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. 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. 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. […]
Rockford Lady Rams Basketball Team
Team secures first ever regional championship victory Coach Jessica Yonkers and the Lady Rams have taken Rockford High School athletics to new heights this week. For the first time in the history of Rockford High School, the girls basketball team has advanced into and won a state regional final game. Only eight schools remain standing in Class A, on their way to one winning the state championship. Rockford has advanced into the state quarterfinals Tuesday, March 16. The regional final game found the Lady Rams playing Marquette (21-2), who had averaged 65 points per game. Marquette had scored over 90 points while limiting opponents to well under 40 several times this season. In fact, the Redettes from the Upper Peninsula, had been winning games by a margin of 25 points all season long, were on a 17-game winning streak, and not lost a game since December 29, 2009. The Region II championship game started with a furious pace, Marquette defending with full court pressure. Marquette drew first blood on a steal and a drive to the basket for a quick two points. Rockford, steadying themselves and employing their smothering defense, went to work. Marquette’s center, Daina Grazulis at 6’ 4”, should have been an offensive weapon, but she was unable to post up low against the tough inside Ram defense. Unable to go low, the Redettes were forced to rely on outside scoring. The first quarter ended with Marquette on top 13-12. The Rams’ offense opened up throughout the second quarter with Kimberly Weston hitting two three-pointers, Rachel Henry scoring two big buckets from inside, Megan Kelly hitting two buckets from mid range, Caitlyn Patterson pounding points in from close range, Allison Huyser scoring inside with her usual strong game, and Halle Peterson hitting a 15-footer from the base line. Rockford’s defense held Marquette to only four second-quarter points. By halftime, Rockford had regained the lead 24-17. If offense was on display in the first half, the second half featured a defensive battle by both teams. Midway through the third stanza, foul trouble became an issue for the Rams. Coach Yonkers then went to her bench, substituting players at the right times during the last part of the third quarter and all of the fourth. […]
Two of the top Class A teams in the area squared off in the MHSAA girls basketball district finals last Friday night, March 5, in Greenville. This game promised to be an exciting contest and was a rematch of last year’s district finals match-up. Both Rockford and Northview jumped out to a fast and furious start, each trying to stake their claim and set the tone in this all-or-nothing championship game. In the end, the Lady Rams came out victorious with a 50-40 win. After four hard-fought quarters of outstanding basketball, the Rockford Rams hoisted the district championship trophy. This game featured a strong Ram team defensive effort and a balanced scoring attack. Rockford was led in points by sophomore Kimberly Weston’s 15, followed by senior Megan Kelly (14), senior Al Huyser (11), and sophomore Halle Peterson (6). Huyser also led all players with 11 total rebounds. “I’m so happy for the these seniors,” said Head Coach Jessica Yonkers. “They’ve worked so hard for so long.” Rockford’s game plan included shutting down Northview’s two leading scorers, senior guard Danielle Kaputska and Katelyn Joyce. Constant pressure defense and allowing very few open-look three-point opportunities for the Wildcats was key to the Rams’ win. The Rams’ victory puts them into state regional competition beginning Tuesday, March 9 and concluding Thursday, March 11 at Cedar Springs High School. Joining the Rams will be OK Red teams West Ottawa and Grand Haven, along with the Marquette Redettes. The winner will advance to the state quarterfinals next week.
Rockford led most of the game, holding a nine-point lead in the third quarter. The big momentum change of the game came in the fourth quarter, with the Rams scoring only six points and allowing Hudsonville 17 points. The Rams were led by Allison Huyser’s 11 points, followed by Megan Kelley and Kimberly Weston with 10 and 8 points, respectively. The Lady Rams’ next game will prove to be a test, as the Rams travel to Grand Haven on Friday, Jan. 15, to face the Bucs—who have an identical record of 7-1, 3-1—in an interesting OK Red showdown.