By Justin Haggerty
MUSKEGON TOWNSHIP – The Reeths-Puffer girls basketball team has been blowing out opponents all season long, but the Rockets found the going tough on Tuesday against Grand Haven’s stingy defense in an O-K Conference crossover match-up.
The Bucs held the Rocket offense to its second lowest output of the season, but couldn’t find enough offense of their own, allowing Reeths-Puffer to eek out a 44-40 win to improve to 9-1 on the season.
While happy with the win, the Rockets weren’t completely satisfied with their performance.
“We watched video, we knew the Bucs were going to run the 2-3 zone,” said Reeths-Puffer Coach Brandon Barry. “I thought we had talked our way through what we wanted to do with it, then we didn’t execute.”
The Rockets appeared to be cruising to an easy win in the first quarter, jumping out to a 13-4 lead.
Down by 11 with 3:05 to play in the first half, Grand Haven finally found it’s scoring touch while the Rockets struggled to hold on to the ball.
Alexia Bouwhuis hit two shots from beyond the arc to close the gap and the Buccaneers trailed 18-14 at halftime. Bouwhuis finished with 13 points for the Buccaneers.
Neither team shot especially well out of the gate in the second half.
The Bucs hit just 4 of 15 shots in the third quarter while the Rockets made only 2 of 10. R-P entered the final stanza with a five-point lead, 28-23.
Reeths-Puffer extended its lead to 37-27 with 4:50 to play, but Grand Haven didn’t go down quietly.
Alli Keyser scored eight of her 12 total points in a two-minute span to narrow the score to 41-37 with 1:58 to play. Keyser also totaled six assists and four steals on the night.
After a series of turnovers by both teams, Bouwhuis nailed a 3-pointer for Grand Haven and was fouled on the play with 1:09 remaining. But the ensuing free throw missed the mark and the Bucs couldn’t get any closer.
The Buccaneers hit just 4 of 11 free throws in the fourth quarter and 6 of 15 in the game.
“We didn’t have our best game tonight,” said Grand Haven coach Katie Kowalzyk-Fulmer. “I was proud of our kids. I thought we rebounded much better in the second half. We did some good things.”
The Rockets were led by Brooke Larabee with 17 points. Elysia Mattos added 13 points, Delaney Bolles had 12 points and 12 rebounds and Artrese Williams provided five assists for Reeths-Puffer.