Grimmer helps Spring Lake girls rally past Coopersville in Class B district semifinals

By Nate Thompson
LocalSportsJournal.com

FRUITPORT – Spring Lake girl’s basketball coach Cavin Mohrhardt said numerous players have stepped up this season to complement the Lakers’ 1-2 punch of Reiko Johnson and Remi French.Midnight sun featured imageLSJ Logo incert

On Wednesday it was Olivia Grimmer’s turn, and she came through when her team needed a boost.

Remi French gets up for the opening tip off. Photo/Carol Cooper

Remi French gets up for the opening tip-off. Photo/Carol Cooper

The junior wing scored six of her 10 points in the third quarter, helping the Lakes overcome a deficit and gain the lead.

Then Spring Lake’s zone defense stymied a tough Coopersville squad down the stretch, capping a 51-45 victory in a Class B district semifinal contest.

Spring Lake (19-3 overall) advances to Friday’s highly anticipated district championship game against Oakridge (19-2) at 7 p.m. The Lakers eliminated the Eagles in last season’s district tournament.

The Lakers had to beat a pair of tough opponents to reach Friday’s showdown, including a feisty Coopersville team (12-9 overall) that held the lead well into the third quarter.

“They came prepared,” Mohrhardt said of the Broncos. “They threw kind of a diamond-and-1 (defense) at us, and we didn’t make real good adjustments against it. We should have got the ball inside more. We had the height advantage (with the 6-foot-2 French), but we didn’t utilize it.  We talked about that at the half and we did a better job of it.

“I told our girls, I’ve never been more frustrated with two straight wins,” Mohrhardt added. “We had 20-some turnovers again tonight, but we’re still winning.”

The Lakers and Broncos were deadlocked at 26-26 at halftime, and Coopersville remained in contention for an upset, thanks to senior wing Sammie McCarthy, who scored nine of her 20 points in the third quarter.

“We talked about not letting someone get hot, and McCarthy got really hot,” Mohrhardt said.

But Grimmer gave the Lakers some relief, finding some gaps in the Broncos’ zone defense and making the most of her open looks. Her corner three-pointer gave the Lakers a 37-35 lead heading into the fourth.

“Yeah, that probably is (my biggest shot this season), because I’ve been in the post a lot this season,” Grimmer said. “It was nice to get out to my original position on the wing. ”

Elizabeth Bronold looks to pass the ball for Spring Lake. Photo/Carol Cooper

Elizabeth Bronold looks to pass the ball for Spring Lake. Photo/Carol Cooper

(Coopersville) was pretty much keying on Reiko and Remi, because that’s what everyone does,” she added. “We knew everyone else had to step up and hit some big shots.”

Grimmer also snagged six rebounds, while French had a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds.

Johnson scored 20 points, including a rare four-point play that ignited the Lakers early in the fourth quarter.  Mohrhardt switched defenses throughout the contest, and the final change to a 2-3 zone in the fourth quarter finally slowed the Broncos.

Spring Lake’s lead swelled to as large as 51-42 before McCarthy hit a full-court desperation heave at the buzzer to make it a closer finish.

Mohrhardt said the Lakers need to turn in a better performance on Friday if they want to knock off Oakridge.

“Oakridge is a good, fundamentally solid team and we can’t give up the ball to them as much as we have these last two games,” the coach said. “With their shooters, they’ll hurt us. But I think we’ll have the size advantage. I think (Remi) could be a difference maker.”

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