Hopkins holds off Fennville for season-opening win
Those are the words second-year Hopkins girls’ basketball coach John Robinson chose when describing junior guard Taryn Kilbane.
And Kilbane certainly lived up to that description in the fourth quarter of the Vikings’ season-opening contest against host Fennville on Tuesday, Dec. 1.
Kilbane scored eight of her game-best 17 points in the final stanza to help Hopkins hold off a pesky Blackhawk squad and post the 52-44 victory.
“We brought Taryn up (to the varsity team) just before districts last season and she made an immediate impact,” Robinson said. “She had kind of a quiet first half tonight, but she really came on strong and hit some big shots when we needed it.
“And the big thing was she wasn’t forcing anything. She was playing in the flow of the game and the flow of the offense.”
The win by the Vikings spoiled the varsity-coaching debut of Fennville’s Cory Howard.
Not that Howard was disappointed with his team’s effort or the energy with which they played.
“The girls went out there and they battled hard for four quarters, just like we asked them to,” said Howard, who had coached in the boys’ basketball program at Fennville for the past decade. “Being the first game of the season, you never know exactly what to expect. But I’m definitely pleased with the way we played.”
Twice in the fourth quarter the Blackhawks pulled to within two points of the lead. The first time was at 42-20 with 3:20 left to play on a basket by Madison Raak and the second time came at 46-44 on an Eliya Pantoja free throw with 1:24 remaining.
But Hopkins closed out the win by scoring the game’s final six points, with Kilbane scoring two of those and Bailey Ballard accounting for the other four.
For full story, pick up a copy of the December 3 issue of The Allegan County News or subscribe to the e-edition.