Hopkins upends Grandville to win Hamilton Holiday Tournament
Jake Jewett is changing the culture at Hopkins.
“The kids are starting to believe what we are preaching,” Jewett said after the Vikings won the Hamilton boys’ basketball tournament on Thursday, Dec. 28, thanks to a 62-59 win over Class A Grandville.
Among those who are believing what the first-year Hopkins coach is saying is junior Hunter Lewellyn. Not only did Lewellyn lead a balanced Hopkins scoring attack with 18 points, but he also hauled down 10 rebounds.
“That kid can really get up there (jump) for someone that really isn’t that tall,” said second-year Grandville coach Ryan Klingler, who previously ran the successful boys’ program at Fennville for several years.
After losing its season opener a close tilt to Comstock Park, the Vikings have reeled off three consecutive victories.
Jewett isn’t surprised by Hopkins’ strong early season start.
“We have a lot of high character kids on this team and it’s showing,” Jewett said.
If Lewellyn wasn’t giving Klinger’s team fits, Josh Sapp (14 points), Drew Weber (12 points), Nolan Smith (nine points) and Colin Weber (five points) were.
“The kids are starting to trust each other,” Jewett said. “With us it’s the next guy up.”
Weber scored all 12 of his points in the final quarter as Hopkins held off the Bulldogs to claim the tournament trophy.
Except for the first quarter, which saw Grandville clinging to 10-9 advantage, Hopkins seemed to do everything well in leading at the intermission, 26-18 and 43-28 after 24 minutes.
Grandville had Jewett and the Hopkins faithful concerned as they drained one basket after another in trimming its once 17-point deficit of 41-24 to three points at 51-48 a little more than halfway through the fourth stanza.
“Our kids are scrappy and really battle,” Klingler said. “As a coach you really can’t ask for anything more than that.”
Lewellyn is having the time of his life early this season.
“We really believe in what we are doing and are having fun,” Lewellyn said. “A lot of that is because of our coach and our faith in each other.”
Hamilton’s first win of the season couldn’t have come at a better time for the Hawkeyes.
“The kids, the school and the community deserve this,” said Hamilton coach Brant Haverdink after his club’s 72-50 win over Kenowa Hills in the tournament’s consolation game.
The 1-5 Hawkeyes, who enjoyed a 31-21 halftime lead, played by far their best overall game of the season.
“It was a complete overall team effort offensively and defensively,” Haverdink said. “I couldn’t be happier.”
Junior Bobby Tasma scored a career-high 21 points, while also reaching double figures for Hamilton were Brad Osborne and Jacob Visscher with 12 points each and Trenton Lane with 10.
“This was amazing,” said Tasma. “After losing some tough games, we needed to win this game.”