All 3 area girls’ basketball teams open with victories

The Wayland High School girls’ varsity basketball team had a hugely successful season opener Wednesday night on its home court with a convincing 65-24 victory over O-K Gold Conference rival Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills.

The Wildcat boys lost a very competitive game at Ottawa Hills, 59-55.

Meanwhile, both Martin boys’ and girls’ teams prevailed against Lawton. The guys won 51-44 and the girls grinded out a 30-17 defensive triumph.

Martin girls’ coach Ben Schipper commented, “After a very slow start offensively, we got in a better rhythm in the second half. Our defense also really clamped down. We expected a slow start only having two real practices before tonight, so I’m very proud of our girls for cleaning things up and staying diligent.

“Playing in masks is incredibly difficult, but our girls handled it well and we got good minutes from our bench.

Junior guard Gracie Shettler paced the Clippers with 11 points. Freshman guard Makala Goddard had a great debut with 8 points and brought a maturity well above her age, her coach said.

“Our posts rebounded well tonight and made some aggressive moves. Bri Warner played outstanding, lock down defense, as always.”

Warner had 11 rebounds and three steals.

After a slow start, the Martin boys essentially led throughout their game Collin Coburn and Mitchell Jager both scored 17 points.

Coach Brad Moelker said, “It was great to be back on the court, but it was definitely sloppy at times. The first quarter we just had so much emotional energy that we were not executing. We missed a couple open shots and some easy layups as Lawton had the lead, but we were able to finish the quarter up one (9-8).

Mitchell Jager

“After that we settled into our game.  Mitchell hit three three-pointers in the second quarter as we were able to build up a small lead. With that lead we were able to kind of control the game for spurts and work on things that we have not been able to during practice.

“I thought offensively we were great at times, but then other times we were a little rushed. The same thing went for the defensive end as well. For a couple plays we would rotate beautifully then other plays we were a little lost.  I think every coach going into this first game expected some of these things.”
The coach said Coburn was aggressive attacking the rim all night and the team “showed  some toughness throughout the game.  We were outsized by their forwards but we really worked to rebound the ball.”

It was a bittersweet night for Hopkins. The Lady Vikings opened their season with a 48-41 triumph over Wyoming Godwin Heights, but the boys were edged 41-40.

All six teams were playing basketball for the first time since last March because of the Coronavirus pandemic.


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