Fennville senior Sydney DeJonge (12), seen in a recent game, scored nine points and had five rebound in the Blackhawks' loss to Calvin Christian in a Class C district final.

Fennville falls to Calvin Christian in district final

By: 
Jason Wesseldyk

Heading into his team’s Class C district final with Calvin Christian on Friday, March 6, Fennville girls’ basketball coach Ernie Ramirez knew the Blackhawks were facing a tall task.
Literally.
Led by 6-foot-2 senior Emily VanVliet, the Squires had a decided height advantage. And they used that to its fullest in collecting a 59-27 win at Fennville’s expense.
Despite being disappointed with the game’s outcome, Ramirez had nothing but positive things to say about his team and its season as a whole.
“We had a great season,” said Ramirez, whose team finished at 14-8. “We had the best record a Fennville girls’ varsity team has had since 1983 and the district win we had over NorthPointe Christian (in an opening-round game) was the first win in districts for Fennville since 2001.
“The team met my expectations and I expect the next year’s team to be just as competitive.”
Turnovers were an issue for Fennville, which committed 25 miscues against the Calvin Christian defensive press.
“Calvin players are long and cover a lot of ground on their press,” Ramirez said. “They got multiple traps and deflections off their press and one thing they do is convert on mistakes. We had opportunities to stay in the game, but when we got a steal or transition opportunity we didn’t convert.”
The loss brought a close to the Fennville careers of seniors Sydney DeJonge and Stephanie Fuller.
The Blackhawks’ top two scorers this season at 14.8 and 10.6 points per game, respectively, DeJonge led her team with nine points and five rebounds, while Fuller was close behind with seven points.
Those two—along with fellow seniors Judy Almanza, Mariah Null, Megan Phillips and Amerika Del Toro—will always hold a special place in Ramirez’s heart.
“The thing I will remember most is this group of seniors were the first ones who became a part of the basketball program I started to build when I came to Fennville four years ago when they were just eighth graders,” Ramirez said. “It was a struggle my first couple of years trying to change the culture of the girls’ program at Fennville, but each year we won more than the previous.
“They were the first group who got to be involved with the offseason workouts and skill camps I put together for the middle school and high school age groups. The skill level really improved every year to the point they set the standard for future Fennville teams.”
Tel Toro added five points in the loss, with juniors Hannah Schneider and Kelsy Overhiser going for four and two respective points.

For full story, pick up a copy of the March 12 issue of The Allegan County News or subscribe to the e-edition.

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