By Dave Hart
MUSKEGON – It’s almost a shame that someone had to lose Monday’s Class B district girls basketball matchup between Spring Lake and Oakridge.
Spring Lake won the Lakes 8 Conference title this season and posted a perfect regular season record. Oakridge won the West Michigan Conference title and lost only four games.
But one of those teams had to face the end of the season, and it turned out to be Oakridge.
Spring Lake only led by one point at the end of three quarters, but pulled away in the fourth quarter to claim a 41-32 victory at Oakridge High School.
The Lakers will now face Coopersville Wednesday in the district semifinals.
The difference for Spring Lake was strong team defense, which held the Eagles to only five points in both the second and fourth quarters. No Oakridge players reached double digits in scoring.
“We did a great job defensively,” said Spring Lake coach Rich Hyde, whose Lakers improved to 21-0 on the season. “To beat a good Oakridge team in their house, I’ll take it.”
Oakridge had a strong start, outscoring the Lakers 11-6 in the first quarter. The Eagles scored the game’s first five points with a three-pointer by Emily Jacoutot and a bucket by Hannah Reinhold.
Reinhold led the Eagles on the night with nine points while Jacoutot had eight.
But Spring Lake sprang back to life in the second quarter, holding the Eagles to only five points and grabbing a 22-16 halftime lead.
Spring Lake’s Kelsee Zuidema scored 11 of her game high 13 points in the second quarter.
Oakridge bounced back in the second half, scoring the first seven points and taking a 23-22 lead with 3:03 left in the third quarter.
Spring Lake recovered to take a 28-27 lead at the third buzzer, then opened up the fourth quarter with an 8-1 run to take control of the contest.
Randi Rice led the Lakers down the stretch with five fourth quarter points.
Reiko Johnson scored 11 points for Spring Lake while Zuidema grabbed nine rebounds.
Oakridge ended the season with a 16-5 record.
“They made more offensive plays then we did,” said Oakridge coach Terry DeJonge. “Spring Lake is a really good team.
“We tried to take away their strengths and for the most part we contained them, but we didn’t do a good enough job to win this game.”