No. 4 Grand Rapids Catholic Central ends Tri County’s season


By Chip Burch • Last Updated 3:36 pm on Wednesday, March 08, 2017

HAMILTON — Tri County’s girls basketball team had their season end Tuesday.

The Vikings lost in semi-finals of the Class B regional tournament to Grand Rapids Catholic Central 55-32, ending their season at 15-8.

Tri County’s Ashley Bowen tries to force her way between two Grand Rapids Catholic Central players during the teams’ Class B regional game Tuesday night.

The Cougars were ranked fourth in the state in Class B in the final Associated Press poll.

Tri County co-coach Chris Overbeek could pinpoint the loss to one quarter.

“The second quarter we struggled to score and they (Catholic Central) got a few easy ones on runouts,” Overbeek said. “When you play a team like that, that’s that athletic you have to kind of pick your poison. We said, ‘Nothing easy. We’re going to make them hit jump shots.’”

The Vikings (15- 8) stayed with the Cougars (22- 1) for the first eight minutes, managing an 8-8 score after the first quarter.

But Tri County didn’t hit a field goal in the second quarter until Ashley Bowen hit a desperation three at the buzzer and ended up with just five points to 20 for Catholic Central.

“It’s hard. They (Catholic Central are so physically talented that it’s hard to maintain that,” Overbeek said. “You don’t get anything easy against them. They’re the best defensive team I’ve ever seen. They just make you earn everything. If we got an open look we rushed it a little bit, but there’s a reason they allow 30 points a game. That’s because they don’t give you anything easy.”

The Vikings scored two field goals in the third quarter and two in the fourth while getting outscored 27-19 in the second half.

“We talked about spreading the floor and getting Tricia (Slavens) touches in the middle,” Overbeek said. “Everything seems to go well when it goes through her. When the ball got into Tricia’s hands she’s good at finding the open girl and driving to the hoop. They (Catholic Central) were aware of what we were trying to do and it is what it is. We were out- sized, out-quicked and out-strengthed at every position and I’m not sure we were out-toughed and out-hearted (Tuesday night).”

Tri County was led by Ashley Bowen with 14 and Emma Overbeek with nine. No other Viking had more than two.

“I think we did really good on defense in the first quarter and in the second quarter is what kind of killed us,” Emma Overbeek said.

Emma said Tri County had to keep battling.

“We just said we had to do our best and to not give up the rest of the game,” she said. “I think we did a pretty good job of not giving up the whole game.”

The Cougars had three players in double figures. Kyra Bussell led with 17 and Jakarri Alven and Shaniya Huggins had 10 each for 37 of Catholic Central’s 55 points.

Tri County’s season is now over, but Chris Overbeek said it was a good one if not tough.

“This was the most adverse season I’ve ever been through as a coach in any sport,” the former varsity baseball coach said. “Injuries, illnesses and we had 12 different kids start for us this year, which is crazy. To these kids’ credit, they never used it as an excuse. Since we got home we were 12- 4 with a lot of moving parts and moving pieces. I couldn’t be more proud of how these girls battled through one adverse thing after another.”

Catholic Central, meanwhile, will play the host Hamilton in the finals. The Hawkeyes, ranked seventh in Class B in the same Associated Press poll, knocked off Muskegon Oakridge 55-24 when they outscored Oakridge 33-7 in the second half.

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