A history-making team.

March 9, 2022

Missing from photo are Abby Hicks and Jayd Hovey.

A history-making team.

Pirate News is a presentation of Hart Public Schools in partnership with Oceana County Press.

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

HART — The Hart Girls Varsity Basketball Team celebrated many triumphs — yet overcame adversity — during the 2021-22 season.

With the season-ending injury of leader Jayd Hovey early on the schedule, the Pirates stepped up to fill in the void. 

Hart finished the season 17-4 overall and 14-0 in the West Michigan Conference, gaining the Pirates’ first league title in 29 years. Hart’s only regular season losses were to state-ranked or Division 1 opponents Redford Westfield Prep, Kent City and Caledonia.

“When Jayd went down with an injury, a lot of people discounted us,” said Coach Travis Rosema. “We have a tremendous depth in our team.”

Hovey, a senior, tore her ACL in the fifth game of the season against rival Shelby. “She actually signed her letter of intent to play college basketball and tore her ACL three hours later.”

Although it was a season-ending injury, fortunately it was not a career-ending injury. She will play next year for Indiana Wesleyan University.

Freshman Addison Hovey stepped in for her older sibling. “She’s a tremendous athlete and she’s done a lot of things for us in Jayd’s absence. Aspen (Boutell), Marianna (VanAgtmael) and Morgan (Marvin) stepped up — the whole team has really stepped up. Addi’s numbers, you can really see an increase in her stats, and Aspen’s leadership taking over the role of Jayd.”

Jayd took on a new role following her injury. “Jayd is the undisputed leader of this team with her passion and her energy,” said Rosema. “She’s been able to step in when she can see I’m frustrated and it’s not necessarily good for me to be frustrated and talk to one of the players. She’ll say, ‘Go sit down, Coach. Let me talk to her.’ They got a lot more from that from her than me screaming or being mad. Even though she’s not playing, she plays a huge role for us.

“Basketball is a long season, so you’re together for a long time, and there are ups and downs on every team.”

Rosema became Hart’s winningest coach in the school’s history this season with 64 victories in the four years he has coached the varsity program . “We haven’t had a lot of success in girls basketball, and I am fortunate to have 11 players on this team who have put in a lot of work. Even though I’m the coach, they’re the ones getting all the wins.”

“It was a really big confidence boost for our team,” said Aspen Boutell of the WMC title. “The biggest challenge we faced was losing Jayd to an injury. It was more of a challenge trying to get everybody to accept the role and find out their new position on the team.

“I think we’re a lot closer as a group this year,” said Boutell. 

“We definitely put in a lot of work, and coming in second to Montague two years in a row, that was always something we worked towards. Montague pushed us a lot to be a better team,” said Kendall Williamson. “We like to say iron sharpens iron, so they were definitely the iron that sharpened us to be the team we are today.”

“Losing Jayd was a big challenge,” said Williamson. “We had a lot of girls step up. Aspen and Abby (Hicks) had to be real leaders on the court. Jayd brought a very strong and confident presence on the court. She brought a lot of energy on the court.

“She’s been a big mentor to the point guards,” said Williamson of Hovey’s role. “Her sister Addi is on the team, and it’s been really cool to see them bond even though they can’t be on the court together.”

Williamson knows the painful hardship of an ACL injury. She tore her right ACL her sophomore year and then her left ACL her junior year. “I’m just thankful to be able to play again. I love this team so much.” Williamson signed a letter of intent to run track at Cornerstone University.

“My role has definitely changed a lot,” said Hovey. “I have become more of a mentor. I’ve been able to really invest in some of the younger guards more than if I was playing because I would have my own worries. I’ve seen them grow a ton this year. Not only the guards, but the whole team, I think they’ve formed more of a support system and bonds within each other because they have to play a little bit more cohesively. Everybody trusts everybody on the team. I think that makes us play more unselfishly and play a lot better together.

“It’s been really cool to see her grow,” she said of her younger sister. “I kind of joke with her that she really didn’t start playing well until I got hurt.” She watched Addi form bonds with the other players instead of looking to her older sister for guidance. “It shows more now that I’m not there.” She credits the older players in helping her sister adjust to the role.

“The team has done a phenomenal job of including me,” said Hovey. “I don’t feel left out. That’s a testament to the coaches, too.”

The team fell short of its fourth-straight district title when the Pirates lost 61-47 to West Michigan Christian in the finals at Holton March 4. Hart easily made its way into the finals game with a 59-22 defeat of the district host in the semifinals.

Leading the stats (going into the district finals) were Addi Hovey averaging 12.2 points, 7.4 rebounds and 4.4 steals per game; Mariana VanAgtmael with 10.1 points, 2.4 assists and 3.1 steals; Aspen Boutell, 8.1 points 3.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 3 steals; Abby Hicks, 7 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2 assists and 3.5 steals; and Morgan Marvin, 5.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.8 steals.

The team averaged 51 points per game while only giving up 30 points per game.

“I’ve been with these girls since grade school,” said Rosema. “I coached them in rec and I still do rec. I’ve been with these girls that long, and I’ve seen all the work they put in.”

Team roster: Addison Hovey (#14), freshman, forward; Abby Hicks (#3), sophomore, guard; Savanna Owens (#5), sophomore, guard; Audrey Aerts (#11), junior, guard/forward; Morgan Marvin (#12), senior, guard/forward; Chloe Coker (#15), junior, guard; Mariana VanAgtmael (#23), junior, guard; Jayd Hovey (#24), senior, guard; Aspen Boutell (#30), junior, guard; Makayla Rockwell (#32), junior, forward; Kendall Williamson (#33), senior, guard/forward. Manager: MaKenna Carrier; Head Coach: Travis Rosema; Assistant Coaches: Doug Pretty, Jeff Hovey and Ron Williamson. 

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