BY DENNIS CHASE
TRAVERSE CITY — Katie Kowalczyk-Fulmer expected her Grand Haven Buccaneers to be a little rusty in Friday's basketball season opener at Traverse City Central.
"But we didn't seem too rusty at all," she said after a 67-28 non-conference win.
All 12 Buccaneers scored in the game, one Grand Haven broke open with a 22-3 run in the second quarter.
The Buccaneers are the defending Class A state champions.
"I thought it was a great first game," Kowalczyk-Fulmer said. "Our volleyball players just got back not long ago after they went to the semifinals. We've only had a few practices together as a team.
"We graduated seven seniors and four starters off last year's team, but we just kind of reloaded. I was pleased with our effort tonight."
Grand Haven never trailed, scoring the game's first nine points. Then 6-5 center Abby Cole went to the bench with her second foul and Central went on an 8-0 run — keyed by two 3-pointers from Madi Bankey — to close to within a point at the end of the quarter.
It was 12-10 early in the second stanza when Grand Haven went on its 22-3 run.
"We had it at 12-10, but we just couldn't sustain that effort throughout the whole game," Trojans coach Ryan Knudsen said. "That's definitely something we'll work on."
Hannah Wilkerson was the only Buccaneer in double figures. She finished with 11, nine of which came in the first half. Six players scored six or more points.
"This team has great chemistry," Kowalczyk-Fulmer said. "They share the ball. You can tell by the way they find each other on the floor."
Kowalczyk-Fulmer said she's excited to see how this team develops.
"The bar has been raised," she said. "We have a chance. This is a starting point. Obviously, Traverse City is a young team, too. They lost (Katie) Knudsen and the (Walker) sisters. They're a good outside shooting team, but we had a little more size and depth."
Ryan Knudsen, meanwhile, knows the Trojans might not play a better team all season.
"This was a great opportunity to play them right off the bat," he said. "It really gives us an indication of what our strengths and weaknesses are. It gives us a lot of things to focus on in practice this upcoming week to get ready for our Big North Conference schedule."
Bankey and Tyler Rawlings led Central with seven points each.
Grand Haven won the JV game 45-39. Ashley Reed netted 10 for the Trojans.
Central won the freshman game 40-32 as Abigail Green tossed in 14. Sierra Fraser pulled down 12 rebounds.