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Raiders overcome early deficit for the win

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Freshman Allison Kellogg attempts the free throw in loss to Jackson College (Kristen Schestag)

By Shane Madden  

The Grand Rapids Community College women’s basketball team dug themselves out of an early hole to complete the season sweep, defeating Lake Michigan College, 47-42.   

Freshman guard Marlene Bussler continued her offensive hot streak, leading the Raiders with 14 points. Freshman forward Allison Kellogg had a huge game on the boards, grabbing 16 rebounds and adding 11 points. Freshman forward Grace Lodes (four blocks) and freshman guard Emersyn Koepke (four steals, one block), anchored the Raider defense. 

GRCC quickly found themselves playing catch up, giving up back-to-back 3-pointers and failing to secure defensive rebounds, falling behind 10-0. They struggled to settle into their offense and find open shots, and the few they managed weren’t going through. They finished the first quarter down 14-6.  

The Raiders started to find the bottom of the net in the second, hitting open shots and pacing the Red Hawks offense. They walked off the court at halftime down 25-18, without momentum, and searching for consistency offensively with their leading scorer, freshman Sally Merrill, held to just two points. 

“This team kind of just figures stuff out,” said GRCC head coach David Glazier. “That first half was not looking good, and that was part of the conversation (at halftime). We just played probably our worst half of basketball all season and we are only down seven. I may have challenged them a little bit, but to their credit they spoke up and talked about the things they needed to do better. Then they went out and did them.” 

An entirely different team took the floor in the second half. Heads held high like they’d been there before. The Raiders outscored the Red Hawks 13-6 in the third, erasing the early deficit and tying the game for the first time since the opening tip at 31. Their renewed effort evident as they dove to the floor for loose balls, fighting for every possession. When shots just won’t fall, effort and energy win ball games. 

GRCC had finally snatched back the momentum and had no intention of giving it back. 

Great teams pick each other up and with Merrill struggling to find the net, The Raiders did it by committee. Five Raiders contributed 16 points in the fourth, finishing the comeback and adding another conference victory to their resume.   

“(When) we get in the tournament it’s going to be imperative that other people are able to step up,” Glazier said. “I talked to Sal (Merrill) afterward, and she may not have done what we usually expect from her on the offensive end, but she took the challenge of a tough defensive assignment in the second half and did a really nice job.” 

GRCC heads to Indiana to take on Ancilla College on Wednesday, Feb. 21, at 5:30 p.m. Another matchup with tournament seeding implications in the hotly contested western conference.