Tigers Defeat Lions, Move On To District Finals
By Alexis Mercer
Tigers 44 Lions 29
Their last matchup was last Friday night at Grant’s gymnasium. These familiar opponents traveled this time to Tri-County High School, host of the District Semi-Finals in the MHSAA State Tournament.
Losing last Friday 22-28 was fresh in Newaygo’s mind as they attempted to clear the slate and win against their rivals. The first half it looked like they might do just that.
Grant was putting on an impressive full court press, but Newaygo was breaking it and finding ways to score both inside and deep. Grant, however...
...had trouble putting the ball in the net in the first quarter.
It was Newaygo up 11 to Grant’s 7 at the end of the first quarter.
Grant’s Laura Bouwkamp made a layup to start the 2nd quarter, but Newaygo’s Kylee Chesley answered with 5 straight points, a 3 and an inside jump shot, to make a statement that the Lions were here to play.
Bouwkamp drained a 3 for the Tigers’ first lead of the game, and immediately Newaygo’s Madison Bush popped her own 3 to tie at 19.
The rivals headed into the locker room at the half with Grant having taken a slight 21-19 lead.
It was the 3rd quarter when Grant took over and never looked back.
Tiger Arends drained a 3-point with 2:22 left in the 3rd quarter, putting Grant up 28-22.
The score gap quickly escalated after this despite Newaygo’s best effort to make a comeback. With 52 seconds on the clock, Newaygo’s Head Coach Nate Thomasma called a time out to sub in his underclassmen; a passing of the guard.
With tears in their eyes, Newaygo seniors finished their last game of their high school careers.
The final score put the Tigers on top 44-29.
Grant’s Head Coach, Paige Paulsen, said he was “proud of the way everyone stepped up, made adjustments, sunk free throws, and filled a role. This was a true team win tonight.”
After having just played last week, the Tigers knew they had to step up their offensive game. “We worked on ball movement and establishing a presence under the basket,” said Paulsen.
The game plan worked, as the Tigers came out in the second half with an offense on fire.
“Couldn't be prouder of my whole team. They played their guts out while battling illness tonight. My seniors will be missed. Their attitude, leadership and effort was tremendous all year,” states Nate Thomasma.
Kylee Chesley had 9 points and Madison Bush had 8 points. Madison Cook chipped in 6 while Jenna Janke grabbed 10 big boards for the Lions.
The Tigers were led by Laura Bouwkamp with 10 points and Goirgia Paleari with 9.
Grant will now face off against the Tri-County Vikings on Friday, May 3 at 7:00 PM at TC High School.
The last time Tri-County and Grant played, Grant lost in overtime.