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Raiders on a roll, seven in a row

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Freshman Emersyn Koepke looks down the court for an open teammate in tight win, 49-47, over Muskegon CC (Kristen Schestag)

By Shane Madden 

The Grand Rapids Community College women’s basketball team continues their late season strut, defeating Kellogg Community College, 57-31.  

Reigning conference player of the week, freshman guard Sally Merrill, along with freshman forward Grace Lodes led the Raider offense with 10 points each. Lodes would add four first-quarter-steals and two blocks. Freshman guard Emersyn Koepke added eight points and six rebounds.

After a weeklong hiatus due to weather postponement, the Raiders came out looking a bit cold. A sluggish back and forth ensued for the duration of a first quarter plagued by turnovers. GRCC escaped the first with a small 12-10 lead. But a different team took the floor for the start of the second.  

“Sometimes it’s just feeling each other out and seeing what works,” said GRCC head coach David Glazier. “Credit to our kids, they have been really consistent in seeing what’s happening, then having a better idea of where to attack.”  

Whatever the issue in the first quarter, GRCC left it there. They would hold the Bruins scoreless for the next seven minutes while working effectively on offense. The Raiders dominated the second quarter, turning it into one long 17-4 run. They headed into halftime with a 29-14 lead and rode the momentum all the way to a massive blowout in front of their home crowd.  

The starters saw significantly reduced minutes in the second half, as is typical of a blowout win, allowing the bench unit additional reps and a chance to shine. They responded by scoring 23 points and holding the Bruins to just 17 second half points. Freshman guard Emma Gillies scored five with four assists, while freshman forward Audrey Harnish added six points with a game high nine rebounds. 

“There’s going to come a moment (as the season progresses) where kids are called upon to come in (off the bench) and help us execute,” Glazier said. “Getting them some quality game minutes, getting them opportunities to play through ups and downs is important. They work their tails off in practice, and to see the fruits of their labor payoff is great for them and for the group.” 

The Raiders are rolling after a slow start. Saturday’s win marks seven in row, 11 of the last 13, and the ascension of this bench unit adds another element to a very good basketball team. 

GRCC looks to add another win to their streak as they take on Glen Oaks Community College, Monday, Feb. 7, at the Gordon Hunsberger Arena at 5:30 p.m.