By Steve Gunn
FRUITPORT – Two of the top point scorers in the Lakes 8 Conference went head-to-head Friday night.
Johnson, a junior guard, rang up a game-high 23 points to lead Spring Lake to a come-from-behind 42-32 conference victory over Fruitport in the Trojans’ gym.
The Lakers improved to 4-0 overall and 2-0 in Lakes 8 play. Fruitport dropped to 2-2 and 1-1.
Johnson, who can drive the lane and hit from the outside with equal effectiveness, was consistent throughout the game, scoring 11 points in the first half and 12 in the second.
She hit a pair of triples in the crucial third quarter, helping Spring Lake take control of the contest down the stretch.
Brown, on the other hand, had a rough first half, missing numerous shots from the perimeter and managing only five points. She found her range in the second half, scoring 11 points, but her efforts were not enough to keep the Lakers from pulling away.
Part of the issue for Brown may have been Spring Lake’s zone defense, which crowded the inside and prevented her from driving the lane and making layups for much of the game.
“We wanted to know where she was at,” said Spring Lake Coach Cavin Mohrhardt about Brown. “We played primarly a zone to try to pack it in, but she still managed to drive to the basket a few times. She’s a good player.
“It was a great win for us, I think. Fruitport, we figured, would be our toughest test so far this year, and they were. It showed a lot because we were down and came back. Our first three games were not even close.”
The game did not start out well for the Lakers.
Fruitport scored the first seven points of the game and led for most of the first half.
The Trojans led 13-8 at the first buzzer. Alyssa Veihl had five points in the first frame for Fruitport while Brown added four.
The Lakers gradually narrowed the gap throughout the second quarter, hitting 5 of 12 shots from the field, compared to only 3 of 10 in the first quarter.
Spring Lake scored the last seven points of the first half and took its first lead of the game, 19-18, with a layup from Madelyn Nelson 20 seconds before halftime.
The second half was all Lakers, who opened with a 13-2 run and outscored Fruitport 14-7 in the third quarter to take a 33-25 lead at the buzzer.
Spring Lake had a 9-7 scoring edge in the final quarter.
The Lakers were efficient from the floor in the second half, nailing 8 of 19 field goal attempts. Fruitport was colder, hitting only 6 of 20 shots.
“We had the looks, we just didn’t hit shots,” said Fruitport Coach Bob German. “When they changed to a zone defense we did not play with the same intensity.”
The Lakers’ used their full-court press to throw Fruitport’s offense out of rhythm at times and cause some of the Trojans’ 14 turnovers.
Spring Lake, on the other hand, only had five turnovers, including just one in the second half.
“We haven’t had double-digit turnovers in any game so far,” Mohrhardt said. “In a couple games we only had one, which is pretty amazing. That helps keep the ball in your hands.”
Elizabeth Bronold had seven points while Remi French totaled six for Spring Lake. French also grabbed seven rebounds while Johnson had six.
Veihl finished with nine points for Fruitport.