Hamilton beats rival Holland Christian in district final
It’s supposed to be hard to beat a good team three times in one season.
Apparently someone forgot to tell that to members of the Hamilton girls’ basketball team.
Joslyn Bronkhorst and her Hawkeye teammates took care of business from the outset of its Class B district championship game against Holland Christian on Friday, March 3, collecting the 51-42 win.
The victory was Hamilton’s third over the Maroons this season, including a nail-biting affair last month at the Holland Civic Center in which the Hawkeyes nearly blew a 14-point fourth-quarter lead.
“There was pressure on us especially after what happened at the Civic Center,” said Bronkhorst, who led the way with 13 points.
The district title is the second straight for the Hawkeyes.
“This one (district title) is more rewarding,” said Hamilton coach Dan VanHekken. “It’s a great accomplishment.”
Ten of Bronkhorst’s game-best 13 points came in the first half to help her team take a 22-14 lead to the halftime break.
“Joslyn is a streak shooter,” VanHekken said. “It’s fun to watch her when she gets on one of her rolls.”
A 3-point basket by Hamilton’s excellent passing and shooting point guard Brooklyn Groenheide gave the Hawkeyes a 13-4 lead with time about to expire in the first stanza.
“It’s always important to get off to a quick start,” VanHekken said.
The Hawkeyes were on top 33-24 heading to the final quarter.
Hamilton iced the game with some deadly free throw shooting in the fourth quarter from Groenheide (10 points) and Bria Schrotenboer (eight points).
“We hit some clutch free throws,” VanHekken said.
Franesha Robinson (five points) did her best to live up to her nickname of “Lion” with a tenacious effort that saw her turn a pair of free throws that didn’t fall into baskets for the Hawkeyes.
“She did a nice job of getting those rebounds off missed free throws and converting them into points,” VanHekken said.
Ashlen Wolfram (seven points) was proud of Robinson and all of her teammates.
“I can’t say enough about the girls on this team,” Wolfram said. “They played their hearts out.”
The 22-1 Hawkeyes, who are ranked seventh in Class B, will have revenge on their minds when they entertain Muskegon Oakridge in regional play at home on Tuesday, March 7.
“That’s the same team that knocked us out of the regional tournament last year,” said longtime Hamilton statistician and scorekeeper Lorrn Joostberens “Hopefully, we can get even with them this time around.”