Newaygo’s Elite Eight Heading To The Finals
Photos by Alexis Mercer
Story by Ken De Laat
Newaygo 55 Country Day 39
An octet of warriors took the floor at Van Andel Arena Wednesday afternoon.
And once again they triumphed.
Detroit Country Day presented the latest challenge to the blue collar ballers who have torn their way through the postseason on a mission to capture what was taken from them last year.
And that challenge was met and overcome in style.
There was a lot of game played on that court and the young women who took the floor for Newaygo, this group of players who seem to operate as a single unit, showed anyone watching just how good they are.
The first quarter saw the teams testing each other out like a pair of heavyweights in the ring. It was clear from the start this was going to be a physical game and the substantial Newaygo crowd voiced their displeasure with what they felt were non-calls. With DCD post player Abulu dominating the early glasswork Goodin and Fisk were scrapping with her in the paint and midway through the first Goodin hit the floor hard, and was taken to the bench to be examined. She was later able to return to action and played some of her best ball of the season, a high bar indeed.
The second saw DCD’s Arico zero in with a pair of triples early on. Down 17-15 Jaxi Long fired in a three, Ruehmeier popped in one of her baseline beauties and Jaxi found an opening and tossed a floater in for 2.
Abulu split from the line and Jaylee Long stole an inbound pass and sped down the court to drop one in. Yokely and Jaxi exchanged buckets and the Lions went to break up 27-20.
The Jackets came out of intermission swinging. A deuce and a three cut the lead to 2. Meanwhile Jaylee took an inadvertent elbow to the face, but seemed to shake it off and resume her spot on the court.
Goodin converted an offensive board into 2 points then following a timeout scored again. Ruehmeier once again found net from the base.
The teams went back and forth with the quarter ending 39-34 Newaygo.
Then came the fourth.
DCD went to Abulu who scored the first 4 pints of the perion and brought her team within a point. On the next possession Jaxi was fouled and hit both shots.
There was still tension in the crowd as the Jackets seemed to keep hanging around.
Enter Anna Brummel.
Brummel fired in a three that put a charge into an already amped up Lion team. Next DCD possession Jaylee took a steal and threw a football style pass to Goodin who took it in and suddenly the lead was 8.
And from there, once again, the Lions defense truly never rested.
Their in your face, ‘don’t be bringing that stuff in here’ approach to Country Day paid off. You could see the fatigue of the young Yellowjacket team become a factor late in the game. The Lions had simply worn them out. The once crisp passes found their way into Newaygo hands and were converted into easy points on the other end. They sent Lions to the stripe as the game wound down but there was no slowing down the Newaygo express on this afternoon.
Jaylee Long: ”Even when it got close it was something we all knew we wanted so bad. We knew we were almost there and just looked at each other, stayed together and just kept pushing.”
And in the end notched another win in what has truly been a remarkable season.
And now Breslin.
For all the Marbles.
And (just as we had hoped) a rematch with the Portland Raiders.