By Shane Madden
The Grand Rapids Community College women’s basketball team defeated Ancilla Community College, Wednesday, Jan. 26, by a score of 59-48. Extending their win streak to five and continuing their ascent as we cross the halfway point of the season.
Despite a slow first half and a tough individual matchup, freshman forward Grace Lodes caught fire in the second half. She totaled 21 points, 13 rebounds, two steals and two blocks, while holding the Chargers leading scorer, Alayah Chapman who scored 16 through three quarters, scoreless in the fourth. Freshman guard Sally Merrill added 10 points and eight rebounds, while Karissa Ferry scored nine and grabbed 11 boards.
Both teams’ slow offensive nights can be credited to the tough defense they were playing, clogging the lane on drives and active hands forcing multiple jump ball situations for each team. The Raider defense came up with four steals and a block in the first quarter alone, but the offense never gained any momentum.
“I don’t want to take anything away from Ancilla, I just don’t think our focus was there tonight. I think that played into it,” said GRCC head coach David Glazier.
Late in the first quarter, freshman guard Marlene Bussler got open for three and put them up 11-8, a lead they held tight to and didn’t give up. Both teams continued to play gritty defense throughout the first half, and the Raiders would finish with a one-point lead, 23-22.
GRCC came out of the half with what seemed like a new strategy. They worked hard to keep the ball out of Chapman’s hands on defense and ran sets on offense with the intent of finding Lodes a mismatch. After a slow first half, she responded by scoring 16 second half points.
“(She was) just seeing the rim,” Glazier said. “Sometimes kids just get in a hurry and gotta slow down.”
Those minor adjustments set the Raiders on trajectory for a win, gradually growing their lead throughout the second half, finishing off the Chargers 59-48.
If good teams are judged by their worst nights, a solid win on a slow offensive night with focus lacking could be a good sign. The win extends the Raiders five-game win streak. Bringing them to 10-7 on the year, and 6-1 in conference play.
GRCC looks to continue recent success when the Raiders visit the Mid-Michigan College Lakers, at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 29, at Morey Courts in Mt Pleasant.
“We gotta play better than tonight,” said Glazier. “They’re playing well, shooting the ball well. They have a good coach, he’ll have them ready to go.”