By Randy Gregory, Michigan Sports Radio
Photo courtesy of Miles Postema
The boys’ basketball team at Rockford stretched their winning streak to 13 after wins over the next two hottest teams in the OK Red on the road last week. The Rams first traveled to Grand Haven on Tuesday, February 6. Rockford controlled the game from start to finish on their way to a 66-51 win over the Buccaneers. That was followed by a game at Grandville on Friday, February 9 that saw the Rams jump out to a 38-19 lead at the half before withstanding a late Bulldog run and claiming the 63-55 win.
The results left the Rams at 15-3 on the season and 10-0 in OK Red play. Just like on the girls’ side, that sets the stage for a pair of huge games for the Rams at home this week. A very talented Hudsonville squad will come calling on Tuesday, February 11 at 7:30 P.M. The Eagles are hanging on to hopes of a share of the conference crown with a 6-3 record. An upset over the Rams would go a long way towards reaching that goal. That will be followed by a visit from East Kentwood on Friday, February 16. The Falcons are 7-2 in conference play and could find themselves with a share of the lead should the Rams fall to both Hudsonville and themselves this week. Both contests are piggy-backed by girls’ contests against the same teams where they swap starting times. Big crowds are expected for both nights of great high school basketball.
“This was a huge week for us,” said Rockford Coach Kyle Clough. “I give our kids so much credit for not looking ahead to the challenges we face this week while beating two very good teams in their own right on the road. We played so much better defensively against Grand Haven this time around for the entire game and held Grandville to only nineteen points in the first half on Friday. It has been a total team effort for everyone here. Andrew Landis, Jake Bascom, Drake Irwin and Dylan Gross have kind of been the headliners, but Seth Anderson came up with three huge plays for us this week. Add in Michael DeKuiper and Lucas Pitsch toughing their way through injuries and starting to hit their strides and the contributions of Isaac Poot and we have a pretty deep lineup of contributors.”
Landis was the big dog on Tuesday as he poured in 25 points in a continuation of a fabulous senior season. Bascom tossed in 13 points and added seven rebounds and Pitsch and Gross added nine points apiece. Gross tacked on six rebounds and three assists despite his diminutive 5’9″ height. DeKuiper didn’t dent the scoring column for Rockford but hounded the Grand Haven guards all night long to key the strong defensive effort from Rockford.
Landis was again the leader offensively against Grandville with a 16-point effort. But the depth of Rockford showed through in a big way down the lineup. Irwin tossed in 15 points while gathering in nine rebounds with Gross adding 11 points and five assists. The two big guys came through as well for the Rams with Bascom adding nine points and 7 rebounds and Pitsch contributing 8 points and five rebounds.
” We really pinpointed these last two weeks against four really good teams,” said Clough. “The OK Red seems to always have had one or two really good teams every year but this time there are five strong teams battling each other night in and night out. When you have a 13-game winning streak it could be easy to look past certain situations, but it seems like nearly every game comes down a one or two possessions. We have a saying to “be where your feet are” and that is where we find ourselves this upcoming week. We will have to be on top of our game in all facets to beat two outstanding teams this week.”