By Justin Haggerty

SPRING LAKE – The Spring Lake-Fruitport girls basketball rivalry has entered a new era, with the two schools no longer competing in the same conference.

Round 1 went to the Lakers, who jumped out to an early 8-0 lead and never looked back, running away with a 42-24 victory on their home court on Friday night.

Reiko Johnson drives in for the scoop past Fruitport forward No. 10 Paige Stanley. Photo/Tim Reilly

The game was yet another showdown between two of the best players in the area – Spring Lake’s Reiko Johnson and Fruitport’s Iyana Brown.

Johnson has a solid night, tallying 13 points, five rebounds and five assists. She is now just five points shy of the Spring Lake girls scoring record.

Brown had an unusually quiet night, finishing with five points, all in the second half.

“It’s a good barometer of where we’ve got to go,” said Spring Lake head coach Calvin Mohrhardt. “We know we’re not there yet. All in all, we sputtered for a quarter and then came out and played a better second half.”

The Laker defense held Fruitport scoreless for the first five minutes of the game, forcing four turnovers in the process.

The Trojans cut the lead in half at 8-4, but the Lakers went on a 7-0 run to end the quarter and led 15-4 at the first buzzer.

Johnson scored eight of the Lakers’ points in the opening frame.

Neither team played well in the second quarter, totaling nine total between them with a combined 10 turnovers. Spring Lake led 18-10 at halftime.

“The zone (defense) bothered us,” Morhardt said about the sluggish second quarter. “We’ve got three or four good shooters so the zone shouldn’t be a problem for us. I think we’ve got to gain confidence. It took them a while to realize they could get the open shot.”

Fruitports Iyana Brown gets up to win the opening tipoff. Photo/Tim Reilly

Spring Lake held its lead in the second half, and Fruitport could only get as close as 15 points just once in the fourth quarter.

The Lakers shared the ball all night, recording 10 assists on 16 field goals with six different scorers connecting in the third quarter alone.

Spring Lake sophomore Madeline Zenas had a big night on the boards, grabbing 13 rebounds, including five on the offensive boards.

“She’s still getting her legs and everything else, but she improves every time she touches the ball,” Mohrhardt said. “A couple of those rebounds were big rebounds. She went up and snatched them and kept them high, it was impressive to watch.”

Fruitport Coach Bob German took the blame for the loss.

“Hopefully we learn something,” he said. “When we stepped over that line, we didn’t bring anything. I’ll take the blame for that, I didn’t have them ready to play.

“They seemed to be ready to play before the game started. I’m just very disappointed in our performance, I can’t really say much more. We have a lot of learning to do yet and I think we know that now.”