By Dave Tomczak
GRAND HAVEN – An early season road test proved to be easy going for the Reeths-Puffer boys basketball team on Tuesday.
Facing host Grand Haven in front of a raucous crowd, the Rockets cruised to an impressive 54-39 non-conference win.
Reeths-Puffer hit nine 3-pointers in the game, including six in the second half, while holding the Bucs to four.
“Last year they hit a ton of 3’s and lit us up in the first half,” Rockets coach Lance Johnson said. “(Tonight) we tried to pinpoint the shooters and stay home and not let those guys go off.”
Reeths-Puffer took a 12-7 lead after the first quarter, and expanded that advantage to 18-10 midway through the second.
Grand Haven responded with a 7-0 run, capped off by a 3-pointer by Jon Elias, to pull within 18-17 with 1:57 left in the first half.
A long-range bucket from Carter Fulton with 50 seconds remaining gave Reeths-Puffer a 21-17 halftime lead.
Fulton picked up where he left off after halftime, hitting three 3-pointers in the third quarter, as the Rockets increased their lead to 39-27.
“We didn’t hit our shots at first,” Fulton said. “But in the second half, obviously, we got our shots to go.”
The Bucs pulled within 39-30 early in the fourth quarter, only to see the Rockets’ Emcee Williams knock down back-to-back 3’s to put the lead back to double-digits, 45-30.
The big lead came in handy for the Rockets, who struggled at the free-throw line, making just 5-of-16 in the game.
“We knew this would be a tough one,” said Johnson, whose team improves to 2-0. “And we’re really happy, early in the year, to go on the road and get this win.”
Fulton and Williams led the Rockets with 17 points apiece, and Josh Jordan finished with nine points and nine rebounds.
Grand Haven’s Casey Constant had 13 points and Bryce Taylor added 10.