Fennville boys suffer tough loss to visiting Zeeland West
By Jason Wesseldyk
FENNVILLE —With his team holding a 10-point lead over visiting Zeeland West at halftime of this non-conference showdown on Friday, Dec. 29, Fennville boys’ basketball coach Joe Rodriguez was feeling pretty good.
He was feeling even better after Marcel Parcher buried a 3-pointer to open the second half, pushing the Blackhawks advantage to 13 points.
By the time the final buzzer sounded, however, Rodriguez wasn’t feeling nearly as good.
Zeeland West outscored Fennville by 22 points the remainder of the second half to overcome the double-digit deficit and hand the Blackhawks the 60-51 defeat.
With the loss, Fennville’s record evened at 2-2.
“It was a game of runs by both teams tonight,” Rodriguez said.
Fennville had the first of those runs, scoring the game’s first seven points to grab the early momentum.
“I was happy with how we got out the gate tonight, jumping out to that quick lead,” Rodriguez said.
Fennville maintained that early advantage throughout the first half, building its 10-point lead at halftime.
“I was proud of how we played in the first half,” Rodriguez said. “We played hard and disciplined right up to halftime and were able to end the first half with a nice lead.”
“We may have gotten a little complacent,” Rodriguez said. “In the second half, Zeeland West was the more disciplined team and we turned it over too much to come away with a win. Hats off to them.”
Zeeland West began its comeback immediately after Parcher’s triple to open the third quarter, as Dux coach David Klyn quickly called a time out.
“I think they realized I wasn’t too happy with the timeout nine seconds into the second half,” Klyn said. “They started to play as a team and do the things defensively we need to do as a team, which led to our offense.”
The Dux finished the third quarter on a 19-5 run, erasing the entire Fennville lead and taking a one-point edge to the final quarter.
The Blackhawks weren’t done, though. Matthew Sanchez, Austin Lewis and Jordan Pena connected back-to-back-to-back 3-pointers to give Fennville the 46-41 lead with 4:38 left in the final frame.
Then back came Zeeland West, as Mason Bakker scored a pair of baskets followed by a trey from Justin Overzet as the Dux reclaimed the lead at 51-47 with less than two minutes showing on the clock.
“Our team hasn’t quite figured out how to stop the bleeding when things are going bad,” Rodriguez said. “I think that’s going to happen when you have a lack of senior leadership like we do right now.
“We have a lot of returning senior players, but not a lot of guys who got experience last year. So we’re still trying to find their way as they’re trying to become those leaders. We’re going to need that moving forward.”
Sanchez finished with a team-best 14 points for Fennville, while Lewis went for 12.
Bakker paced Zeeland West (2-2) with 19 points, followed by Eli Steffen with 13 points and Brady Golker with 10 points.