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Hudsonville wins highly anticipated regional final matchup with East GR

Joldersma, Diaz combine for 33 points in win
Hudsonville wins regional final
Posted at 10:39 PM, Mar 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-31 22:39:24-04

HOLLAND, Mich. — It's a regional final matchup 381 days in the making after last season's East Grand Rapids and Hudsonville matchup was cancelled due to COVID-19.

Early on, it was all Eagles after three triples, one each for Maddie Petroelje, Alaina Diaz and Eva Joldersma as Hudsonville led it, 16-4 after eight minutes.

The Pioneers and Miss Basketball finalist, Jillian Brown would answer in the second quarter with a 14-2 run to pull within two before the Eagles scored the final two buckets of the half to take a 24-18 lead into the break.

Hudsonville would lead throughout the third quarter, though the Pioneers would cut the deficit to just two, 31-29 after 24 minutes of play.

In the fourth quarter, the Eagles would start the quarter on a 5-0 run to extend the lead to 36-29.

A drive and finish for sophomore Macy Brown would cut the East Grand Rapids deficit to three at 38-35 before Alaina Diaz answered with a tough finish of her own for Hudsonville.

Diaz would step up big late in the game, finishing with 16 points while Eva Joldersma had a game-high 17 points as the Eagles sealed the win, 52-47 with late free throws.

"This is unbelievable," an emotional Alaina Diaz said after the win, "I don't know how to describe it, it's just exciting to win this, everything that's going on with COVID and everything, I really can't explain this feeling."

It's the second regional championship for the Eagles in program history.

"It's special no matter what, but this year with COVID, and battling through, gosh I'm happy for them," said head coach, Casey Glass, "I'm proud of them and for us as a team, it's another big accomplishment and step for this group."

It's revenge for the Eagles, who fell to the Pioneers, 73-49 in February during a regular season non-conference meeting.

"This is really special, obviously we lost to them the first time so it's really nice to come back and work as a team," added Eva Joldersma, "I don't know, it's amazing, it's great to look up on the wall and see that was our team."

Despite the strong defensive effort against her, Pioneer senior Jillian Brown scored a game-high 25 points in the final game of her high school career.

The Eagles advance to face East Lansing on Monday in the state quarterfinals at VanNoord Arena at Calvin University.