After starting the OK Blue conference season with a disappointing 1-4 record, the Cedar Springs boy’s varsity basketball team needed motivation. “We set a goal about halfway through the year to finish in the top half of the conference, and we needed to win 3 of our last 4 league games to do it,” said Coach Andy Secor. With a victory over Forest Hills Northern two weeks ago and a loss to Comstock Park last Tuesday, the Red Hawks needed to win their last two league games to achieve their goal.
Last Wednesday the Red Hawks hosted West Catholic in a blizzard make up game. In the first half, the lead changed 6 times as the teams traded punches. The Red Hawks took a 4-point lead with 3:50 to go in the half on Tyler Covell’s second 3-pointer of the game. Then West Catholic took over and led 21-18 at halftime. The Falcons led 31-27 after 3 quarters, and extended their lead to 9 points early in the 4th. Then, with things looking bleak for the Red Hawks, senior Alec Hanmer took charge. Hanmer scored 12 points in the final 5:27 of the game. Hanmer hit two 3-pointers to keep the game close. Then with 4:01 to go and Cedar still trailing 40-33, Hanmer drove the lane and hit a short jumper, was fouled and made his free throw to cut the Falcon lead to 4. A Hank Porter 3-pointer cut the Falcon lead to one point. Then Hanmer hit another 3-pointer to give Cedar a 42-40 lead with 1:30 left. The Red Hawks got the defensive stop they needed and West Catholic was forced to foul. Free Throws by Ryan Dines and Hank Porter iced the game for the Red Hawks. The final score was Cedar Springs 44, West Catholic 40.
“I’m not sure I’ve ever been part of a game where we finished on an 11-0 run to win by four points.” said Coach Secor. “It was one of those games where it would’ve been easy for us to mail it in, down 9 in the 2nd half and really struggling offensively. Alec Hanmer’s 9 consecutive points in the fourth quarter really got us going,” he said.
Hanmer finished with a game high 20 points along with 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 blocked shots. Porter had 9 points and Covell finished with 6. Ryan Dines had 4 points and a game high 6 assists, including 4 assists during the fourth quarter comeback. Jason Gingrich and Derek Ash rounded out the scoring for Cedar with 3 and 2 points, respectively.
The Red Hawks traveled to Belding last Friday for their final league game of the year. Cedar started the game red hot hitting 6 of their first 7 shot attempts and jumping out to a 13-0 lead. During that span Jason Gingrich and Hank Porter each scored 4 points while Alec Hanmer had 5. The Red Hawks led 13-4 after 1 quarter. Derek Ash and Hanmer scored on lay ups to start the second quarter. Then Kyle Chaney hit a baseline jumper and Ryan Dines hit a pull up jumper and the Red Hawks led by 11 with 2:07 left in the half. Then the wheels came off for Cedar as Belding went on an 8-0 run to end the half with the Red Hawks leading by only three 22-19.
A three pointer by Hanmer and a lay up by Ash built the Red Hawk lead back to 8 in the first 2 minutes of the second half. Ryan Dines also scored 6 points in the quarter and Cedar Springs had a 12 point lead after 3 quarters. Jason Gingrich made 7 of 8 free throws down the stretch and the Red Hawks hung on for a 55-47 victory. “We played 4 of the best minutes of the year out of the gate, jumping to a 13-0 lead” said Coach Secor. “Our mental toughness and poise was tested in the 2nd half by a couple runs by Belding. Playing at Belding is never easy and Coach Babbitt gets his teams to play very hard. In the end, we made some key plays on offense and enough free throws to get by.” he said.
Alec Hanmer and Jason Gingrich led Cedar Springs with 13 points each. Ryan Dines had 11 points and led the team with 4 assists. Derek Ash had 9 points and Hank Porter had 4. Kyle Chaney and Trey Reed had 2 points each. Tyler Baker had 1 point and led Cedar with 6 rebounds. The 2 victories gave Cedar a 3rd place finish in the OK Blue Conference. The Red Hawks final regular season game is Thursday, March 3rd at Cedar Springs High School as they take on the Unity Christian Crusaders. Before the game the Red Hawks will honor their six Seniors who will be playing in their final home game. The Freshmen game begins at 4 PM, followed by the JV at 5:30 and the Varsity at 7.
The Red Hawks begin state tournament play in the district tournament at Grand Haven High School on Wednesday, March 9th at 6 PM as they take on the winner of the Mona Shores vs Muskegon game.