Hamilton coach Dan VanHekken (back row, far right) and his players celebrate were all smiles after winning their third consecutive district championship. (Photo by Loren Joostberns)

Hamilton beats Holland Christian to claim third straight district crown

Leo Martonosi

Hamilton senior Sarah Buresh doesn’t mind getting a little physical on the basketball court.
“She loves contact, no question about that,” said Hamilton coach Dan VanHekken after Buresh led the Hawkeyes to their third consecutive Class B district championship on Friday, March 2.
Buresh played a strong overall game in Hamilton’s 66-43 title clash and third win during the season over rival Holland Christian.
“Sarah played great,” VanHekken said. “There was no stopping her tonight.”
Buresh not only drained a game-high 24 points, but also collected nine rebounds and had some nifty passes for assists to several of her teammates in Hamilton’s 22nd straight win.
This district crown meant a little more than the previous two titles to Buresh as this is her senior year.
“It’s a super special feeling as a senior knowing this is my last district win,” Buresh said.
Several family members were on hand to support Buresh, including her uncle Matt Neil, who shined in basketball at Hastings High School and at Hope College.
A big grin appeared on Neil’s face when it was brought to his attention that his niece is thinking about not only playing basketball in college, but also rugby.
“Sarah is a very gifted athlete,” Neil said. “Whatever college she attends is getting not only an outstanding athlete, but an even better person.”
Buresh was thrilled when her classmate Ashlen Wolfram sank her first three-point bucket of the season in the first half.
“I’ve been telling her she can shoot and make the three all season,” Buresh said.
Wolfram’s triple was a dream come true for VanHekken. Literally.
“I had a dream last night that Ashlen hit a three,” VanHekken said. “I even told her that.”
A long 2-pointer at the first-half buzzer by sophomore Sally Merrill put the Hawkeyes in complete control at 35-16.
AJ Ediger, who is coming back from an injury, nailed two long triples while recording all 10 of her points in the first half.
“I don’t know if she’s 100 percent, but it was good to have her play her most extended time in a long time,” VanHekken said.
Although she’s not asked to score like her sister, junior guard Aarika Ediger had another strong overall game.
“Aarika can defend and pass and does a lot of good things out there,” VanHekken said.
The same thing could be said for Bria Schrotenboer, who added nine points for the Hawkeyes.


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