The last few years, Wayland’s boys basketball team had a run in with Godwin Heights early in the state playoffs. This year as a result of district realignment, these two teams will not meet until they reach Breslin Center. In the district final, the host Wildcats faced the Blackhawks of Fennville, who finished entered the contest with an 18-3 record. Led by senior Avery Hudson, Wayland came out victorious by a final score of 66-46.
Most impressive throughout the night was the stout defense of Wayland. Coach Mike Hudson’s teams always play stingy defense and get after the opposing teams forcing them into tough shots and a plethora of traps. Tonight, this held true as they forced Fennville into a large amount of three point shots that were attempted from well beyond twenty-five feet. They forced the Blackhawks into a 31.4% shooting night (16/51), though this number was heavily inflated in the fourth quarter. At halftime. Fennville was shooting a horrid 14.3% (4/28), yet they only trailed 26-14.
Only down twelve with an awful shooting percentage, it appeared that the Blackhawks could work their way back into the contest. Unfortunately for Fennville, as their offense began to improve, so did Wayland’s–especially Avery Hudson. Hudson was quiet in the first quarter as he only had five points, but he finished very strong tonight with 29 points on 9/16 from the field and another 100% effort from the line (six of six). Another key effort came from Mitch Dykstra, who finished the night with twenty-one points on 9/18 from the floor.
With their win, Wayland advances to the Class B Regional at Allegan. They will face the winner of District 34, which will host their final on Saturday night as 14-7 Three Rivers takes on 18-4 Paw Paw in Vicksburg (5:00 PM). On the other side of the regional bracket is 15-8 Battle Creek Harper Creek and 19-3 Benton Harbor. Regional play will begin on Monday at 5:30 with Benton Harbor and Battle Creek Harper Creek facing off, and it will be followed by Wayland and the District 34 winner at approximately 7:30.