The first basketball game ever played at the newly renovated Gerald R. Ford Fieldhouse will be a tough one to beat as the Grand Rapids Community College women’s team beat the Lansing Community College Stars in come-from-behind fashion.
On a night where the Raiders shot an abysmal 31 percent from the field, the team managed to get key buckets at big moments to end the game. In the first half, the Raiders were led by sophomore forward Mya Jordan.
Jordan was 4-7 with 11 points with under four minutes to go in the first half when she went down after a collision with a Lansing player. Jordan immediately grabbed her ankle and began writhing and screaming in agony. The fieldhouse went silent as the medical staff attended to Jordan. She had to be carried off the court and the Raiders had to finish the game without her hot hand.
Raiders’ head coach Dave Glazier talked about what the mood was like on the bench when she went down and gave an update on her status.
“There’s just kind of a punch to the gut feel — kind of the air taken out of you,” Glazier said. “I think you kind of saw that as the second half started. But resiliency gets you places… Right now, it’s just a sprain and we’re going to monitor it… We’re going to follow medical advice from our staff and err on the side of caution.”
Jordan came out for the second half on crutches with ice wrapped around her ankle. The Raiders had to have someone else step up to take on the scoring roll. The Raiders held a 24-23 lead at the half, but after only putting up seven points in the third quarter, found themselves trailing by one going into the fourth quarter.
Lansing opened the fourth quarter on a 6-0 run and with 2:32 remaining in the game, held a six point lead on the Raiders. In those last two and a half minutes, the Stars would be held to just one point as the Raiders took over the game.
Down by five with under a minute to go, Madelynn Miller hit a long two-pointer followed just seconds later by a three-pointer to tie the game with 19 seconds left. As the Raiders’ fans in the fieldhouse were still cheering loudly from tying the game up, sophomore Hallee Breimayer stole an inbound pass at half court and sprinted down to lay it up and give the Raiders a 48-46 lead with 10 seconds remaining.
It was only fitting that Breimayer, one of the leaders on the team, iced the game for the Raiders on this night. She had a terrible shooting performance going 1-6 from three-point range, and 3-12 overall. Despite the ball not falling for her all night, she stepped up in the biggest moment of the game to make the biggest play of the game.
“I think… when shots aren’t falling I try to focus on my defense,” Breimayer said. “So that’ll lead us to offense. I just try to focus on what I’m doing good at, and the rest will come later.”
Breimayer wouldn’t have had the chance for the game winning steal and shot if it weren’t for two, high-pressure shots made in the final minute by Miller.
“I was trying to be aggressive all game and shots weren’t falling for me,” Miller said. “But I’m going to continue to play how I want to play. My teammates trust me and give me the ball, and I trust them and give them the ball and whoever has the shot at the end, we trust each other to take it.”
The Raiders managed to end the game on an astounding 13-1 run in the final two and a half minutes. Glazier made mention to the run in his postgame comments and was proud of how much “heart” his team showed in the final minutes of the game.
“I told the girls after, ‘a lot of heart you showed in the last three minutes of that game,’” Glazier said. “Going on a 13-1 run, that’s just heart. That’s just figuring out a way to win and it’s not surprising based on the kids we’ve got.”
The Raiders had lost their previous three games due in large part to some offensive woes. Breimayer said the team has been in a “rut” as of late offensively but knows how hard her team has been working and thinks this game can be a turning point for them. Breimayer added two free throws at the end of the game to give the Raiders a 50-46 win and their first conference victory of the season.
The Raiders improve 10-5 overall but still have some catching up to do in the conference with their 1-3 start. They’ll have that chance to improve their conference record when they visit Glen Oaks Community College in Centreville, Michigan on Wednesday, Jan. 16 at 5:30 p.m.
The Raiders’ next home game will be Friday, Jan. 18 at the Ford Fieldhouse where GRCC will be concluding their homecoming week. There will be tailgating at the north end of the Hunsberger Arena at 5 p.m. followed by the women’s game at 5:30 p.m. and the men’s game at 7:30 p.m.