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Merrill and Kellogg help the Raiders win as they dismantle Alpena Community College 72-48

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Sophmore #12 Marlene Bussler at the free throw line vs. Bay College (Alena Visnovsky/The Collegiate).

By Kevin Lopez

 After experiencing a tough loss on the road, being in the Ford Fieldhouse certainly seemed to get everything back in order for the Raiders as they defeated Alpena Community College 72-48 on Saturday, Jan.21.

In the first quarter, the Raiders came out with intensity on the defensive side of the court. They were great with their hands and stayed glued to the floor as they jumped out to a 6-0 start while also causing two turnovers and a few airballs.

This allowed them to score in transition for six fastbreak points and they scored eight points off turnovers, while also shooting 58% from the field.

Marlene Bussler, a sophomore guard, drained two 3-pointers and drove to the basket for a nice layup, while also dishing out two assists in the quarter that helped the Raiders take the lead 20-12.

“I always think it’s important to pass first for our team,” Bussler said. “We knew after our last game that our energy had to be better and that allowed us to step on their throats today.”

The second quarter started off a bit slow for the Raiders as they seemed a bit disconnected on offense and defense allowing some easy shots in the paint, but they quickly cleaned it up as they again forced turnovers and were moving the ball that allowed them to get good shots.

The main benefactor from this was Allison Kellogg, a sophomore forward, as she served up 10 points in the quarter with a side of tenacious defense as she would rip the ball out of her opponents hands for steals.

“I think it’s the energy from the bench and everyone else on the floor,” Kellogg said. “With everyone being hype for everybody that just gets me going.”

The Raiders overall took control of the quarter with 18 points in the paint and showing more effort on the glass as they had more offensive rebounds than the Ladyjacks. This allowed the Raiders to take the lead into the half 41-22.

As they moved into the third quarter, it was an offensive struggle for both teams as they couldn’t seem to put the ball in the basket. Still the Raiders were playing excellent defense as they forced many turnovers, dove for the ball, and even forced three shot clock violations.

GRCC Head Coach Dave Glazier felt that effort was the key for the Raiders.

“Confidence in the moment,” Glazier said. “We were confident that we were the better team and if we come out and do the right thing it just snowballs from there.”

With the Raiders having a comfortable lead going into the fourth quarter, it was all about continuing their play to take home the win. The Raiders allowed offensive rebounds and missed defensive coverages near the end of the game, but it was far too late for a comeback for the Ladyjacks as the Raiders took home the win. This pushed their record to 8-5 and 2-1 in conference play.

Kellogg finished the game with 19 points and five steals, while Sally Merrill, a sophomore forward, finished the game with 17 points and seven rebounds.

Merrill said she is confident in the team moving forward in their conference schedule.

“Confidence is a good thing to have, but I don’t think it’s boosting our ego or anything,” Merrill said. “We needed to be 2-1 going into this game, it definitely helps us and makes us feel ready.”

The Raiders look to continue their play as they look to take on their next conference opponent, Muskegon Community College, at 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 25 in Muskegon.

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