Hamilton’s Sierra Schrotenboer (right) chases down Byron Center’s Avery Zeinstra. (Photo by Nancy Deters)

Hamilton girls suffer loss to visiting Byron Center

By: 
Leo Martonosi

The Hamilton girls’ basketball team has been the queen of the OK Green Conference for the past several years.
But there appears to be a new contender for the throne, as Byron Center handed the Hawkeyes a 61-46 setback in a league clash on Friday, Jan. 24.
“It doesn’t matter what school or what team or what year it is, everyone always wants to beat the defending league champion,” longtime Byron Center coach Jen Slot said after her team posted the impressive victory over host Hamilton.
The loss dropped the Hawkeyes, who entered the season having won three straight conference championships, to 1-3 in the league and to 5-6 overall.
The Hawkeyes knew that Byron Center, like all the Green Conference teams, would be gunning for them this season after all of their recent success.
“The bottom line is if you don’t play well enough, you don’t usually win,” said Hamilton coach Jackie Schwark.
The good thing for Hamilton in this most recent loss was they showed signs of getting back on track.
“We been playing much better lately and came into tonight winning our last three games, which was something to build on,” Schwark said.
McKenna Ferguson, a freshman for Byron Center, led all scorers with 17 points. That was one more point than the team-high 16 points dropped in by Hamilton junior AJ Ediger.
“I thought our girls played very well against one of the best players in West Michigan,” Slot said, referring to Ediger, who also grabbed 12 rebounds.
The Bulldogs, who were on top 31-27 at halftime, took control of the game in the third stanza by outscoring the Hawkeyes 20-7, opening up a 17-point lead at 51-34 heading in the final quarter.
Ferguson, who plays more like a four-year player than a freshman, received some help in the form of 11 points from Avery Zeinstra.
Schwark was delighted with the offensive totals of Sierra Schrotenboer and Emma Berens, who cashed in with 12 and 10 points in that order.
“It’s always nice to see some other girls do well,” Schwark said.

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