By Nate Thompson
The second half, however, was 16 minutes the Bucs would rather forget.
East Kentwood senior wing Micah Rosser scored 13 of his game-high 23 points in the third quarter, helping the Falcons explode for 55 second-half points in their 72-62 victory.
The setback drops Grand Haven to 6-3 overall and 1-1 in league play.
“I thought that was a key to the game, their ability to get in transition and get going offensively,” said Grand Haven coach Greg Immink. “We went from up six at the half to down five or six, which was a key swing.
“We knew that’s what East Kentwood wanted to do, push the ball and finish strong. They were able to finish on some fast breaks and built some energy.”
Grand Haven’s 6-5 senior Zach Sinke drained a deep 3-pointer with two seconds left it the first half to put the Bucs up 23-17.
Drew Hewitt scored the opening bucket of the third quarter to give Grand Haven its largest lead of eight, but it wouldn’t last.
Rosser, the slight but silky-smooth 6-foot-3 Falcon, got rolling with back-to-back three-pointers in the third quarter.
Grand Haven trailed 44-39 after three quarters, but stayed on the Falcons’ heels, thanks to the strong play of Hewitt, who led the Bucs with 18 points.
“He had one of his best games so far,” Immink said. “He was very aggressive on both ends and got into the lane and was able to finish at the basket.”
Hewitt’s old-fashioned three-point play helped the Bucs claw to within 49-44 with 6:23 remaining, but East Kentwood countered with senior center Kwamae’ Byers, who took advantage with several Grand Haven post players in foul trouble.
Byers’ six points within a minute sparked the Falcons to a double-digit advantage and Grand Haven couldn’t creep any closer.
Grand Haven finished with three players in double figures. Zac Holman scored 10 points and center Ross Koella had 11 points and eight rebounds.
Immink thought the Bucs should have had a larger lead in the first half, but they struggled on numerous occasions to finish in the paint, which left Immink perplexed.
“I don’t have an answer,” he said. “Guys have made them before, and they’ll make them again.
“We’ll bounce back. You’ve got to play consistent basketball to string some wins together in this league. There will be more tough nights like tonight, but we’ve got to fight through it.”