The Hamilton boys’ basketball team let one slip away in its OK Green Conference clash with Zeeland West on Friday, Jan. 27. “We just didn’t make enough plays when we needed to and lost a little bit of our energy in the second half,” said Hamilton coach Br
The Hamilton boys’ basketball team let one slip away in its OK Green Conference clash with Zeeland West on Friday, Jan. 27.
“We just didn’t make enough plays when we needed to and lost a little bit of our energy in the second half,” said Hamilton coach Brant Haverdink.
The result for the Hawkeyes was a hard-to-take 56-54 setback to the Dux.
The key to Hamilton’s fifth loss in six league games was in the third period, which saw the Hawkeyes (4-6 overall) dropping in only nine points after being up by eight points, 30-22, at the intermission. The Dux, meanwhile, came through with 17 points during that span.
“We missed a few easy baskets and Zeeland West killed us on the offensive glass,” Haverdink said.
Although Kaleb Moore, Justin Stezowski, Tyler Eding and the other Hawkeyes did their best to hold their own on both sides of the court, Hamilton had a difficult time containing West’s muscular 6-foot-4, 240-pound center Jayk Slager, who finished with 19 points and 13 rebounds.
“He’s a big, strong kid,” Haverdink said of Slager, who also stood out on the football field for the Dux last fall.
Nine of Slager’s points came in the game’s final quarter. Two of his points put the Dux up for good at 41-39.
Slager and Mason Bakker (14 points) scored all but two of West’s points in the final eight minutes.
“Those two guys were dominant for us inside,” said Dux coach David Klyn. “It came down to our defense, which showed our desire to win this game.”
Hamilton started fast in taking a 16-7 lead at the end of the opening quarter behind the play of Moore (15 points for the game), Stezowski (13 points) and Eding (nine points).
An old-fashioned 3-point play (bucket and free throw) by Keaton Mudd put the Hawkeyes up 21-13 midway through the second quarter. Another basket by Moore pushed Hamilton’s lead to 26-17.
Zeeland West went on a 9-0 run in the third period on the