By Kevin Lopez
The Raiders came back to the Ford Fieldhouse and continued their winning ways as they took down the Jayhawks, 62-55, with inspiring efforts from sophomores Emersyn Koepke and Karrisa Ferry.
Immediately, the Raiders came out and brought the offensive punch that they had in their last victory and displayed it against Muskegon Community College as they scored 21 points in the first quarter with a solid 53% from the field and splashed home three 3-pointers in the quarter. The Raiders also scored 10 points in the paint, while holding the Jayhawks to just 15 points and 27% from the field.
Sally Merrill, a sophomore forward, had five points in the first quarter and Emerysn Koepke, a sophomore guard, also scored eight points in the quarter with two 3-pointers that helped the Raiders take the lead in the first quarter 21-15.
“I was just feeling it today, so I kept shooting it,” Koepke said. “I usually don’t get to shoot too much, so I was just feeling it.”
The second quarter was a different story as both teams played evenly in the quarter, making the same number of shots, while also shooting around the same percentage from each other. The difference for the Jayhawks in this quarter was that they made one more 3-pointer and scored more points in the paint and scored four points off of offensive rebounds that helped them outscore the Raiders in the quarter, 14-11. Still, the Jayhawks couldn’t take the lead as they trailed going into the half 32-29.
Moving into the third quarter, the Jayhawks started taking the momentum from the Raiders as they had seven offensive rebounds in this quarter and the Raiders were throwing the ball out of bounds and seemed to lose their energy while lacking fight in the quarter.
In came sophomore forward Karrisa Ferry and her impact was noticeable the moment she stepped on the court. She was boxing out, running back on defense, grabbing offensive rebounds and drawing fouls on offense.
“I feel like it was a really good game today, we all fed off of each other’s energy,” Ferry said. “I’m always gonna bring it back to the team, so I feel like we pulled it together and had each other’s back.”
Still, the Raiders ended up losing the lead to the Jayhawks in the third quarter 44-46, with continued unforced turnovers plaguing the Raiders. However, the momentum began shifting towards the Raiders by the end of the quarter, it seemed that they were poised to take advantage.
The last quarter was back and forth throughout as the lead changed four times between the teams. With great defense and continued grit, the Raiders were able to hold the Jayhawks to just 22% from the field and only nine points in the quarter and in the final three minutes of the quarter. The Raiders went on a 7-0 run and with sophomore guard, Marlene Bussler, hitting some clutch free throws at the end, put the game out of reach and secured the victory for the Raiders.
GRCC’s head coach Dave Glazier was very happy with the contributions from Koepke and Ferry.
“Hey man, it was huge, probably not the kid that is expected to do that for us, but we’ve been around and we know she can do it,” Glazier said about Koepke.
Glazier also appreciated Ferry’s contributions.
“Kid’s a winner,” Glazier said. “She’s from a winning program, she knows how to go do the things we need her to do and she had a hell of a day.”
Merrill led the team in scoring today with 16 points, but wanted the focus to be on Koepke and Ferry.
“I may have led the team in scoring, but I want to shout out to Emersyn and Karissa because without them we would not have won,” Merrill said.
This victory puts the Raiders record at 13-7, with a conference record of 7-3 and a home record of 7-2.
The Raiders look to keep the momentum going and make it three straight as they take on Alpena Community College at 1 p.m. in Alpena.