Packers rally in the 4th to clip the Cards
Fremont 39 Big Rapids 33
Paige Vandenberg came up big Friday night hitting some timely shots in the clutch but it was truly a team effort that forged the impressive comeback victory over a previously undefeated Cardinal team. Chloe Shriver, Calla Miller, and Natalie Jamieson were superlative on the defensive end as they dove after loose balls, tied up the BR inside players and managed a few steals along the way. Avery Curnett banged home a drought ending triple in the first and Kaitlyn Bennett canned 3 shots in the late 3rd and early 4th Q’s that kept the Pack poised for that comeback.
This one was indeed a classic that fans and players should long remember.
With the teams jockeying back and forth, the defense-dominated first quarter came to an end with BR holding a 9-7 lead.
Then the Pack went cold. Unable to get the ball inside against a Cardinal defense that slapped a double team on Vandenberg every time she touched the ball they went to the outside shot but nothing was falling. As the second period progressed it looked like the Cards would be taking a double digit lead into the locker room but Miller rifled a pass to Jamieson who converted to end the half on a positive note despite an 8 point deficit.
After the break Vandenberg and Shriver got the hosts within 4 but the BR girls went on an 8-2 run and held the lead by 10. A triple by Jamieson and a Bennett bucket countered a Haist basket and the teams headed to the final frame with the Cards holding a solid 28-21 lead. A 7 point edge against a team averaging just 7 points in the first three quarters looked good for the visitors especially with the scoring prowess of Cardinal sharpshooter Rylee Haist.
The Pack clawed their way back in with a mindset of being on a mission. They slapped down a defense that choked off the BR scoring. Miller and Bennett hit the first 2 buckets of the 4th and at the 4 minute mark Jamieson followed a Vandenberg triple with the basket that would give the Packers the lead for the first time since midway through the first quarter.
The Cards kept coming at them but the Lady Packers were not about to yield. It had taken too much and too long to get that lead back and this was their gym and their game to finish.
And finish it they did. With a strong belief in themselves and their teammates the Packers delivered notice of their intention to compete for the crown. The final minute saw a key steal by Miller and an impressive Vandenberg rebound off a missed free throw to keep the Cards at bay and secure a key conference win.
Coach Zerlaut: “It can be hard to stay positive and continue to compete when the ball won’t go in the basket. I was really proud of the girls for continuing to play as hard as they did for four quarters. Thankfully some shots fell during the fourth and allowed us to pull off the win.”
Vandenberg led the Packers with 14 points and 6 rebounds, Jamieson scored 9 and took down a half dozen boards and Bennett hit for 7. Chloe Shriver brought it home on the glass with 8 boards while dishing out 7 assists and Miller displayed a dominant defense all night. For Big Rapids Haist finished with a game high 16 while teammate Holly McKenna added 7.
Fremont evened their mark at 3-3 with a 2-0 conference mark while Big Rapids dropped their first game and moves to 5-1 on the season and 1-1 in the Gold. The Packers go on hiatus for the holidays and will resume conference play January 10th when they host the Hornets of Central Montcalm.