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Raiders come alive, headed to the semi-finals

Freshman Marlene Bussler dribbles the ball up the court in win versus Ancilla (Kristen Schestag)

By Shane Madden 

The Grand Rapids Community College women’s basketball team defeated Glen Oaks Community College, 70-62, in the quarterfinal of the National Junior College Athletic Association Great Lakes District A tournament. 

The Raiders filled the box score from top to bottom, with four scorers in double figures, two double-doubles, and 12 team steals.  

Freshman guard Sally Merrill led the offense with 22 points and seven rebounds, while freshman guard Marlene Bussler got busy on both ends, plundering Viking possessions six times, reeling in nine rebounds and hop-stepping her way to 17 points.  

Freshman forwards Grace Lodes and Allison Kellogg dominated the paint for the Raiders.  Lodes scored 12 with 10 rebounds, adding five assists while acting as the pivot point in GRCC’s zone offense. Kellogg hustled her way to an impressive double-double coming off the bench, her second in a row, scoring 12 with 11 rebounds.  

“Just another team effort,” said GRCC head coach David Glazier. “Allison Kellogg, this was her second or third straight game coming off the bench with a double-double. Sally had a quiet 20. It was nice having Grace back in the middle.”  

Glen Oaks came out in a 2-3 zone, which only slowed the Raiders for a moment. After a few tries, GRCC was whipping the ball around the perimeter forcing the defense to scramble and passing up good shots for great ones.  

By halftime the Raiders held a four-point lead, 30-26, but they had the zone figured out and the Vikings on their heels.  

GRCC dominated the third quarter. They wasted no time picking the zone apart, finding Bussler and freshman guard Emersyn Koepke for a pair of 3-pointers, then Merrill for a floater in the lane.  

Down 11, the Vikings switched up their defense late in the third hoping for a momentum swing. They moved to a full court press and came up with a few steals, but the Raiders quickly solved that puzzle and went about their business.  

GRCC ran away with it late in the fourth, completing the season sweep and moving on to face Jackson College in the semi-final. Jackson is the only conference opponent GRCC has yet to beat. No time like the tourney to cross big items off your list. 

The Raiders are set to face off against the Jets in the NJCAA Great Lakes District A semifinals on Friday, March 4 at 1 p.m, in Flint at Mott Community College. 

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