Spring Lake girls rally past Fruitport in the fourth quarter, win 47-42 in districts

By Mitchell Boatman
LocalSportsJournal.com

FRUITPORT- The Spring Lake and Fruitport girls’ basketball teams were dead even during the regular season.LSJ Logo incert

They split a pair of games and ended up tied with Ludington for the Lakes 8 Conference title.

Elizabeth Bronold fights off pressure from Fruitport guard Ellie Szymoniak. Photo/Carol Cooper

Elizabeth Bronold fights off pressure from Fruitport guard Ellie Szymoniak. Photo/Carol Cooper

So something had to give when the Lakers and Trojans met in the first round of the Class B district tournament at Fruitport High School on Monday.

That turned out to be a big fourth quarter for Spring Lake, which rallied to beat Fruitport 47-42 in a game worthy of the advance hype.

The Lakers now advance to Wednesday’s district semifinals against Coopersville, a team they beat 52-37 earlier this season.

The Trojans led 33-27 after three quarters, but couldn’t seal the deal on their home court.

Spring Lake scored the first six points of the fourth quarter and tied the game 33-33 with 5:13 remaining on a layup by Remi French.

The teams traded bucks for the next three-plus minutes and the score was tied 39-39 with just over a minute left.

Following a Trojan turnover, Spring Lake’s Reiko Johnson nailed a 3-pointer to put the Lakers up for good at 42-39.

Johnson then managed to dribble through a press, avoid defenders who were trying to foul her, and find teammate Nora Adkins, who sank the game-sealing layup with 12 seconds left.

“It’s tough to press us with Reiko,” said Spring Lake Coach Cavin Mohrhardt about his standout junior guard. “She’s a press break by herself, really.”

The Lakers led 11-8 after one quarter, thanks to a 4-0 run before the buzzer.

Spring Lake carried the momentum into the second quarter and opened with a 5-1 run. But the Lakers ran into trouble at the end of the run when French and fellow starter Olivia Grimmer had to sit down with foul trouble.

The Trojans took advantage, going on a 10-0 run over the span of three minutes. Iyana Brown and Alyssa Veihl led the outburst, scoring seven of the 10 points.

Iyana Brown wins the jump ball for Fruitport. Photo/Carol Cooper

Iyana Brown wins the jump ball for Fruitport. Photo/Carol Cooper

The Lakers regained the lead 21-20 on two free-throws from Johnson before the half.

The third quarter was dominated by Fruitport’s defense, which held the Lakers to one bucket. Brown, Alyssa Veihl and Katie Veihl each had four points in the third, allowing the Trojans to grab a 33-27 edge at the buzzer.

But the Lakers found a way to get past Fruitport down the stretch, claiming the victory and a ticket to the district semifinals.

Johnson led the Lakers in scoring with 19 points, 15 coming in the second half. French scored 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds despite the early foul trouble.

“(Remi’s) a key for us. We wouldn’t be where we are without her. She was in the game the whole time mentally,” Mohrhardt said.

Despite the loss, Fruitport coach Bob German raved about his team.

“I really couldn’t be more proud of a group,” he said. “I don’t even have the words…it was a coach’s dream to have a team like this.”

Brown led the way for Fruitport with 18 points and six assists. Alyssa Veihl had nine points and 14 rebounds, which were enough to break the Fruitport single season rebounding record. Katie Veihl added 12 points and had eight rebounds.

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