Hamilton’s Alexis Vanderzwaag (5) battles for position with a Holland player. (Photo by Nancy Deters)

Ediger, Merrill lead Hamilton to victory over visiting Holland

By: 
Leo Martonosi

Former Hamilton girls’ basketball coach Dan VanHekken—the program’s leader in career wins—was in the stands when the Hawkeyes hosted Holland on Friday, Jan. 10.
“This will always be a special place,” VanHekken said after Hamilton’s 48-35 triumph over the Dutch.
VanHekken resigned after last season so he could watch his son, Jackson who is a sophomore at Holland. Several of his former players—including AJ Ediger (17 points) and Sally Merrill (15 points)—couldn’t help but notice his presence at the game.
“It was good to see Coach again,” Ediger said.
Holland coach Dan Telgenhof probably wished VanHekken wasn’t there giving his former players some added motivation.
“We knew they would be pumped up for this game, but so were we,” Telgenhof said. “We can have a very good season if we come out and play with this kind of energy every time out.”
Hamilton first-year coach Jacquelyn Schwark said the key to Hamilton’s OK Green Conference-opening win was her team’s quick start, spearheaded by Ediger and Merrill.
All 15 of Merrill’s points and 13 of Ediger’s points came in the first half, which saw Hamilton leave the floor at halftime with a 34-10 lead.
“It was great to see us get off to such a good start,” Schwark said. “It’s something we emphasize going into every game.”
Even though the 3-4 Hawkeyes have struggled at times, better days are in store, according to Merrill.
“Our goals haven’t changed,” Merrill said. “It’s to win conference and hopefully district and make a strong run at state.”
Aaliyah Smith led Holland with 16 points.
 

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