COOPERSVILLE — Nothing like a little overtime to spice up an already great high school tournament basketball game.

On Wednesday night, the Reeths-Puffer Rockets and the Coopersville Broncos needed 4 extra minutes before the Rockets escaped with a 59-55 victory on the Broncos’ home court.

The outcome sets up another meeting between Reeths-Puffer and the Muskegon Big Reds, which defeated Grand Rapids Union in the other semifinal game. Friday’s title game is set for 7 p.m. at Coopersville.

“It was a great high school basketball game,” Reeths-Puffer coach Nate Aardema said. “Coopersville plays incredibly hard and they are very well coached. I feel fortunate to advance to the district final.”

Both teams started a bit slowly in a first quarter that saw the Rockets leading 9-8. By halftime, Aardema’s team had a 23-18 advantage. By the end of the third quarter, Reeths-Puffer led, 34-30.

But, an 18-14 scoring advantage pulled Coopersville into a tie and forced overtime to decide a winner. The Broncos hit a 3-pointer with less than 15 seconds remaining regulation to that tied the score.

In the extra period, Reeths-Puffer had several key stops on the defensive end. Antrel Jones and Travis Ambrose each scored buckets down the stretch the spark the victory. The Rockets made 7-of-8 free throws as well.
Ambrose turned in another solid game with 25 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks. He made 13-of-18 free throws. Jaxson Whitaker canned five 3-pointers as part of his 23 points. Kyle Schlaff added seven points and eight assists. Jones had four points and six rebounds.
“Coopersville was very physical with Travis (Ambrose) once he caught it inside against their zone,” Aardema said. “Jaxson (Whitaker) didn’t find himself open too often, but he still was able to make five 3-pointers.
“I am very proud of our guys for the grit and resilience they showed,” said Aardema, whose team is 15-9. “Coopersville is extraordinary defensively and we just kept grinding away and believing in each other.”
Porter Kretschman led Coopersville with 18 points. Mark DeVries added 16 and Eli Spencer had 10.
Photos courtesy of LSJ photographer Joe Lane II