Dec. 4—TRAVERSE CITY — Traverse City Central fans, meet Jakiah Brumfield and Lucia France.
The two freshmen made an impact in their first varsity basketball game, although Traverse City Central lost its season opener 48-30 to Grand Haven at home Friday.
Brumfield earned the starting spot at guard and swatted three steals by the end of the night. France traded minutes with senior Natalie Dykstra at center, forcing a key turnover in the first half with a hefty block on a Grand Haven layup attempt.
"Lucia brings a ton of athleticism," first-year Trojans head coach Jen Dutmers said. "Jakiah brings a lot of experience and knowledge of the game."
Dutmers says Brumfield has a "very high basketball IQ" with both middle school and travel ball experience.
Brumfield didn't score until the fourth quarter with a basket and a pair of free throws, but the first-year player confidently drove the lane for layup tries against defenders much taller than her throughout the first half.
Halli Warner came off the bench and led Central with seven points. She picked up a basket and a three-pointer in the third quarter. Catelyn Heethuis scored six on a pair of triples. Sophie Simon grabbed several rebounds.
Grand Haven led the entire game, led by Molly Long with 11. The Buccaneers forced many turnovers on the Trojans in the first half, playing pressure defense.
"We struggled a little bit to get into our offense," Dutmers said. "I saw a team that didn't give up — and a team that kept working hard and supporting each other. Every day, those are two main goals."
The Trojans (0-1) have a quick turnaround before their next game. They hit the road Tuesday to face Benzie Central — a Division 3 school with an enrollment difference of 1,000 students fewer. The two schools haven't met in girls basketball since 2018.
"We'll make some offensive adjustments to get our shooters open more and to flow into our offense and have a little more patience and not feel like we have to get a shot up after the first pass," Dutmers said.
The game was Dutmers first night as a head coach after Greg Farmer stepped down from the program in the offseason. Dutmers previously was Farmer's varsity assistant.
Tipoff for Tuesday's game is set for 7 p.m.
The Buccaneers (1-0) stay in town to face Traverse City West in the Titans' season opener Saturday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. Tim Rieman leads this year's West squad, after coaching southwest Michigan teams for many years.
Follow Andrew Rosenthal on Twitter @ByAndrewR