The Lady Rams rolled into Bulldog country Tuesday, Feb. 9, taking on Grandville in a rematch. This match-up seemed to be the most intriguing in the OK Red conference. After Rockford’s win last Friday over West Ottawa, the Rams climbed into a first-place tie with the Panthers (7-2).
The Lady Rams are on the home stretch for a championship run in the OK Red. Five games are remaining in league play to determine who will be wearing that championship crown. Determination and mental toughness have been the hallmark of these Rams all season.
The Lady Rams are not surgeons, but they set up an operating table on Grandville’s home court Tuesday night and proceeded to carve up the Bulldogs 51-39. In arguably their best all-around performance of the season, the Rams put on a clinic. Rockford jumped out to an early 10-point lead. However, the Bulldogs fought their way back, going ahead one minute into the second quarter. The Rams regained the lead immediately on a coast-to-coast steal and basket, and were ahead 25-19 by intermission.
The lead was never given back the remainder of the game. The Rams outscored the Bulldogs in every quarter.
This game featured great play in every facet of the game, including rebounding, defending, crisp passing, ball control, steals, and clock management. Seniors Caitlyn Patterson (16) and Megan Kelley (15) led the Rams in scoring, followed by Katherine Huyser (7), Allison Huyser (6), Halle Peterson (4), and Kimberly Weston (3).
On Friday, Feb. 12, the Lady Rams traveled to Hudsonville, looking to make amends for an earlier season loss to the Eagles. And the Rams did avenge that loss with a 35-30 victory.
Rockford’s win, along with West Ottawa’s loss to East Kentwood, gave the Rams sole possession of first place atop the OK Red. The Rams host their next three league games, finishing out conference play at home.
Defense was the key for Rockford, as Hudsonville jumped out to a quick lead. Rockford started slowly, not scoring until 3:02 left in the first quarter, unable to find the range from anywhere on the court. The Eagles held a 14-7 advantage by quarter’s end.
Rockford stopped Hudsonville cold during second quarter of play, holding the Eagles scoreless while scoring 12 points. Rockford took the lead with 3:26 left on the clock during the second period and never fell behind during the game. A second-quarter full court press by the Rams was responsible for a 19-14 halftime lead in a low-scoring contest.
With 36 seconds left in the third quarter and the game still very much in doubt, the Rams’ Patterson, a stalwart player all year long, went out with a severe ankle injury.
Rockford Coach Jessica Yonkers turned to her bench and finished out the game mostly with three sophomores, a junior and one senior. The Rams’ defense held the Eagles to 6 points in the third quarter and 10 in the fourth. The second half featured a plethora of steals by the Rams, as they put up a furious defensive effort to secure this win.
“I am so proud of our team, the way we played through the adversity tonight and the way we played our last three games on the road, I’m just so proud of how well they competed. We’ve played well defensively and we look forward to finishing the season strong,” said Coach Yonkers.
Leading the Rams were A. Huyser (12), Weston (6), Kelley (6), Peterson (4), Patterson (4), and K. Huyser (3).
This win and a West Ottawa loss on the same night gave Rockford sole possession of first place in the OK Red. The Rams (9-2, 14-2) meet Grand Haven (8-3, 13-4) in Rockford on Friday, Feb. 19 at 6 p.m. for an important OK Red conference match-up.