The Grand Rapids Community College Raiders women’s basketball team ended a four game losing streak, defeating the Glean Oaks Community College Vikings last night at Gordon Hunsburger Arena, 63-58.
Freshman forward Allysa VandenBerge scored the first two baskets of the game to set the tempo for the Raiders. But the Vikings rallied back, going on a 9-0 scoring run in the first five minutes to jump out to a 13-6 lead.
For much of the first half, the Vikings maintained a narrow lead, but the Raiders closed the gap within two points, trailing 30-28 at halftime.
Freshman forward Danielle Goad led the Raiders in scoring in the first half with nine points. Freshman guard Libby Kwiatkowski nabbed five rebounds.
Vikings guard Alaina Schwartz matched Goad with nine points. Freshman forward Danielle Harrison pulled down four rebounds and had two points.
After the start of the second half, the Vikings controlled the first five minutes again, jumping out to a six-point lead, 40-34, but the Raiders kept stepping up the defensive intensity. The Raiders got the first lead of the half with nearly 10 minutes to play (43-42).
Just under five minutes remaining, the game was tied at 52. The game went back and forth, but the Raiders maintained a slight lead. With 1:30 remaining, Kwiatkowski made the play of the game. She came down with a big rebound and then drove the basket to score a layup, giving the Raiders the lead, 57-54.
“It was one of those moments as a coach where you’re screaming ‘oh no’ because we wanted to run some time off the clock, but when she made it, it’s like ‘oh yeah,’” said Head Coach Tracy Little. “It was a clutch play and she stepped up.”
From there, the Raiders played great defense down the stretch, forcing the Vikings to shoot erratically, which caused them to take bad shots. The Vikings fouled the Raiders in the final two minutes as they made free throws to seal the victory.
Despite being held to only four points in the first half, freshman forward Meghan Mitchell led the Raiders in points, scoring 16. Goad finished the game with 10. Kwiatkowski had nine rebounds along with five points.
Harrison finished the game with a double-double, scoring 11 points and pulling down 10 rebounds, nine of which were defensive.
In the past two games, the Raiders lost the game in the closing minutes, but they found a way to prevail last night.
“Sometimes we battle ourselves more than we battle other teams,” Little said. “Tonight they made the proper adjustments and we came out with a victory.”
Little hopes this will bring some momentum to the team to finish out the season before they begin tournament play in March. The Raiders have three more home games until the conclusion of the regular season.
The next game is Feb. 13 at Gordon Hunsburger Arena against the Muskegon Community College Jayhawks. The Raiders defeated Muskegon earlier this season in a narrow three point victory. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:30 P.M.