By Kaia Zimmerman
The Grand Rapids Community College women’s basketball team continued their win streak on Wednesday, March 3 in a close game against Mott Community College, winning 61-55.
Sophomore Olivia Koetje helped the team get the win with 13 points, six assists and two steals as well as some timely defensive plays in the final minutes to stop the biggest threat on the Bears offense, Xeriya Tartt.
“(I am) becoming more confident in my shot and what I can do with my abilities,” said Koetje. “(The team) is really starting to click, and we are really starting to figure it out, and this is only the beginning.”
Along with Koetje, sophomore Danielle Lamancusa came up big on both ends of the court to help the team come up with a victory with 10 points, three offensive rebounds and two blocks.
“(Lamancusa) can be such a physical presence inside, and when she puts that to use, she makes a lot of things happen,” said Head Coach David Glazier. “We are lucky to have her, and she is the sort of kid who knows when to turn it on.”
The Raiders started off strong against the Bears in the first quarter with great defensive plays, forcing bad shots, and holding them to a low scoring first quarter. Lamancusa and sophomore Eurasia Green-Boyd helped the team establish an early lead with four points each in the first quarter. The Raiders would end the quarter with a decent lead, 14-8.
Although they had a great start to the game, the Raiders couldn’t keep up their pace in the second quarter, and the Bears had an early 10-0 run which put them up midway through the second quarter. Although the Bears had the lead, good teamwork and big points from sophomore Shonyah Hawkins and Koetje kept them within reach, and they would go into halftime down by two, 24-22.
After the half, the Raiders came out looking ready and determined to get the lead back after losing it in the second quarter. Hawkins made a great steal and fast break score to spark some momentum for the team and give the Raiders the lead at the seven-minute mark, 30-29. From there the team went on a nice run to give them an eight-point lead. During that run, Lamancusa came up big for the team with two offensive rebounds as well as six points. Consistency on both ends of the court gave them a nice lead by the end of the third quarter, 46-38.
While the Raiders were up with a comfortable lead, the Bears did show some signs of getting back in the game, and made it a close fourth quarter. Through the beginning of the quarter the Raiders held a consistent lead because of their great defense. With five minutes to go they held a seven point lead, but a quick 3-pointer by the Bears made it interesting as they would only go down by four with three minutes to play. A big defensive stop led to a score for the Raiders putting them up by six, but a big three-point play by Mott made it a one possession game with a minute to go. Big defensive plays by Koetje left the Bears leading scorer with a bad shot causing a miss. The Bears fouled to stay in the game sending Bibbs and Hawkins to the line, who knocked down important free throws to give the Raiders a two-possession lead and close the game with a win.
This win continues a three-game win streak for the Raiders and improves their record to 3-1 on the season. The biggest contributor to the success of the team is the teamwork they have shown in the past three games.
“We have done a better job playing as a team,” said Glazier. “Mott is a very talented group, and that game could’ve gone either way, but I think us playing as a team especially on the defensive end really sparked what we were trying to do.”
They will be traveling to Centreville, Michigan to face Glen Oaks Community College where they hope to continue the success.
“Always a tough place to play,” said Glazier. “They challenge you for 40 minutes, so we will have to be ready. We have to clean up some mistakes, take care of the basketball a little more, and shoot the basketball a little bit better.”
The Raiders will try to keep the win streak alive Friday, March 5, against Glen Oaks Community College starting at 5:30 p.m. The game will be streamed on Glen Oaks Community College’s Youtube Channel.