By Mike Gesler
Photos by Catalpa Photography
Fremont 34 Grant 32
The last time the ladies of Grant and Fremont saw each other was on Fremont’s home court. Both teams battled it out, but it would be a 15-2 fourth quarter for the Packers that would elevate them to a victory over their CSAA Gold conference rivals. Tonight, on Grant’s home court, Grant would have the chance to pay Fremont back. With neither team in contention for the conference championship, this game would simply mean bragging rights or redemption.
“It kind of went the way I thought it would tonight. I knew it was going to be a close tight game. Grant does a great job of playing defense. Their girls are very active hand wise; they’re always in the right position. It went the way I thought. I thought it would be a close game, and it was,” stated Fremont’s Coach Krim.
Fremont drew first blood when Calla Miller put Fremont on the board off a steal and quick layup. With both teams in man-to-man coverage, finding the basket was not easy, but Grant’s Cecelia Male succeed inside to give the Tiger’s their first points. From that point on, it was game. Neither team was able to do much as defensively both teams shut down any opportunities. It wasn’t until the last two minutes of the first that Fremont’s Anna Portenge boosted the Packers with two hoops that contributed to a six point run, and ended the quarter with Fremont up ten to six.
The Packer’s run continued into the second. Grant struggled to hold on to the ball. That allowed Fremont to amass six more points before Grant’s Savannah Passage ended the drought with a three point jumper. After that, the Tiger’s settled back into their game, and began to claw their way back. While Fremont won the battle of the boards, Grant managed to chip away at the nine point distance Fremont was able to create ending the half with the Packers leading 21-15.
If the first half of play wasn’t exciting enough, the second half was a hold-your-breath-edge-of-the-seat-I’m-going-to-have-a-stroke exciting. Both teams picked up the battle defensively right where they left off. Neither team was willing to concede a basket. It would be two and a half minutes before Grant’s Jill Arends found the opening for a three point hoop, and started a six point run for the Tigers. But the biggest shocker for Fremont fans was the fact that Grant was able to hold the Packers scoreless in the third, which led to both teams tied 21-21 going into the fourth. “That third quarter was probably the ugliest third quarter I’ve seen. It wasn’t the greatest for them. I think we only gave up six points; six to nothing. We haven’t had one like that in a long time. It was interesting,” Coach Krim shared.
With Grant having the momentum going into the fourth, something needed to change for the Packers. That something was again Anna Patenge who found the net for two, a quick Packer steal, and another two by Chloe Shiver, which swung momentum now in Fremont’s favor. But Grant was not about to concede the fight. With just over two minutes remaining in the game, Grant was able to pull within three points. The Packer’s found Patenge open under the net to boost their lead by five with only one minute remaining. However, with 46 seconds, Grant’s Jill Arends was quick to respond with three points, and bring the game within two. In the ensuing play, Grant’s Nicole Whan stole the ball with an easy layup opportunity only to miss. Fremont then overplayed giving the ball back to Grant who found Kylie Patton open inside again only to miss. With 0.8 seconds left on the clock, all Fremont had to do was inbound, and hold onto the ball. As the final buzzer sounded, the Packer’s breathed a sigh of relief barely escaping the Tiger’s den by a final of 34-32.
“It was a fun game; I mean it was really a fun game,” shared Grant’s Coach Paulsen. “I thought both teams competed very well. The first half, I think we got down eighteen to nine, and we were able to fight our way back fifteen to twenty-one. In the third quarter, we played a tremendous defensive effort; held them to nothing, and tied the game. Again in the fourth quarter another great back and forth battle where they ended up scoring two more points than we did. They made layups and got tough baskets when they needed to, and we did too, we just came one short.”
The Packers were led by senior Anna Patenge with twelve points, followed by freshman Calla Miller with eight points. Chloe Shiver, Sydney Noordyk, and Paige VandenBerg each contributed four. Natalie Jamieson also added two. Fremont moves to 6-7 in the conference (10-9 overall), and will be at home Friday against Tri County.
For the Tigers, junior Jill Arends led in their effort with eleven points, followed by Cecelia Male and Kylie Patton each with six. Also scoring for the Tigers were Nichole Whan (4), Savannah Passage (3), and Kirstyn Throop (2). The Tigers fall to 3-10 in the conference (5-14 overall), and will end their season before district playoffs against Newaygo on Friday night in Newaygo.