West Ottawa will be hosting districts this year beginning on March 6. The second round will be on March 8, and the district final will be on March 10. Expect an exciting week. Here is a look at each team.
Jenison: Led by Sr. Jacob Boonyasith who is averaging 24.4 points per game and aided by Sr. Harry Hevelhurst’s 12.4 points per game, Jenison is playing well. Jenison is 10-5 overall and 8-1 in the OK Black Conference with their one loss coming to Muskegon, who is undefeated and one of the top teams in the state. Jenison drew Hudsonville in the first round of districts, a rematch from earlier this season. In their first meeting, Hudsonville edged out the Wildcats by two in a score of 54-52. Expect another tight game for the Wildcats in districts. If victorious, Jenison will face the winner of Grandville and West Ottawa.
Hudsonville: At 9-7 overall and 4-5 in the OK Red Conference, Hudsonville has not had a typical season. However, Sr. Jack Mandryk has proven to be Hudsonville’s leader. Coming off an excellent football season, Mandryk has helped lead his team to many victories. Along with Mandryk, Frosh. Max Perez has recently had a much bigger impact. Being a freshman, Perez struggled early in the season but now has acquired a more important role. Perez’s shooting and Mandryk’s driving will carry the Eagles in districts. The Eagles drew Jenison in the first round, a team they edged by two points earlier this season. If they win, Hudsonville will face the winner of West Ottawa and Grandville. Despite being an underdog this year, expect Hudsonville to be competitive since they have won the district championship the past six years.
Zeeland East: Led by Sr. Sam Tilden, Zeeland East is 9-7 with a 6-3 record in the OK Green Conference. Although two talented senior Chix graduated last year, Zeeland East has had a fairly successful season so far. Tilden seems to be Zeeland East’s “go-to” guy and will attempt to lead the Chix to a district championship. Zeeland East will face Wyoming in the first round of the districts. Although considered an underdog for this competitive district, expect Zeeland East to put up a fight in every game.
Holland: After averaging 31.3 points per game last season, Sr. Demetrius Lake hopes to lead the Dutch to an exciting district run. The Dutch are 10-7, going 5-4 in the OK Green Conference, sitting in third place, just behind Zeeland East. Lake has shown his capabilities by scoring over 50 points on more than one occasion. Lake and the Dutch were fortunate to draw a first round bye. They will face the winner of Zeeland East and Wyoming. The Dutch may not be the favorite for this district tournament but they are certainly a threat.
Grandville: With a new head coach, Ryan Klingler, Grandville has turned out to have much more success than many people thought. After Sr. Sam Cornett transferred to Muskegon, Grandville had a lot of rebuilding to do. Klingler, though, proved people wrong. With a 6-9 record on the season and 3-7 in the OK Red Conference, Grandville is much more dangerous than their record shows. With a big win at East Kentwood, Grandville has proven they are a force to be reckoned with. Led by Sr. Amontay Thompson, Grandville hopes to take game one of the district tournament against a talented West Ottawa team. Although Grandville lost to West Ottawa both times during conference play, expect Klingler to prepare something special against his former team.
Wyoming: Wyoming has proven to be one of the best teams in the district this year. Going 12-6 overall and 8-4 in the OK Gold Conference, Wyoming has played well. Although they lost a close game to Hudsonville earlier in the season, Wyoming played a tight one against NO. 2 team in the state, Grand Rapids Christian. Tied after the third, Wyoming ended up losing by 10 but proved their ability to beat anyone. Led by Sr. Chase Vanderklay and Jr. Grant Nabors, Wyoming has potential to go far into the playoffs. Wyoming drew Zeeland East for their first game of districts. Favored in this game, Wyoming hopes to make an exciting run in districts like last season.
West Ottawa: Coming off a disappointing result last year after they lost in the first round to Wyoming, the Panthers are proving to be one of the top teams in the state. With their only loss coming to Grand Rapids Christian, the Panthers have played extremely well this year. Now 17-1 and 11-0 in the OK Red Conference, the Panthers have already clinched an OK Red Championship. Led by Sr. Jake Van Tubbergen, who has been a consistent contributor for the Panthers and plays well in big games. Van Tubbergen scored 31 points in the Grand Rapids Christian loss and has proven to be one of the top scorers in the district. The Panthers drew Grandville for the first round of districts, a team they have beaten two times before but never a guaranteed win. Expect the Panthers’ chemistry and length to push them far into the playoffs.