Players from Springport and Vandercook Lake high schools battle for the basketball during a game at VCL Friday night. Photo by Jeff Steers, JTV Sports.
By Jeff Steers
Springport High School came within an eyelash of winning a Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 3 regional basketball title a year ago.
The Spartans have a plan to go deep into the playoffs again this season … add another head to the two-headed monster.
Springport is off to a 2-0 record with wins over Leslie and Vandercook Lake. The Spartans defeated Leslie 63-31 earlier in the week, then beat the Jayhawks 67-26 on the road Friday.
Seven of the 10 players for Springport scored at least four points in the win. More importantly, sophomore Ryann Overweg scored 15 points in the road victory. The Spartans have relied on the two-headed monster of Alana Nelson and Alex Maher the past few seasons.
“It is critical to go deep into the playoffs to have a third option … we need a three-headed monster,” SHS Coach Rick Saldana said. “We spent the summer playing against a lot of larger teams like Lakeview and Harper Creek to get better.
Saldana believes better competition will be important for the Spartans this season.
Overweg, a sophomore, scored 12 points in the first half as the Spartans jumped out to a 23-10 first-quarter lead and 47-14 at halftime. She came up to the varsity level last winter to be part of the Spartans’ playoff run.
“I have really looked up to our group of seniors,” Overweg said. “You know that Alex (Maher) and Alana (Nelson) are going to score 20 points per game.
“I need to be one of the players to add on to that.”
Nelson, a Division 3 all-state player a year ago, scored her 1,000th point against Leslie. She finished with 22 points, nine steals, six rebounds, and four assists against Vandercook.
Maher added seven points and seven rebounds in the win. Madison Kauffman scored six points for the Spartans (2-0).
Vandercook was led by Anne Leach, Ericka Cheney, and Kate Leach with six points apiece against the Spartans.
The Jayhawks are rebuilding under Terrence Willis for a second season.
“We have to learn toughness and use fundamental play to win,” Willis said. “We will be successful keeping the pace at 40 to 45 points.
“With four girls back and two seniors, we will get better.”
Vandercook Lake (0-2) lost to Homer 40-20 to begin the season.