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GRCC women’s basketball defeats Mott CC at the St. Clair County CC Tournament

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Freshman Marlene Bussler drives to the basket (Kristen Schestag)

The Grand Rapids Community College women’s basketball team competed in the St. Clair County Community College Tournament where they defeated Mott Community College, 69-66, and lost in a tight battle against St. Clair Community College, 58-56. 

GRCC head coach David Glazier was happy with both performances even with the loss to the Skippers.

“I was extremely happy with how we battled back last night against St. Clair,” Glazier said. “… I’m proud with that effort (and) the resilience. Today, we jumped out on Mott and then let them back in the game, and then executed down the stretch… I saw some kids start to find themselves a little more, so we are excited about that.” 

In the two-game stretch, the Raiders were led by freshman Grace Lodes, who had 39 total points throughout the tournament, securing double-doubles (23 points and 11 rebounds, 16 points and 10 rebounds) in both games. 

“Offensively, as she continues to do the things she’s doing, I think teams are going to have to focus on her more,” Glazier said. “I think what that is going to do is help other players on the team find some space that they maybe weren’t getting early on and allow them to get more comfortable… She’s such a presence. She has the ability to affect shooters and make them take angles that they don’t want to, and that allows us to be more aggressive on the perimeter defensively.” 

The Raiders started off the tournament against St. Clair Community College. The Skippers were able to take a small lead (24-21) at the half after a close battle to begin. 

The Skippers were able to extend their lead in the third quarter, outscoring the Raiders 23-17, to make it 47-38 going into the fourth quarter. 

The Raiders were able to mount a comeback, outscoring the Skippers 18-11 in the fourth quarter but the comeback was just shy of being completed as the Skippers’ Mia Janssen hit the go ahead bucket to put them up two with just two seconds to play. The Raiders were unable to make the last-second shot on the other end to give the Skippers the win, 58-56. 

On the second day of the tournament, the Raiders were able to rebound after the loss and defeat Mott Community College. 

The Raiders started off the matchup with a tight battle, ending the first quarter tied 16-16. However the Raiders were able to take the lead going into the second quarter when freshman Alyssa Katerberg hit three big threes in the quarter. Katerberg was dangerous behind the arc, hitting four out of the five shots in the game.

“We knew she could do that coming out of high school,” Glazier said. “It was something we recruited her based off of, and to finally see her hard work pay off and see them go down for her, it was a good feeling. We were happy to have her find success today.” 

Along with Katerberg, Lodes came alive near the end of the second quarter, contributing eight points in the quarter for the Raiders. The Raiders were able to extend their lead and would go to halftime with a comfortable 43-32 lead. 

To start the third quarter, freshman Audrey Harnish hit a big three to extend the Raiders lead, but shortly after, the Bears would start a run to get within five points, 46-41, of the Raiders. With Mott threatening to take the lead, Katerberg hit another three pointer to extend the Raider lead to six which gave them the momentum to end the third quarter strong, ending with a 10-point lead, 56-46. 

The Raiders struggled in the beginning of the fourth quarter on the offensive end which prevented them from scoring until the 5:20 mark. With four minutes left in regulation, the Bears were able to tie the game. After back and forth baskets, freshman Sally Merrill was able to hit a timely layup to give the Raiders a two-point lead, 67-65. With 27 seconds left in the game, the Raiders fouled the Bears to give them a chance at the free-throw line. After hitting the first one, the second free throw was missed causing the Bears to foul. The Raiders would end the game with a pair of clutch free throws from freshman Emersyn Koepke, 69-66. 

In the win the Raiders saw contributions from Lodes (16 points, 10 rebounds, five blocks and three steals), Merrill (15 points, nine rebounds and three blocks), Katerberg (12 points, three rebounds and two blocks) freshman Marlene Bussler (11 points, seven assists and four steals), and Koepke (11 points, nine rebounds and three steals).

The Raiders will look to defeat the Bears in consecutive games when they travel to Flint to face off against Mott Community College again on Wednesday, Dec. 8. 

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