Calvary Christian. Brianna Zehr handed out eight assists.

The loss finishes the Fruitport Calvary Christian season at 20-4 and it comes on the heels of some tough wins down the stretch.

“We beat a state ranked team (Wyoming Potters House) to win our conference championship. Beat a very talented Muskegon Catholic team to win districts and we beat another state ranked team (Fowler) in the regional semifinals,” said Richards. “I think the girls represented the school well.

“They are the kind of an example of how our school operates. A very close family from K-12. I think that’s how we beat some of these teams many did not think we were going to beat.”

The loss closes a season that holds a deep meaning for Richards with his two daughters (Taylor and Allyson) on the team.

“It’s a unique and awesome chapter and blessing when you can coach your own kids and their friends. It really hurts to come to the end,” said Richards. “But only one team does not end the season without a loss. I’m really proud of what our girls accomplished.”