By Nate Thompson
Kramer, a 6-foot-3 senior forward, scored eight of his 13 points in overtime, helping the host Trojans outscore visiting Orchard View 12-3 in the extra session and pull out a 55-46 victory.
The Trojans improved to 5-5 overall and 3-2 in the Lakes 8 Conference while Orchard View fell to 2-8 overall and 1-4 in league play.
“The intensity level was different,” Kramer said of the offensive burst in overtime. “Antonio Flores really got us hyped up in the huddle (at the end of regulation) and told us we had to win. We fed off of that.”
The scenario looked bleak for the Trojans in the third quarter.
Orchard View’s speed and intensity on the defensive end got Fruitport out-of-sorts offensively, forcing the Trojans into contested outside shots and several errant passes. As a result, the Cardinals closed the third quarter on an 18-1 run and took a 38-29 lead into the fourth quarter.
“Their pressure got us out of what we wanted to do,” said Fruitport coach Adam Anspach. “We’re better (offensively) than what we showed. We’ve shot less than 10 threes in about all of our games. We’re better when we’re attacking the basket.”
But Fruitport did its best work with its back to the wall.
The Trojans turned in a 12-1 spurt to reclaim the lead, with Jarod Wierengo contributing eight of that total.Flores’ three-point play near the end of the run cut the Trojans’ deficit to 39-37.
Nearly 40 seconds later, Wierengo nailed a triple from the corner to give the Trojans a one-point lead with 2:50 to play. He finished with a game-high 23 points, including four 3-pointers.
Orchard View turned to its full-court pressure to regain the momentum. Senior guard Devin Pascavage’s back-to-back steals and assists on Matias Keyes’ buckets gave the Cardinals a brief two-point lead, but Fruitport managed to tie the contest at 43-43 at the end of regulation.
Kramer said it was the Trojans’ plan to drive hard to the basket in overtime, and the strategy worked to perfection.
“We were trying to draw fouls and get to the free throw line,” he said. “We knew we just had to start taking good shots. In the third, we just had too many mental mistakes and we were throwing the ball away too much.”
“Nick’s a big, strong kid and he just had the mindset that they weren’t going to stop him from getting to the basket,” Anspach added.
Kramer grabbed a team-high nine rebounds for the Trojans, while senior forward Zack Miller had eight. For Orchard View, Keyes had 14 points,= while Pascavage had six steals.
Anspach said the Trojans need to start putting complete games together if they want to string together a few wins and contend with rival Spring Lake for the Lakes 8 title.
“We need to be more consistent, for sure,” he said. “We have to put together four quarters. Even in our wins, like tonight, we haven’t done that. We didn’t play well in the third quarter, and we didn’t play up to our potential in the first half as well.
“We could have been easy been up 10-12 if we made our shots. We gotta finish and put the ball in the hole and be consistent for four quarters.”