HOLLAND — The Fruitport girls basketball team has been putting in the work since last March to improve on a disappointing 4-19 finish last year.

Through three games this year, that work is paying off. The Trojans picked up another win Friday night, beating Holland 37-28 to improve to 3-0 on the young season.

“Our girls have been there all summer long putting in work, they’ve been there Sunday mornings,” Fruitport Coach Brian Packard said. “They just have been putting in way more work than we’ve done in the past. They deserve all the credit in the world for it.”

Fruitport’s Izabel Hanson-Wilbur inbounds the ball. Photo/Adam Vander Kooy

Packard said the team’s work ethic has been led by a strong group of six seniors, including Friday’s leading scorer Ashton Olson.

“It’s definitely paying off,” Olson said of the team’s efforts. “Working every single day in the summer, we had several camps and workouts on Sundays. Having the whole team come in and work on stuff, even without Coach telling us what to do, is super important. For next season even, working now will continue into seasons after ours.”

The Trojans were able to grind out the win behind another standout defensive performance. Fruitport swarmed the Dutch all night, forcing 31 turnovers and holding Holland to just one point in the final 7:12 of the game.

Fruitport’s Grace Sweet launches a shot over a Holland defender. Photo/Adam Vander Kooy

“Our mantra is defense first, for sure,” Packard said. “We play a different style that some teams haven’t seen before, which we’re hoping we can keep improving on.

“The seniors this year have really grasped it and have worked their tails off to get better at it. I think they see there’s a lot of opportunities for turnovers, there’s opportunities for fast break layups.”

Through three games, Fruitport is allowing opponents an average of just 25.3 points per game.

Coach Brian Packard and the bench cheer for the players on the court. Photo/Adam Vander Kooy

“Playing good defense was definitely the one key thing that we were really trying to work on,” Olson said. “We work on defense every single day.”

Fruitport led 11-4 after the first quarter, ending the frame on an 8-0 run over the final three minutes. Freshman Izabel Hanson-Wilbur led the way with five points.

Holland closed the gap with a 7-4 edge in the second quarter to trim the Trojans’ halftime lead to 15-11.

Fruitport’s Ashton Olson gets ready to release a shot. Photo/Adam Vander Kooy

Fruitport grew its lead to as many as 12 points in the third, but an 8-2 run by Holland to close the quarter made the score 28-22 heading into the fourth.

Holland scored five quick points to open the fourth, cutting the Trojan lead to one with 7:12 to play. Then Fruitport got big baskets from Kenzie Page and Olson and clamped down on defense to end the game on a 9-1 run.

Olson led Fruitport with 13 points, five rebounds and two steals. Hanson-Wilbur had nine points and six steals. Rhiannon Raleigh added six points, seven rebounds and three blocks. Jorja Blackmer had six points and five steals for the Trojans.eddie