Hawkeyes stay unbeaten with victory over rival Maroons
Bria Schrotenboer, one of the area’s top offensive threats when it comes to girls’ basketball, strives to be at her best when the game is on the line.
Hamilton coach Dan VanHekken wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It’s nice to have the ball in her hands at the end of the game,” said VanHekken a few minutes after his Hawkeyes stayed undefeated for the season at 13-0 by upending Holland Christian 68-57 on Friday, Feb. 1.
Schrotenboer drilled a game-best 22 points in the Hawkeyes’ triumph in front of the large crowd.
“We felt it was an advantage for us in the fourth quarter when the ball was in Bria’s hands,” VanHekken said.
Schrotenboer broke open the back-and-forth game by scoring two consecutive layups to give Hamilton a 50-46 lead going into the final quarter. With the game still up for grabs, Schrotenboer sank three free throws to keep her team on top for good.
The Hamilton senior, who will play Division 1 soccer at Michigan State University, had the home fans buzzing when she split two Maroon defenders to toss a sweet pass to Olivia Lappinga for two points to seal the win. The crowd-pleasing play increased the Hawkeyes’ margin to eight points at 63-55 with about a minute to play in the game.
Schrotenboer loves battling the archrival Maroons.
“It is fun going out there and competing in this rivalry,” Schrotenboer said.
Schrotenboer doesn’t need to be Hamilton’s top scorer.
“If I get stopped, I just kick it back to another one of our players,” said Schrotenboer, referring to teammates such as AJ Ediger, Sally Merrill, Aarika Ediger, Olivia Lappinga and younger sister Sierra Schrotenboer, among others.
“We have a lot of weapons,” VanHekken said.
AJ Ediger and Sierra Schrotenboer also scored in double figures for the Hawkeyes with 17 and 11 points respectively. Merrill flexed her muscles by adding eight points.
“Sally has been playing very well,” VanHekken said.
The always-game Maroons haven’t beaten the Hawkeyes since Heather Swierenga took over coaching the varsity program three years ago. That, however, doesn’t mean the Hawkeyes take them lightly.
Far from it, in fact.
“It doesn’t matter what their record is,” VanHekken said. “Heather’s team always plays us tough.”