The Grand Rapids Community College Women’s basketball team was defeated at home, 64-62, by the Mid-Michigan Community College Lakers on Wednesday in a Michigan Community College Athletic Association Western Conference matchup.
The first game of Wednesday’s doubleheader was a tale of two halves. The first half was the better half for the Raiders, they shot 48 percent from the field (13-27) and 63 percent from long range (7-11). The Lakers shot just 21 percent from the field (7-33) and 12 percent from the perimeter (2-16).
Freshman guard, Ashley Bowen opened the game with a 3-pointer from the right wing, that started a Raider onslaught of long-range buckets with five different Raiders connecting from the perimeter in the opening half.
The Raiders forced MMCC into a lot of mistakes to the tune of nine turnovers in the first half and a 38-21 lead when the horn sounded for halftime.
“We started off the game strong like we wanted,” said sophomore forward, Makayla Beld, in a post-game interview. “That’s been our goal lately, to play a whole game. We had the first half, then we let them back in to their pace in the second half.”
The second half opened up and the Raiders seemed to let off the gas pedal that they had theoretically stomped through the floorboard in the first two quarters of play.
MMCC made a comeback for the ages in the second half.
The Lakers were down by as many as 20 points and went on a blistering 14-9 run to open the second half and turn the momentum in their favor. The Raiders and Lakers battled in the third stanza of play and the Raider lead was closed to four points at 51-47 after the third quarter.
It was the Lakers’ turn to step on the gas and take the lead with just under three minutes to play in regulation. It was their first lead since the early stages of the first quarter.
Fans in Gordon Hunsberger Arena were treated to an unforgettable final two minutes of basketball as the Raiders and Lakers battled until the buzzer sounded. Bowen drained a long-range jumper to close the Laker lead to 63-60 with 50 seconds to play. The Raiders had an opportunity to tie the game with just under 20 seconds to play following a Laker turnover out-of-bounds. Freshman guard, Hallee Breimayer, tried a potential game tying 3-pointer that careened off the backboard then the back of the rim and into the hands of the Lakers and ultimately sealed the game with a free throw with 3.1 seconds to play. The Raiders added a buzzer-beating layup to end the game at 64-62 in favor of the Lakers.
“It shows that once again, this group can play with anyone in the conference,” Head Coach Dave Glazier said post-game. “We just have to work and continue to be better at finishing. We kind of took our foot off the gas and didn’t play with the same swagger we did in the first half.”
Glazier’s message to his team in the locker room after the game was an honest one.
“I told them this was one that was going to hurt, and that’s fine,” Glazier said. “The first half of conference didn’t go how we envisioned or hoped, but that’s sports. We regroup and we’re ready to start the second half on Saturday and we go to Jackson and that’s a tough place to go play.”
Energy and toughness have never been a question for the Raiders. Those two characteristics are the driving force behind this team.
“We just want keep up this energy we had tonight and bring that into the game on Saturday,” Beld said. “We know we can hang with Jackson.”
Wednesday’s loss sets the Raiders back to 3-5 in MCCAA play and 10-8 overall with seven games remaining in the regular season.
Beld, Glazier and the Raiders head on the road to Jackson Community College to take on the Jets in Summit Township at 1 p.m. on Sat., Feb. 3. The next home game is at 5:30 p.m. on Wed., Feb. 7 against the Muskegon Community College Jayhawks.