By Shane Madden
The Grand Rapids Community College women’s basketball team tallied their third straight win Saturday Dec. 11, defeating Alpena Community College 67-53.
Freshman guard Sally Merrill led the way for the Raider offense, aggressively attacking the paint and frequently visiting the free-throw line to the tune of a season high 27 points. Grace Lodes scored 12, Marlene Bussler added 10, and the bench came to play as nine Raiders worked their way into the scoring column.
After a slow start to the first quarter, the Raiders defense took over during the second. Stifling the opponent’s offense and racking up steal after steal on what seemed like every post entry pass, holding the Lumberjacks to just seven second quarter points.
“Once we figured out what Alpena was doing, it really became a team effort (defensively), especially with the way they communicated,” said GRCC head coach David Glazier. “We schemed for them a bit, No. 11 (Jade) Shultz is a great player, she finishes really well, so our ability to guard space (the paint), and keep the ball out of her hands was important.”
The Raiders kept their foot on the gas throughout the third quarter, increasing their lead to 23 points. A blowout in the making.
The Lumberjacks pulled out all the stops in the fourth in an attempt to claw their way back into it. Applying a tough full court press, they managed to fluster the Raider offense into several turnovers and turned them into fast break points on the other end. After a quick time-out and a few repetitions, the Raiders settled into their press break and held on to keep the win streak alive.
The Raiders look to extend their streak against the defending National Junior College Athletic Association Division II National Champions as they take on the Lake Land College Lakers, Friday, Dec. 17 at 5:30 p.m. at the Gordon Hunsberger Arena.
“We’re looking forward to it, it’s going to be a challenge,” Coach Glazier said. “They’re actually the third of the final four teams (tournament semi-finalists) we have played this year. So, one last big challenge for us before we head into conference play, and our conference is always tough.”