Fremont falls 47-24
By Ken DeLaat
Big Rapids came into the game riding a seven game winning streak to open the season and took just 8 minutes to make it known why.
Kaitlyn Ray and Jayla Strickland, two names that would be mentioned often at the scorers table, scored the first two baskets before Calla Miller knocked down a pair of free throws to make it 4-2. When Miller fired in a three pointer for the next Packer score it was already well into the second quarter and the visitors had hung 17 straight points on their hosts.
The Cards have a number of offensive weapons with Kelsey Welch and Savannah Seath but it is Strickland and Ray who give opponents matchup nightmares and they seemed to be all over the floor Friday night.
The Packers held the scoring in to get to the half down 25-10 but despite another triple by Miller and a basket by Natalie Jamieson early in the third the Cards stretched the lead to 34-16 entering the final frame.
The 4th quarter saw Jamieson hit twice more but Ray scored the final 10 points for the Cardinals and when Paige VanderLaan scored as time expired the scoreboard read 47-24 and Fremont dropped to 4-3 0n the season and 1-2 in the Gold.
It won’t get any easier for the Packers. Tuesday the third of the trio of undefeated Gold teams visits when Central Montcalm brings their 9-0 Hornets into town, a team winning by an average margin of nearly 20 points a game.
Big Rapids is a good team but so are the Packers. This was a game where they missed the senior leadership of the injured Bre Harris on the floor. Losing the player who is your stopper, the catalyst that can turn things around quickly has a huge impact on any team. and while the Packers possess talent they are taking the floor without the player who has been the go-to person since landing on the varsity as a freshman.
Help is on the way with the Noordyk sisters set to become eligible next week after being required to sit due to transfer rules and this team has the talent to bounce back once they adjust to the lineup changes. Calla Miller is developing into a solid player in her freshman year and played with a great deal of heart as well as skill in a losing effort. VandenBerg seems to be gaining confidence while Riley Sweet and Katie Nicolas go all out all the time. Chloe Shriver and Anna Patenge help underneath and the bench while a bit thin in numbers right now, can be counted on to hold their own.
More importantly the girls never quit. Coach John Krim’s team kept pushing, kept fighting and kept working to the final buzzer. They may have been disheartened by the defeat but it never showed during the game and that level of character will help them regroup, make adjustments and begin to win again.
In a little more than a month they will face the Cardinals again in Big Rapids and while they might not win they will fare better than they did on this night.
Much better would be my guess.