By Kaia Zimmerman
The Grand Rapids Community College women’s basketball team, a 13 seed, lost in the first round of the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II national tournament versus Johnson County Community College, the fourth seed, on Wednesday, April 21, 86-49.
Even with the loss, head coach David Glazier was happy with the way the team battled throughout the game.
“I like that our kids always battle,” Glazier said. “They are a tough bunch. It’s tough to give an overall thought, but I liked the way we battled.”
The Raiders were led by sophomore Eurasia Green-Boyd who had 13 points and seven rebounds along with sophomore Danielle Lamancusa who put up 11 points and six rebounds. GRCC also saw contributions from sophomore Shonyah Hawkins who had six points and sophomore Jayla Bibbs who had eight points with five rebounds.
The Raiders started off strong, keeping the game close throughout the first quarter, as Lamancusa came up big for GRCC scoring six in the quarter. The Raiders were up 11-10 with three minutes to play in the quarter, but a run by the Cavaliers would see the lead change hands going into the second quarter, 21-15.
The GRCC defense responded to shut the Cavaliers down, holding them scoreless for the first five and a half minutes of the second quarter. During that time, the Raiders went on an 8-0 run, and would take the lead, 23-21 with six minutes to go in the quarter. Hawkins made some tough shots, and had six points in the half, but she also received three fouls all in the second quarter and had to sit out the rest of the first half. Even though the Raiders dominated the first half of the second quarter, they struggled to find a bucket in the closing minutes of the first half. The Cavaliers would go on a 10-0 run to take the lead, 33-23 going into the break.
GRCC has been dominant this season in the third quarter, and have crushed teams in scoring, but that was not the case against Johnson County. While the Raiders came out of the half hitting nice shots, they were unable to stop the Cavaliers as they were dropping shots easily. The Raiders were getting nice looks, but could not capitalize missing a lot of those open shots. GRCC was shooting at 28.1% compared to the Cavaliers 45.7% in the second half. The Raiders only scored six points in the third quarter, allowing the Cavaliers lead to grow further, 60-29.
The Raiders had nothing going their way in the second half. Johnson County did a fantastic job of shutting down the Raiders top defender and third ranked rebounder in the nation, Bibbs, to just five rebounds, as well as the Raiders leading scorer and Michigan Community College Athletic Association Player of the Year Shonyah Hawkins. Johnson County would put up 86 total points which was the highest in the tournament so far, and end the game with a significant lead over the Raiders, 86-49.
Even with the loss, the Raiders had some good news this week when Glazier was named NJCAA Great Lakes District C Coach of the Year. Glazier led the team to a 12-4 record, a regional championship, and their first trip to the national tournament in program history.
The Raiders will get a chance to play again after the loss in the consolation bracket when they face the 9 seed, Pima College on Friday, April 23 starting at 1 p.m.
“We just got to talk about the things we didn’t do well,” Glazier said. “We didn’t shoot the ball well. We got a lot of shots up, but we didn’t complete the ones we needed to complete. We will get more shots up, and just try to focus on some little things and clean those up.”