FRUITPORT – Coming in with a two-game losing skid, the Fruitport boys basketball team needed a win Friday night.
Then when you add in the fact that it was incredibly difficult week in the Fruitport community, with the tragic death of a student-athlete, the Trojans had even more motivation against Grand Rapids West Catholic.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing, but the Trojans were resilient while withstanding a second half run by the Falcons and came away with an impressive 65-54 O-K Blue conference victory on their home floor.
“I think our guys, when they came into the gym today, there was a real focus and energy and excitement for this game, for a couple of different reasons, obviously,” said Fruitport coach Steve Erny. “It did feel like a big game. I think the guys came out and were really focused from the moment they walked into the school tonight.”
Fruitport held a strong 12-point lead at halftime, but West Catholic came out with a furious run to tie the game just 3:15 into the third quarter.
But the Trojans took the punch and responded with a 15-6 run of their own over the rest of the quarter to take control of the game.
“I thought we had some runs that did not go our way and we’ve got to fix some things, but we were able to get it right back to where it was,” Erny said. “When they got it back to a tie game in the second half, our guys were able to respond. That’s the most important thing.
“You always want to try to figure out how to fix those runs other teams make, but I’m proud of the group for responding every time they jumped on us a little bit.”
Bode Anspach led Fruitport with 26 points, including five 3-pointers and a 9-for-10 performance at the free-throw line.
“Bode’s a senior and he’s been a starter for three years now,” Erny said. “You almost expect him to be mentally there, feeling like it’s his time. He’s had some of his worst games the last two that we’ve played, so for him to have a night like tonight was really big for his confidence, I think. That was nice to see.”
Fruitport is now 6-4 on the season and 3-2 in the O-K Blue. The Trojans will face rival Spring Lake at home next Tuesday.
West Catholic led for much of the first quarter, by as many as six points, but Fruitport ended the quarter on a 12-4 run to even the score at 16-16 at the buzzer.
Bode Anspach scored seven points in the first quarter, followed by Kyle Burke with 5.
The Trojans dominated the second quarter to the tune of 21-9, including a 14-0 run at one point, and led 37-25 at halftime. Burke and Anspach led the way with five points each in the second.
West Catholic made its move right out of the halftime locker room, rattling off 12 unanswered points to tie the game. Fruitport responded with a run of its own, including seven points from Anspach and four from Ryan Bosch, and led 52-43 headed into the fourth.
The Falcons got as close as four points with 4:30 to play, but Fruitport went 8-for-10 at the foul stripe in the fourth quarter to secure the win.
Burke was in double figures with 10 points, followed by Ryan Bosch with nine. Paschal Jolman scored six for the Trojans and Andrew Spyke, Grade Anspach and Collin Jolman had four apiece.