The Grand Rapids Community College Women’s basketball team dominated the Glen Oaks Community College Vikings 59-35 in Gordon Hunsberger Arena on Wednesday.
With the win, the Raiders move to 11-10 on the campaign and 5-7 in Michigan Community College Athletic Association Western Conference play with just five games remaining in the regular season.
The Raiders and Vikings traded runs early in the game, Freshman forward Mya Jordan and freshman guard Hallee Breimayer scored the game’s first four points. The Vikings then scored the next five points to take a brief lead. Then the Raiders went on a prolonged 12-1 run to end the first quarter with a 16-6 lead.
Jordan led all scorers with 14 points, sophomore forward Makayla Beld notched a triple-double with 10 points to go along with 12 rebounds.
“It’s just become part of our focus in practice,” said Raiders Head Coach Dave Glazier in a post-game interview. “We focus on good starts in practice whether its a shooting drill or something defensive, we got our focus pointed at the energy we need to start with.”
Freshman guard Aalyiah Sargent began the second quarter and she made a quick impact with a steal on the defensive end. Sargent then made a play on the ensuing possession where she jumped to save the ball from going out-of-bounds on the baseline and deflected it off of the Vikings player to retain possession for the Raiders.
The game was a physical battle, the officials, Leroy Hackley, Kevin VanderHulst and Pete VanGessel allowed a lot of contact, especially down low near the basket.
The Raiders outscored the Vikings 9-7 in the second frame to take a 25-13 lead to the locker room. The Vikings also turned the ball over 14 times in the first 20 minutes, the Raiders only had five turnovers.
Shooting for both teams was a struggle, the Raiders shot just 26 percent (19-70) from the field in the game and the Vikings shot a slightly better 27 percent (13-48). Both teams seemed to have a proverbial lid on their basket as there were only a few shots that wanted to go down. Part of the reason for the difficulty was the energy level may have been down as the Vikings only had seven players on the roster for the contest.
“It can be (difficult),” Glazier said. “Not to take anything away from Glen Oaks, but we were 8-44 in the first half from the floor. A lot of that was just us not executing little things to get us better shots. I don’t necessarily mean that extra pass, but maybe a ball fake and then attack the rim, or a ball fake and attack the gap in the zone (defense) and have someone step up to have a bounce pass to an open shot. We were taking a lot of contested shots that just weren’t falling.”
Communication and friendliness has never been a struggle for the Raiders this season. Even when they have had their struggles, communication always takes precedence.
“That’s just kind of a thing that grows as you become more familiar with your teammates,” Glazier said. “I think this group has become more familiar, it’s something that’s been continuing to grow. This group, sometimes you still have to push them to do it, but that’s the case for a lot of teams.”
Freshman guard Ashley Bowen totaled 10 points and five rebounds against the Vikings despite struggling in the first half. Bowen hit a 3-pointer with just over four minutes to play in the third quarter.
“For me, probably when I hit the three,” Bowen said when asked about her favorite moment of the game. “It was like my turn-around because I didn’t do very good in the first half. For the team, it was the second half. We didn’t play our best in the first half, we scored more in the second and played better.”
“We just look to be confident in the things that are working for us,” Glazier said. “We’re, most likely, going to see another zone (defense) at Lake Michigan on Friday so what we saw today was an improved group. Glen Oaks is better than what we saw the first time. So what we saw today is a good precursor to what we’ll see Friday. We’ll try to mimic that in practice tomorrow and break down what’s going to be different and where spots are going to be open and where they won’t.”
The Raiders look to maintain focus going forward and build on their two-game winning streak as they take on the Lake Michigan College Redhawks in Benton Harbor on Fri., Feb. 16. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.