By Mike Staley – Collegiate Staff
Seasons end is drawing near for the Grand Rapids Community College Women’s Basketball team, but there’s still a lot left to play for.
With five games remaining, the Raiders’ record stands at 11-10 overall and 4-7 in the Michigan Community College Athletic Association. The outcome of the season is still to be determined, but members of the team and staff are reflecting on what’s happened and what is still to come.
“They worked really hard in the summer and put in a lot of time and a lot of effort,” said GRCC Athletic Director Bill Firn. “That’s what I’ve been really proud of. There’s been bumps in the road…but they have a stretch here where they can make a run and start climbing back up the ladder.”
One of the contributing factors to the success the Raiders have had this season is their closeness as a team.
“This is probably one of the closer groups I think we’ve had,” said Head Coach Dave Glazier. “I think it creates a better atmosphere for competition, practice, in games, you know just rooting for whoever’s in the game to lift them up.”
The tight-knit community of this team is something the players recognize and take pride in.
“As a team, overall, we work really well together,” said Sophomore Guard Claire Flewelling.
Freshman Point Guard Hallee Breimayer also talked about the closeness of the team saying, “everyone’s staying positive and staying together as a team and not going off in our own little groups.”
If the team wants to be successful, the friendliness amongst teammates needs to stay in place.
“There’s a lot of good friendships and a lot of trust between the players,” Firn said.
With the conference tournament fast approaching, the team sets its sights on what needs to be done to make a deep playoff run.
“We have to work on finishing strong,” said Sophomore Forward Makayla Beld. “I know what we’ve been doing in practice, keeping up the competition and realizing we only have five guaranteed games left and making the most of every time we step out on the court.”
There are specific areas of the game the team continues to focus on in practice to better their chances at wins down the stretch.
“We definitely need to work on some rebounding,” Flewelling said. “We’ve been doing it a lot in practice. Also, less turnovers and getting the ball to the right people by making good passes.”
If there has been noticeable struggles, they’ve been on the offensive side of the ball.
“We need to execute on offense and start knocking down some shots,” Glazier said. “I think we’re trying to over share. When we pass on good shots, I think those are turning into turnovers.”
There’s always areas for improvement on both sides of the ball and this team recognizes that.
“Defensively, we need to work on our communication,” Breimayer said. “Offensively, we need to be more aggressive and take it to the other teams instead of letting them come at us.”
The Raiders have a lot of leadership on the team and those voices have been heard in the locker room.
“Me and other leaders were telling the girls to keep their heads up,” Flewelling said. “If they make a mistake or if they’re not having a good day, there’s always another one.”
The unquestioned leader of this team is Coach Glazier. He’s been working overtime trying to get this team where they need to be.
“What I love about Dave (Glazier) is how much passion he has for the team, the college, and the program,” Firn said. “He puts in a lot of himself and I know he’s the right guy for the job.”
While the team focuses on the last remaining games, the program, Firn, and Glazier must also focus on the future. In college athletics, recruiting is the key to a successful program.
“I think recruiting is the bread and butter,” Firn said. “That’s what starts everything here.”
It can be tough to focus on the here and now while also trying plan for the future. That’s what the Raiders head coach has to do when it comes to recruiting.
“Stay in the moment,” Glazier said. “When we’re here with the kids that are apart of this team…that moment is with them. When we walk out of here and head to a high school game or in the summer we’re at AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) events, my focus will be there.”
Recruiting at the Junior College level can have its challenges, but the staff is doing what needs to be done to ensure future success for the Women’s Raider basketball program.
“I know we’ve got some kids that are really interested so we’re just kind of working through that,” Glazier said. “We want to see which kids really get to a point where they understand what this is and the time they have to put in to it. We’re excited about the kids we’ve had contact with.”
For now the focus of the team remains on the final five games, and the players know they have the potential to do something special.
“I know that it can go any way on any night,” Beld said. “Any team that wants it more can show up and upset a team that’s top ranked.”
If the Raiders are going to make an end of season push, it will start tonight when they host Glen Oaks Community College at 5:30 p.m., in the Ford Fieldhouse.