By Dave Tomczak
FRUITPORT TWP. – Fruitport Calvary Christian girls basketball coach Brad Richards admits he didn’t sleep well on Monday night, because he was thinking about Tuesday’s game.
With his Eagles playing for an Alliance League Conference championship against a talented Kentwood Grand River Prep team, Richards feared his team might not be prepared.
As it turned out, there was little need for worry. Fruitport Calvary rolled to a 45-23 home victory, marking the team’s 57th consecutive conference win and clinching its eighth straight league title.
“(Grand River) has a lot of athletes and we thought their speed would bother us some,” Richards said. “We didn’t expect to go up big, we thought it would come down to the buzzer. You have to give credit to our kids on defense, they were focused on taking away what (Grand River) wanted to do.”
Fruitport Calvary Christian improved to 16-3 overall and 7-0 in the conference.
Senior forwards Lizzie Cammenga and Kelsey Richards combined for 35 of the Eagle’s 45 points, including all of Calvary’s points in the first quarter, when they took an 18-10 lead.
Calvary struggled in the second quarter, hitting only one field goal, but it was still enough to outscore the Titans 5-4 and take a 23-14 lead into halftime.
The offense improved in the third quarter, when the Eagles scored 13 straight points and the defense held Grand River Prep to one field goal. Fruitport Calvary led 36-16 heading into the fourth.
“They are a very good team and we did a lot to get ready for them,” said Cammenga, who finished the game with 13 points, 13 rebounds and three blocked shots. “After the half, we knew we had to go inside and use our height advantage.”
Calvary finished off the game with a 9-7 fourth quarter edge. The Titans managed only one field goal in the first six minutes of the quarter.
In his final year of coaching Calvary Christian girls basketball, Richards reflected after the game on the great run his team is on.
“You have to enjoy every win, and as competitive as I am, sometimes it’s a hard thing to do,” said Coach Richards, who will be taking over the Fruitport Calvary boys team next season. “I have to remind myself to enjoy the moment.”
Kelsey Richards led the Eagles with 22 points and had seven rebounds. Kyra Hamilton pulled down 10 rebounds.