By Ken DeLaat
A rough and rocky regular season came to a close for the Packers Friday night in a loss to the surging Vikings of Tri County.
It was Senior Night and Coach Krim started a fivesome of soon to be graduates with the exception of one. Brianna Noordyk who suffered a season ending injury a month ago in just her second game on the floor for the Packers, stood as her sister and the other four seniors took to the court in early action.
The game started slow with 3 minutes elapsing before Sydney Noordyk laced a pass to Anna Patenge to open the scoring. Taylor Reed answered for the Vikes then Chloe Shriver and Tricia Slavens exchanged scores and Noordyk again found a recipient for a nifty pass inside with Shriver finishing the play.Summer Longstreet tied it again before Bre Harris, on the floor for the first time since breaking a bone in her wrist over two months ago pulled off her signature move stealing the ball at the top of the key and firing down court for a layup that allowed the Pack to finish the first in front 8-7.
Noordyk opened the second by sending another perfect pass to Natalie Jamieson for the score and a 3 point lead.
It would be another 6 minutes and a 14-0 run by the Vikings before Calla Miller stopped the bleeding with a clutch three pointer. During that run TC got a pair of buckets from Longstreet, 2 at the line by Emma Overbeek triples by Grace Miller and Alicia Bowen and a put back by Jessica Thompson. After Emma Sicklesteel made it a 10 point lead the Packers had a chance to answer but could not get a shot off and the teams went to break.
The hosts were held to 8 points in the third while the Vikings balanced scoring attack tallied another 16 to make it an 18 point spread and when Overbeek nailed a triple to open the 4th the game was in hand for the visitors who would be closing their regular season on a 5 game winning streak.
With a minute left on the clock Brianna Noordyk the senior whose season just began when the injury cut short what looked to be a promising year.entered the game. Gingerly heading into three point land she was fed passes off rebounds while the crowd of students called her name in unison and on the fourth try she popped in a triple to put a bit of polish on an interrupted season.
The basket meant nothing to the outcome of the game. Her three points closed out what had become a rout.
But it meant something to her teammates who embraced her after the buzzer beating shot, including her sister who had the biggest smile of all. It meant a lot to the fans who chanted her name from the time she entered until the shot went down when they exploded in cheers as if they’d won. And it meant something to Coach Krim, his staff and certainly to her family.
But most of all it meant something to her. In her brief time as a Packer Ms. Noordyk showed grit determination and a boatload of talent. Since the injury she has been a class act, supporting her team from the bench while aching to be on the court doing what she loves.
Getting out there again and putting her hands on the ball, if only briefly, perhaps allows for the kind of ending she richly deserves.
This was a class move all around by Coaches Krim and Overbeek, the TC and Fremont players and an appreciative crowd.
The teams will move on to the District tournament being held at Fremont beginning Monday at 6pm when the Packers (10-10) take on the Belding (1-15). At 7:30 Tri County (12-8) will go up against Newaygo (5-15).