Hamilton picks up first league win of season
Hamilton junior Jager Haverdink seemed to be playing with extra purpose in his team’s 71-54 OK Green win over Byron Center on Friday, Jan. 24.
“It was amazing to see how focused Jager was with his father Cliff, who arguably was one the best male athletes to come out of Hamilton, dealing with some health issues this week,” said longtime Hamilton official score keeper and school historian Loren Joostberns.
Haverdink not only helped the Hawekeyes (2-6 overall and 1-3 in the league) by scoring 12 points, but also by picking the pockets of several Bulldogs with five steals.
“Jager obviously had a great game,” said Hamilton coach Nick Kronemeyer. “I couldn’t be prouder of him.”
Kronemeyer also had special words for two of Haverdink’s classmates, Logan Zoerhof and Tyler Stezowski, who shared team-scoring honors with 15 points apiece. Another Hamilton junior, Andrew Helder tossed in seven points.
“A lot of guys stepped up tonight,” Kronemeyer said. “After playing our worst game of the year on Tuesday against Zeeland West and then playing our best game of the year tonight speaks highly of the character and potential of this team.”
Kronemeyer’s young team—which includes two freshmen in Brant Goodpaster and Austin Osborne—outscored the Bulldogs 21-6 in the second period to lead at the halftime break 30-20. The offensive highlight of the game came in the first half on Stezowski’s 360-degree bucket, which delighted the Hawkeye student section.
A familiar face was on the bench for Byron Center, as former Fennville coach Joe Rodriguez is in his first season with the Bulldogs.
“I loved Fennville and wasn’t really looking to move but going to Byron Center was a great opportunity for me and my wife,” Rodriguez said.
Matthew Richards, a mountain of a young man at 6-foot-five, 260, tallied a game-high 19 points for the Bulldogs.