Hopkins players Grant Stevens (center) and Jacob Sapp (right) provided defensive pressure to Plainwell's Benjamin Gibson.

Late rally lifts Hopkins over Trojans in disrict quarterfinal

By: 
Jason Wesseldyk

Plainwell boys’ basketball coach Dan Klein sat on a bench in a locker room at South Haven High School after his team’s Class B district opener with Hopkins on Monday, March 9.
As he thought through the final three-and-a-half minutes of the game, Klein couldn’t help but think of the wise words offered up by that noted philosopher, Ron Burgundy.
“Boy, that escalated quickly,” said Klein, quoting Will Ferrell’s character from the 2004 movie “Anchorman.”
It did indeed.
Following a 10-0 run to start the fourth quarter, the Trojans found themselves leading 53-48. That’s when things began to escalate.
Hopkins closed the game on a 19-3 over the final 3:22 to post the 67-58 win in come-from-behind fashion, ending Plainwell’s season in the process.
The Vikings were slated to play Paw Paw in a semifinal contest on Wednesday, March 11, with the winner advancing to the district final on Friday, March 13, against either Otsego or Allegan. The title game is scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m. in South Haven.
The win is the second for Hopkins in two meetings with Plainwell this season. The Vikings also posted a 60-51 victory over the Trojans in a regular-season game on Feb. 10.
“The first time we played them, they played mainly man-to-man (defense) pretty much the whole game,” Hopkins coach Darrin Smith said. “But I knew they had a good 2-3 zone, so we worked on that a lot the past week to get ready for it.”
Despite being prepared for the Plainwell defensive scheme, the Vikings (10-11) still appeared to be on the brink of elimination as they faced the five-point deficit with less than four minutes to play.
But Tyler Schultz and his Hopkins teammates had other ideas.
Two straight baskets by Schultz cut the Plainwell lead to a single point at 53-52, with steal-turned-layup from Jacob Saap putting the Vikings on top 54-53.
A triple by Vikings Ryan Pierce and a bucket from teammate Grant Stevens followed before Trojan Hogan Yaw finally stopped the bleeding with a layup for Plainwell.

But the Trojans would get no closer as scored eight of the final nine points to seal the victory.

For full story, pick up a copy of the March 12 issue of The Allegan County News or subscribe to the e-edition.

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