Boys Varsity Basketball · Chix hold off Dutch


away
66 Zeeland East High School
home
59 Holland High School
Away   Home
Away Home
Zeeland East High School vs Holland High School
66 59
1 -   -
2 -   -
3 -   -
4 -   -

HOLLAND — A strong first half helped the Zeeland East Chix keep the Holland Dutch at bay in a 66-59 win Friday night on the road.

The Chix rode a strong defensive effort in the first half, particularly in the second quarter, to take a 26-14 lead into the break. Holland scored just four second-quarter points as the Chix built a 12-point lead.

Zeeland East coach Jeff Carlson knew an earlier 24-point win over the Dutch was an aberration, and that played out throughout the second half.

“They knocked down some shots,” Carlson said of Holland. “We knew coming in it was going to be a dog fight. This is a team that doesn’t give up.”

A big part of the Chix’s early success was their big man, as Nathan Claerbaut tallied 13 points in the first half on his way to 21 for the game. He found his way inside for nifty post moves, hooks and even a dunk to power the Zeeland East offense.

Holland coach Corey Wolters said that hole the Dutch dug played a big difference, even with a stronger second half.

“We had chances, we had to fight back in it,” Wolters said. “We didn’t play physical enough in the first half, and got us down 12, and that really hurt us. We don’t give up, we fight and claw, and they hit 18 of 20 from the free-throw line down the stretch.”

The Dutch kept fighting and kept Nathan Claerbaut under control, with most of his second-half points coming from the free throw line.

Even as he was shut out in the third quarter and brother Brandon Claerbaut only had one point in the third, the Chix stepped up. The offense was led by Luke Gruppen, Davis Courtright, Ethan Houghtaling and Tommy Zegunis as the Chix went to the third up 42-32.

“That’s what I love about our team, it’s a team,” Carlson said. “Guys stepped up. Some guys made some big buckets. I can say a great thing about every one of our guys offensively tonight.”

Holland started to find its shooting stroke in the fourth quarter, with threes falling from Maison Hagger, Anders Rasmussen and Isaiah Arredondo.

The Dutch trailed 56-46 with 1:49 before Rasmussen buried a deep three, and after buckets by Jackson VanHekken and Xavier Chavis, Arredondo hit a three to make it 60-56 with 45 seconds left.

Zeeland East scored the next six points to ice the game. The defense made things harder for Claerbaut inside, but he had eight points in the fourth.

“Second half, they were physical on me,” he said. “They were sending double teams. It’s always difficult playing second time around in conference.”

Brandon Claerbaut had 14 for the Chix.

Rasmussen had 20 on the night, while VanHekken added 14 and Chavis had 12.

Holland falls to 4-14 and 2-10 in OK Green play, and the Dutch head to South Haven Tuesday.

Zeeland East is 13-6 and 8-4 in OK Green action and the Chix travel to Greenville Thursday.