West Ottawa basketball heads to Grandville tonight in the district finals


Laura Veldhof

Come add your energy to a packed house tonight for the game at Grandville.

Ben Riley

After a thrilling 15-point comeback against Hudsonville, the boy’s basketball team is headed back to the district championship for the second year in a row and the fourth time in six years. 

The Panthers (10-12, 7-8 OK RED) will face the Grandville Bulldogs (12-10, 6-9 OK RED) tonight at 7:00 pm in Grandville, after the Bulldogs beat Jenison by a score of 56-47 on Wednesday.  The leading scorers for Grandville on Wednesday were Trey Johnson, Tyson Mann, and Brayden Gable, each with 18 points. Gable’s 18 included an impressive “posterizing” dunk.

West Ottawa stormed back to their win largely due to a fantastic 3rd quarter in which they outscored Hudsonville 22-5. Sr. Brady Bosma was a big part of that run. He scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half.

West Ottawa split the regular-season series with Grandville, winning the first contest 47-44 and falling short 42-43 in the second. 

In those matchups, the Panthers exploited the Bulldogs on the fast break, with Sr. Kobe Haglund pushing the ball up the court. Ideally, Haglund wants an open look directly off the fast break, as his speed, ball handling, and craftiness are often a source of offensive production. 

However, the third time around the Panthers expect the Bulldogs to be more alert on defense. When the fast break is slowed, the Panthers hope to “get smaller defenders on people like Brady Bosma and Colin Shriver,” Haglund said. These mismatches can be achieved by setting screens on and off the ball to create havoc among the defense, which causes Grandville to switch the players they are guarding. The goal is to get Haglund’s defender on a taller Shriver or Bosma, who can release uncontested shots. Haglund adds that action off these screens is important as well in keeping the defense honest. 

Another key to West Ottawa’s success is coming down with rebounds. A weakness against Grandville in past games will need to improve this time around. 

The winner of tonight’s game will advance to the regionals, facing the winner of Wyoming (14-7) and East Grand Rapids (11-10). That regional game will be held at Grand Haven High School at 7:00 on Monday, March 14.