By John Jarvi
Local Sports Journal
COOPERSVILLE – The Spring Lake girls basketball team built a big lead then flirted with danger Tuesday, but still escaped with its perfect record intact.
The unbeaten Lakers improved to a school-record 14-0 Tuesday with a 46-42 win over Coopersville.
After building up leads of 16-6 and 31-18 after the first and second quarters, respectively, the Lakers throttled back back so much they only scored 15 points in the second half. That allowed Cooopersville to rally and keep things interesting to the end.
“For some reason, we took the foot off the pedal and stopped attacking on offense,” said Rich Hyde, the Spring Lake coach. “We know we’re a good shooting team, but we only had 15 points in the second half, and we had 19 in the second quarter alone.”
The victory came at the start of a busy week for the Lakers, who visit Holland Black River on Wednesday and Ludington in a Lakes 8 Conference showdown on Friday.
“There’s a lot of work this week,” Hyde said. “We have five straight road games, and the first three are done. We finish up at Ludington Friday. The girls are handling it probably better than I am.”
Spring Lake’s offense operated around center Kelsee Zuidema and guard Reiko Johnson.
Zuidema scored seven of her 26 points in the first quarter and had 15 of the Lakers’ first 22 points. She controlled a lot of the inside play by grabbing 12 rebounds.
Johnson followed with 10 points while adding four assists and making four steals on defense.
Spring Lake got off 15 more field-goal attempts than Coopersville, but the Broncos rallied by making five of its 11 3-point attempts and 11 of 12 free throws. The Broncos made all eight of their free throws in the fourth quarter to narrow the final margin.
Trailing by three points with less than a minute to play, Coopersville missed a pair of key shots. A free throw by Zuidema with 12.8 seconds left gave Spring Lake its final margin of victory.