By Mike Gesler
Photos by Catalpa Photography
Grant 27 Tri County 45
The Lady Vikings of Tri County came into Grant’s house tonight for a CSAA Gold Conference matchup. That last time these two teams faced each other was on Tri County’s court whereTri County handed Grant one of their nine conference losses. The Tigers were hoping to split the series, and return the favor since tonight would be on their turf.
“I’ll tell you what, we used up a lot of energy and emotion on Tuesday in a one point win at Reed City. I was real nervous coming here tonight,” shared Tri County’s Coach Overbeek.
Nervous may have been an understatement for the first quarter. Both teams played an equally matched intense press as they battled back and forth to exert their dominance. By the time the first quarter came to an end, fans were getting set for what looked like could be the battle of the century as Grant edged out Tri County by one point, 11-10.
Lady Luck is fickle, and in the second quarter, she turned stone cold for Grant. Tri County switched into zone defense, and stepped up their intensity. Some sloppy play with turnovers gave the Vikings a six point run before the Tigers were able to find the net. Then a series of fouls would plague Grant, and give another six point run to Tri County. Mercifully for Grant, the second quarter ended as they limped into the locker room with only two points to show against Tri County’s 12 points as Tri County led 22-13.
The third quarter would once again find both teams trying to best each other as neither team was able to do much. Tri County kept trying to work the ball inside only to find the long reach of Grant’s Kylie Patton denying any shot opportunities. For Grant, it would be four minutes before they would finally warm up and find the board. In the end, both teams only added seven to their score with hopes of a better fourth quarter.
If the first half foreshadowed the second half, then it would be Grant fans that should be nervous. Once again, the Tigers couldn’t buy a bucket as they watched the Vikings adjust to Patton’s inside denial and begin to extend their lead. And while it gave the Viking faithful plenty to cheer about, the Grant fans were eerily silent on their side of the court. “We did get good looks, but I thought we allowed our missed shots to dictate how we play defensively and that’s never a good thing,” stated Grant’s Coach Paulsen. “In the second half, I think it did the same thing and carried over. Some missed shots and not being able to get anything going on offense kind of dictated how we played. Tri County took advantage of it; emotional, physically, and as well as on the scoreboard.”
In the end, Tri County added 16 more points to their score, and walked away victorious stealing one from Grant’s house with a final 45 points to Grant’s 27. “Grant had one of those nights where they just didn’t hit shots. I’m not sure it was so much what we did. Sometimes you run into those nights in basketball, and they’re a better team than they played tonight,” explained Coach Overbeek.
Three Lady Vikings, Alicia Bowen, Grace Miller, and Jessica Thompson led the scoring tonight with eight points each. Emma Overbeek put up seven, and Tricia Stevens had four. Dayoni Mahlich, Julia Bice, Summer Longstreet, and Mickalia Sprik each had two. Taylor Reed also helped in the Viking’s effort with one. Tri County now moves to 7-5 in the conference, 10-8 overall, and will be back on their home court against Newaygo on Tuesday night.
For Grant, it would be Nicole Whan who would lead the Tiger’s scoring with eight points. Cecelia Male, Kylee Wemple, and Kylie Patton each had six, five, and four points respectively. Savannah Passage and Alyssa VanSingel would each score two, and Emerson Cole and Brooklyn Presler each added one. The Tigers move to 3-9 in the conference, 5-13 overall, and will stay at home against Fremont on Tuesday night.