By Mike Gesler
Photos By Catalpa Photography
Grant 44 Newaygo 31
The Lady Tigers matched up against the Lions of Newaygo in a near north CSAA Gold Conference rivalry. Coming into tonight, the two teams had two nearly identical records, and were tied in the conference standings at 1-5 apiece. But the parity did not end at their records. Both teams are using every game to create experience in their young squads, to learn from their mistakes, and to build on their successes. So tonight would be a chance for either team to mark the season’s midway point on a high note.
The first half of the game would prove how evenly matched the Tigers and the Lions are. At the end of the first quarter, Newaygo led by one; ten points to Grant’s nine. The second quarter would see each team score six buckets thus Newaygo went into the half still maintaining their one point lead; sixteen points to Grant’s fifteen.
Grant made some adjustments coming into the second half that would include junior center, Kylie Patton, to which Newaygo would have no answer. “Truthfully it was a lot of attacking the basket, and finding Patton inside,” stated Coach Paulsen of Grant. Patton’s height was too much for Newaygo as Grant dominated the boards during the third quarter on both ends winning offensive rebounds and giving Newaygo few looks at the hoop.
Yet, as Patton rested early in the fourth quarter, the Lions took every opportunity to wrangle in the score and bring it back to a one point difference with about four and half minutes left in the game. That would be as close as the Lions would get. Grant went on an eight point run, and never looked back. As the final buzzer sounded, Grant defeated their northern rivals 44-31.
“I thought it was pretty evenly matched. I thought about two or three minutes of the third quarter and two or three minutes of the fourth quarter, Grant kind of took it to us. We doubled our mistakes up, and they hit shots. That was kind of the difference in the game,” shared Newaygo coach Jason Long.
Leading the way for the Tigers was Kylie Patton with a season high 14 points, followed by sophomore guard, Nicole Whan, with eight. Jill Arends and Kirstyn Throop each scored six, as Cecelia May and Savannah Passage each added four. Emerson Cole also added to the Tiger’s victory with two point.
For the Lions, freshman guard, Jaylee Long led with nine points. Alexis Brocker (7), Lillian Ruehmeier (6), Daisy Hagen (5), and Dana duChemin (4) also added to the Lion’s effort.
The Tigers move to 3-8 (2-5 conference) at the midpoint of the season, and will next see Lakeview in a non-conference matchup at home on Tuesday at 5:30. Newaygo sits at 2-8 (1-6) and will visit Morley Stanwood on Tuesday.