Story and photos by Mike Gesler
Cedar Springs 44 Grant 28
After a tough loss to White Cloud, the Grant Lady Tigers stepped onto their court hoping to give their fans something to cheer about in their home opener against the Lady Red Hawks of Cedar Springs. Facing an opponent out of the OK Conference would not be an easy task, and Cedar Springs would prove to be a force that Grant was not prepared for.
“Cedar Springs was extremely aggressive and quick. The night before, we played a very physical White Cloud team so I think we were ready for that. But the speed, we haven’t been able to simulate that in practice so adjusting to it took a while,” stated Paige Paulsen, Grant’s coach.
The game began with tough defenses on both sides, and neither team was willing to concede a bucket. It took approximately six minutes before Cedar Springs finally found their stride and began to leave Grant behind. The Lady Tigers wouldn’t put one through the net until four minutes were remaining in the first half when Trinity Swanson finally got Grant on the board with a well shot field goal. After that a pair of free throws from Kasidy Doornbos and Kirstyn Throop gave the Tigers a total of six at the half against the Red Hawks twenty-three. “We were kind of deer in headlights,” Coach Paulsen said.
Grant would need to match Cedar Springs’ speed and grit at the boards if they were going to overcome a seventeen point deficit before the final buzzer. And while it took six minutes and twenty seconds into the third quarter, the Lady Tigers finally got things working. Samantha Wolff came off the bench, and started a nice six point run for Grant followed by buckets from Trinity Swanson and Ashley Longcore. But the Red Hawks were not about to make things easy for Grant. While Grant had their best quarter with thirteen points, Cedar Springs did as well with an equal thirteen points. By the time the final buzzer sounded, those seventeen points proved to be too much for Grant. The Red Hawks took one from the Tigers with a final of 28-44.
Kirstyn Throop led the Tigers with nine points, followed by Trinity Swanson with six. Also scoring for the Tigers were Samantha Wolff (3), Sara Arends (3), Ashley Longcore (3), Mackenzie Rits (2), and Kasidy Doornbos (2). The Lady Tigers will next face Kent City in another home game on Tuesday, December 10 at 5:30.