By Adam Trombley
NORTON SHORES – The Western Michigan Christian girls basketball team walked off the court on Tuesday as co-champions of the Lakes 8 Conference.
The Warriors did it by beating Ludington 49-34, after losing to the Orioles by 13 points just last month. That’s how much WMC has improved over the course of the short season, and now the team will have a trophy to show for its hard work.’
WMC is now 14-1 overall and finished 7-1 in the conference.
“We worked toward this game since (the first matchup with Ludington), and I think our defense has improved every game since that day,” said WMC Coach Jeremy Goorman. “That was the icing on the cake this year. We’ve had a great year, we haven’t had a ton of tough games, and Ludington was the one team that just handed it to us.”
The Warriors took a commanding lead in the first quarter and never looked back, due to effective rebounding and a tough defense that led to a number of steals. Taylor Folkema had seven points in the first quarter for WMC while Kyla Wiersema added six, giving the Warriors a 17-5 lead at the first buzzer.
Just before halftime, Folkema hit an off-balance shot near the bucket as she was falling down, giving the Warriors a 25-14 lead at the break.
Ludington went on an early 9-3 run in the third quarter and pulled within five points, but the Warriors recovered and led 37-25 heading into the fourth.
The Warriors increased their lead down the stretch as the Orioles started to run out of gas. Kyla Wiersema and Madison Wiersema each scored four points in the fourth quarter and grabbed key rebounds to help WMC sew up the victory.
Kyla Wiersema finished with 16 points on the night, while Folkema also scored 16 despite sitting in spots due to foul trouble. Madison Wiersema totaled nine points and Kelcea Waller snagged seven rebounds.
RyAnn Rohrer and Abi Bandstra both finished with nine points for the Orioles. Hailey Stowe added seven.
Ludington Coach Warren Stowe said his team did a good job of beating WMC’s 1-3-1 defense, but they could not keep up with WMC’s size and speed. Despite the loss, he said his team can still be proud of the fact that it won a share of the league title.
“We told the players coming in, the pressure wasn’t on us, it was their senior night, this was their chance to win a conference, and we had already done that,” said Stowe, whose team is now 10-4 overall and 7-1 in conference play.