By Jacob Arvidson

FRUITPORT TOWNSHIP – A standout performance from junior Allyson Richards allowed the Fruitport Calvary Christian girls basketball team to claim its fourth Class D district championship in five years.

Richards scored 23 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in the Eagles’ 39-23 victory over Muskegon Catholic on their home court on Friday.

The win left Calvary Coach Brad Richards, Allyson’s father, overwhelmed with pride.

“To be able to coach my daughters with their friends, and then achieve success, is hard to do,” Richards said. “I just love these kids so much and they know that. Sometimes I’m a little bit of a crazy coach, but they know I’d do anything for them.

MCC's Lauren Doriot gets stopped by the Eagle's Hannah Roberts. Photo/Michael Banka
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MCC’s Lauren Doriot gets stopped by the Eagle’s Hannah Roberts. Photo/Michael Banka

“It never gets old. It’s just a big family here at this school and they all rally around the girl’s basketball team.”

Calvary, now 19-3, will face No. 3-ranked Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart (20-1) on Tuesday in regionals at Big Rapids Crossroads Academy at 7:30 p.m.

The Eagles have been to the regional finals three out of the last four seasons, and their run has ended at the hands of Sacred Heart in their last two trips.

“We want to give Tuesday everything we’ve got,” Richards said. “The best team won’t win Tuesday. The team that plays the best that night will win.

“We don’t want to just go to the regional finals. We want to play in the Breslin. I think Tuesday is going to be a fun game.”

While Sacred Heart will be the biggest test of the Eagles’ season so far, Friday night was no cakewalk for Calvary.

Muskegon Catholic came out with an aggressive defense, forcing 15 turnovers in the first half to take a 17-16 lead into the locker room.

“Catholic played with a lot of energy,” Richards said. “They gave us their best shot.”

With 2:43 left in the third quarter, the Eagles took their first lead of the game and didn’t look back.

The uprising was led by Allyson Richards, who hit 6 of 6 shots from the field for 12 points and grabbed five rebounds. She scored five more points and four more rebounds in the fourth quarter.

“She is so determined to win,” Richards said about his daughter. “She is so focused under pressure. She doesn’t carry herself like she’s the man, but behind that soft, quiet, caring, compassionate countenance is really a fighter.”

Kelsey Richards also added six points and five assists for the Eagles.

The Crusaders were led by Isabelle Bertolone and Liz Isom, who scored five points apiece, while Lauren Doriot snagged 10 rebounds.