Hawkeyes upend Vikings for first victory
The Hopkins girls’ basketball team entered its Friday, Dec. 13, game with Hamilton unbeaten, while the Hawkeyes were winless. So, guess which team was victorious?
If you thought the Vikings, you’d be wrong.
“I won’t call winning the game a relief, but it sure feels good to get that first win,” first-year Hamilton coach Jacquelyn Schwark said after her team’s 72-45 victory.
Hamilton, which reached the state semifinals last season, started the season with three straight losses.
“We opened against three very good teams,” Schwark said of Jenison, Rockford and Grand Rapids South Christian.
Despite the 27-point difference in the final score, first-year Hopkins coach Tim Hoogewind likes the makeup of his team.
“We knew coming into tonight’s game that this would be difficult,” Hoogewind said. “We knew Hamilton would be extra hungry to get their first win.”
The Hawkeyes drained 24 points and held the Vikings to only two points in the third quarter to break open a game that was tied at 33-33 at halftime.
“It was great for our girls to understand what we are capable of doing,” Schwark said. “The third quarter was an indicator of who we are.”
AJ Ediger, Hamilton’s talented 6-foot-2 center, led the Hawkeyes in scoring with 23 points.
“She’s definitely a very good player, and a tough matchup for us,” Hoogewind said.
With one of Hamilton’s top players—Sierra Schrotenboer—not on the floor because of a foot injury, Schwark was happy to see Olivia Lappinga on the floor for the first time this season after recovering from an ankle injury.
“It was great to have Olivia back,” Schwark said.
With Schrotenboer out and Lappinga not 100 percent, the Hawkeyes needed someone to step up. And that someone was senior Sally Merrill.
“We came out and played Hamilton defense tonight,” said Merrill, who closely followed Ediger in scoring with a career-high 19 points. “It’s the way we need to play in every game.”
“Sally obviously had a very good game,” Schwark said.
Kyra Kleinheksel, Alexis VanderZwaag and Brea Hoeve, added nine, seven and six respective points for the Hawkeyes.
Olivia Sebright led the Vikings with 11 points.
“I thought Olivia and her sister Sam (five points) both played very well overall,” Hoogewind said.
Hoogewind had similar words to say about Maya Kerber (seven points), and Evangelina Helderop (five points)
“The great thing about this team is they all play hard and have great attitudes,” Hoogewind said.