By ANGELO VELOTTA
For the Star Beacon
Grand River Academy hit the road, Monday night, though not too far and the Eagles made the most of their excursion, conquering St. John, 65-29, at Mahoney Gymnasium.
The Eagles (10-6, 10-5 Lake Effect Conference) started off the first quarter with a good ball rotation and capitalized on a lot of second-chance points off of the glass.
Try as they might, the Heralds (1-17, 0-13 LEC) could not keep pace with the more-talented visitors and trailed after one quarter, 20-3.
GRA continued to exploit several aspects in the game in building a 39-9 lead by halftime.
“If we can play D and rebound, we are amazing,” Grand River Academy coach Dave Sharping said. “(When we) rebound the basketball we are pretty solid.
“We constantly preach team (ball). It is more important... ‘pass, pass, keep moving the ball.’”
Jon Butler led the way for the Eagles with 13 points and 14 rebounds.
“It’s huge, (and) just play as a team,” Butler said.
Ike Onwauvonalbe scored 8 points and added 5 rebounds for the winners, while Michel Ntangurgira scored 5 points, added 7 rebounds, 4 steals and 3 blocks.
As the Eagles carried a 57-14 lead into the fourth quarter, the Heralds showed some signs of life, finding their rhythm, making 3-pointers from the outside and challenging the bigger Eagles inside. That allowed St. John to prevail in the quarter, 15-8.
Positive steps taken.
“They overmatched us, but we are having fun,” St. John coach Ryan Harco said. “We need to work on ballhandling, shooting (and) fundamentals.”
“We will deeply miss (Mike) Mahoney, he is a leader. He was a leader as a junior, too,” Harco said.
On cue, Mahoney led the way for the Heralds with 8 points, including two 3-pointers, and 3 rebounds.
Velotta is a freelance writer from Concord Township.