Hawkeyes use balanced attack to soar past Vikings
When a basketball team has four players score in double figures and limits the opposition to one double-digit scorer, the odds of success are usually pretty good.
Such was the case for Hamilton in its non-league contest with host Hopkins on Friday, Dec. 21, as the Hawkeyes improved to 5-0 on the strength of a 74-47 win.
Bria Schrotenboer led the scoring for Hamilton with 19 points, while AJ Ediger had 14 points and Sierra Schrotenboer and Sally Merrin each had 10 points.
While Hamilton stayed unbeaten, the loss dropped the Vikings to 1-4.
Hopkins coach John Robinson said his young team may not play a stronger team than Hamilton during the regular season.
“They are big, fast and can shoot the ball,” Robinson said of the Hawkeyes. “The only team that I can think of at this time in our league that might match up with them is NorthPointe (Christian).”
The Hawkeyes stormed out of the locker room on a roll to open the game.
“They were on fire,” Robinson said after Hamilton poured in 19 points and held Hopkins to only three points on a basket by Olivia Sebright and a free throw from Kennedy Helderop.
Helderop, who finished with 17 points, entered the game averaging 26 points, six rebounds and four steals per game.
Robinson isn’t surprised by the big numbers from the lone senior on his roster.
“She’s a very good all-around player who was our third leading scorer last year,” Robinson said of Helderop.
VanHekken, who earned his milestone 200th career coaching win at Hamilton three days earlier against Hudsonville, just smiled when asked if Helderop reminded him of some of his players.
“She’s a hustler. Obviously a very good player,” VanHekken said.
With Helderop leading the way, the Vikings outscored the Hawkeyes 25-16 in the second quarter to trim Hamilton’s lead to seven points at the half, 35-28.
VanHekken couldn’t recall the last time one of his teams gave up 25 points in a quarter.
“I’m going to have to look that up,” he said.
With several of his players getting into the scoring column, the Hawkeyes tallied 20 points and held the Vikings to seven points in the third quarter to take a 55-35 lead into the final eight minutes.
Robinson was pleased with the play of freshman Lexi Teunissen and Maya Kerber.
“They’ve come a long way in such a short time,” Robinson said. “You have to remember they were playing middle school ball at this time last year.”
Even though his team lost by four touchdowns, Robinson said he and his team can learn something from playing against such a talented squad.
“They really push the gas to the peddle and are fun to watch,” Robinson said.
Hamilton’s outstanding sophomore center Ediger took a tumble in the fourth quarter after tripping over a Hopkins player.
“It was a physical game, but I’ve played in a lot of physical games,” Ediger said.
Hopkins junior Payton Nichols said it was no disgrace to lose to Hamilton.
“They are ranked sixth in the state in Class B,” Nichols said.