By Mike Staley – Collegiate Staff
The Grand Rapids Community College Women’s basketball team lost a 72-68 nail biter at home to the Ancilla Community College Chargers on Wednesday night.
The loss leaves the Raiders with a 12-12 record overall and a 5-9 record in the Michigan Community College Athletic Association Western Conference. Wednesday night was a special game as it was the last home game for the Raiders this season and the sophomores were honored before tip off with a pregame ceremony.
After the ceremony, the game began and the Raiders came out flat. The Raiders turned the ball over five times in the first two and a half minutes of the game before freshman guard Mya Jordan started the scoring for GRCC with a layup.
The Chargers were the more energetic team in the first half and kept the pressure on the Raiders offense pressing them all the way up and down the court.
“(Ancilla) loves running up and down the court,” said sophomore forward Makayla Beld. “That’s not really our game.”
The Chargers defense was relentless in the first half forcing 16 first half Raider turnovers. After the first quarter, the Raiders trailed 22-8. Despite the deficit, the Raiders actually shot better than the Chargers in the first half shooting 9-25 (36 percent) from the field and 3-8 (37 percent) from beyond the arch. The Chargers were only shooting 33 percent from the field and 27 percent from beyond the arch, but with how many turnovers they were forcing, they put up a lot more shots.
The Raiders went into halftime down 38-28. Coach Dave Glazier made the necessary adjustments in the locker room that would make the second half a much more competitive game.
“We just talked about catch, face, and recognize,” Glazier said. “Most zones or most presses are quickly going to tell you what it is that they are by how they line up. We’ve got some basketball savvy kids, and they’ve played enough ball to know that if they catch and look and just start to walk it up, (they will) either come at you or (they are) going to go back with you.”
The Raiders took note of Glazier’s coaching and cut their turnovers in half in the second half of the game.
The two teams played evenly in the third quarter and heading into the fourth quarter, the Raiders still trailed by 10 with a score of 60-50 in favor of the Chargers.
Heading into the fourth, the Raiders needed someone to step up and leave their fingerprints on the game. The person to step up was sophomore guard Qua Draper, and she helped shift the momentum in the Raiders favor.
“I know Qua (Draper) stepped up like crazy,” Beld said. “She had the spark that we needed and the energy and the rest of the four that were on the floor followed that lead…(we) just came up short in the end.”
Draper scored a team high 18 points and added nine boards with five of them coming in the second half. Beld also had a great game with 16 points, 11 rebounds and an astounding eight blocks. The Raiders finished the game shooting 23-55 (41 percent) from the field and 5-16 (31 percent) from three-point range.
As the game wound down, the Raiders kept chipping away at the Chargers lead. Freshman guard Ashley Bowen hit a layup and was fouled with 2:24 remaining in the game. She hit the free throw bringing the score to 69-66 in favor of the Chargers. Two minutes later, the score remained the same and Bowen was fouled again. Shooting two free throws, she hit them both making it a one-point game.
Unfortunately for the Raiders, that one point they needed never came and after three successful free throws from the Chargers, the buzzer sounded with the Raiders dropping the game 72-68.
It was a tough way to go out for the sophomores losing their final game at the Ford Fieldhouse. Beld took a moment to reflect on her time with the team and playing in her last game at the Ford Fieldhouse.
“It was great,” Beld said. “I wouldn’t have wanted it anywhere else. All of my teammates have become family and I wouldn’t want to spend (my time) with anyone else.”
Glazier also took a moment to comment on what this group of sophomores has meant to him.
“It’s a special group to me,” Glazier said. “First group that did two years with me as head coach. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of kids. It’s a group that I’m really going to miss.”
Despite it being the last home game for the GRCC women’s basketball team this season, there is still more basketball to be played this year. The raiders will try to bounce back from this loss when they face off against the Kellogg Community College Bruins in Battle Creek on Sat., Feb. 24, at 1 p.m.