By Randy Gregory
It was a night of exquisitely timed streaks that led the girl’s basketball team from Rockford to probably their biggest win of the season thus far at Grandville on Tuesday, January 29th. Rockford scored the first nine points of the second half to erase a 32-27 deficit and take a 36-32 lead. But the Bulldogs responded by gradually knotting things up and eventually taking a 57-51 lead with less then two minutes remaining. But the Rams one-upped their earlier run by scoring the final seven points of the night to claim the 58-57 triumph.
Mary Gipson notched four of the points at the free throw line and Logan McCane had a huge three-pointer as well to key the game-winning rally for the visitors from Rockford.
“We constantly work on a lot of pressure situations in practice,” said Rockford coach Jessica Yonkers . “I told the girls that if we stick to the game plan, then good things will happen. We wanted to get the ball to our 3-point shooters, and we did a solid job of that. We also wanted to drive to the hole and force them to foul us. It was big for us to knock down free throws tonight in a pressure-filled atmosphere.”
The Rams grabbed an early lead and almost maintained it before a late first half rally by the Bulldogs gave them the 32-27 halftime edge. In the final two minutes of the opening half it was Grandville that went on a 7-0 run of their own to take the five-point lead into the locker room.
“The OK Red is so tough this year,” Yonkers added. “Grandville is an excellent team and this was a huge win for us to get on the road. We were giving their shooters too much room early and they made us pay for it with some excellent three-point shooting. We did a much better job in the second half of closing out on their shooters and that was one of the biggest reasons we were able to rally.”
Gipson and McCane were the only two Rockford players in double figures. Gipson poured home 18 points and McCane tossed in 15.
The Rams continued their lengthy road trip with a journey to West Ottawa on Friday. It took a little longer than the Grandville game, but in the end the Rams took home a 52-43 overtime triumph over the Panthers to remain only one game back of undefeated Grand Haven in the OK Red at 4-1 (9-4 overall). Free throw shooting was again key for Rockford as they went a combined 7-8 during the four-minute overtime session.
This week finds the Rams again hitting the road on Tuesday (too late for press) with a trip to Hudsonville before finally returning home on Friday, February 8th to square off with Grand Haven.