Lady Rams collide with top-ranked East Lansing in state quarterfinals

Rockford’s Lady Rams’ spectacular season came to an end last Tuesday night only two minutes from a trip to the Breslin Center and a possible state championship game. The East Lansing Trojans arrived in Caledonia for this state quarterfinal match-up rated number one in Class A and sporting their star player Klarissa Bell. Bell had been just awarded Michigan’s “Miss Basketball” title for the top player in the state.

Rockford sophomore Halle Peterson (#12) blocks the shot of East Lansing senior Klarissa Bell (#21).

East Lansing escaped with a 56-51 win in a thrilling game filled with great plays and excitement throughout. Led by Bell and three Division I college signees in their starting lineup, and holding a 25-1 record, the Trojans must have taken a deep breath as they departed for the ride back home. The Rams gave East Lansing more than they wanted, and then some. Averaging 65 points per game while allowing only 40, East Lansing was stretched to the limit.

Rockford scored first, as both teams came out tentative in the first quarter. East Lansing immediately applied full court pressure and continued a tenacious ball-hawking defense throughout the game. After the first eight minutes of play, East Lansing had jumped out to an early 12-7 lead.

The second quarter belonged to Rockford, as the Rams outplayed the Trojans on both ends of the court, fighting back into the game with the score all square at 26-26 at the half.

Ram senior Allison Huyser (#4) drives hard through the lane past East Lansing’s defense for a first-half basket.

The third quarter also belonged to the Rams, as they outscored East Lansing and led 45-37 with less than one minute in the third. The Rams offense opened up during the third quarter, scoring 19 points and holding the Trojans to 15.

The fourth quarter began with Rockford leading 45-41—senior Megan Kelley hit 10 of her game high 16 points in the second half. With 6:25 in the fourth, the score was tied 47-47. East Lansing then made their living at the foul line, 12 for 19 in second half, while Rockford was 3 for 5. The disparity in fouls was the deciding factor at game’s end: East Lansing 25/41, Rockford 10/16.

With under 2:00 left in the contest, Rockford sophomore Halle Peterson made two free throws to put Rockford on top 51-50, as the crowd rocked with the anticipation of an upset of the number-one Trojans. East Lansing’s Bell then took the ball coast to coast for two, and the Trojans were back up by one. After a great offensive set-and-shot attempt came up short for the Rams, Rockford was forced to foul, attempting to gain ball possession while behind by one. The last minute of play featured Trojan players striding to the foul line with the final score 56-51 East Lansing.

Rockford’s Allison Huyser, Caitlyn Patterson, Kimberly Weston, Megan Kelley and Kate Huyser huddle up at the start of the game.

East Lansing has since gone on to win the state championship on Saturday, March 20.

The Ram balanced scoring attack was led by Kelley with 16, senior Caitlyn Patterson 10, senior Allison Huyser 8, senior Kate Huyser 6, Peterson 6, and sophomore Kimberly Weston 5.

Coach Jessica Yonkers, her staff, and the Lady Rams should be congratulated for a memorable season; 2009-2010 OK Red champions, 2010 district champions and 2010 regional champions with an overall 23-4 record. The Lady Rams displayed strong character, team unity, and strong senior leadership all season. Outstanding careers were had by 2010 Lady Ram graduating seniors A. Huyser, Karliane Showers, Kelley, Hannah Rocheleau, Andi Raymond, K. Huyser, and Patterson.

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