Tigers End Slide In Newaygo
Story and photos by Alexis Mercer
Grant 51 Newaygo 34
“We did what we came to do,” said Grant’s Girls Varsity Coach, Paige Paulson. “We went through a hard streak, so it was nice to come in and win.”
The rivalry of M-37 teams continued tonight in the home of the Lions. Carle Bruggema, a 6th grade Newaygo student, belted out the National Anthem in perfect pitch to commence the event.
It was Jenna Janke, #11, who earned the first points of the game for the Lions by posting up and finding the net. Quickly after that, Kylee Chesley...
...drained a 3-point shot to send the nearly full stands into a state of pure excitement.
With 2:50 left on the clock in the first quarter, Grant found the bottom of the net, with #12, Laura Bouwkamp, scoring three. She followed that up with another 2 points and the quarter ended with the Lions up 9-5.
At the start of the 2nd quarter, the Tigers started a full court press and never looked back. With 3:11 on the clock, the game was tied at 15. The press continued, as did Grant’s scoring streak. With the buzzer at the half, Grant was up 29-15.
Missing three players, including two senior starters, who are in Washington D.C. for the inauguration proved to be too tough to overcome for the Lions. While Newaygo refused to quit, Grant kept the pressure on and drained bucket after bucket.
With a few minutes left on the clock, Grant’s #44, Erica Fritz made a layup and the bench roared with genuine excitement for their foreign exchange student teammate.
“I’d be lying if I said we didn’t talk about (the rivalry) before we got here,” said Coach Paulson. “We played our game.”
"I thought that we competed well but we can't turn the ball over like we did and expect to win,” said Lion Coach Nate Thomasma. “Give Grant credit, they put some good pressure on us."
The Tigers leading scorer was Bouwkamp with 18, with Ashley Herin and Kylie Patton each hitting for a dozen.
Chesley led the Lions with 20 and Janke added 6.
Grant’s record improves to 2-9 overall and 1-5 in conference play while the Lady Lions fall to 2-6 overall and 1-4 in the Gold.
Newaygo plays next at Big Rapids on Monday, January 23, while the Tigers head to Chippewa Hills the same day.