Lake Michigan College Women's Basketball team had a very slow start and did not score a point in the first quarter, but the Lady Red Hawks recovered to defeat Grand Rapids Community College 47-31 on Thursday night in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region XII District G Tournament semi-final game.
For the entire first quarter, Lake Michigan College Women's Basketball team struggled offensively and could not score a single basket. In spite of the good looks on the offensive end, the Lady Red Hawks just could not get anything to go, while Grand Rapids started of the game with a three-point shot and they continued to take advantage of their opportunities. At the end of the first quarter, Grand Rapids held a 14-0 lead.
In the second quarter, defensive play allowed Lake Michigan the opportunity to get back in the game. After scoring on their first possession of the second quarter and down 14-2, the Lady Red Hawks forced missed shots and several turnovers from the Lady Raiders. Grand Rapids did not score until 4:39 left in the second quarter and by that time, Lake Michigan was back in the game. With 2:07 remaining in the first half, the Lady Red Hawks took their first lead of the game (18-16). At the end of the second quarter, Lake Michigan outscored Grand Rapids 21-2 to take a 21-16 lead into halftime. In the first half, Lake Michigan shot just 24% (9-37) while holding Grand Rapids to 20% (7-34).
The third quarter was very similar to the second quarter, where Lake Michigan's College defensive pressure and ability to make some shots did not allow the Lady Raiders to make a comeback in the quarter. Again several turnovers by the Lady Raiders helped Lake Michigan extend their lead by 17-points and the Lady Red Hawks went into the final 10 minutes with a 37-20 advantage. The Lady Red Hawks outscored Grand Rapids 16-4 in the third quarter.
The fourth quarter saw Lake Michigan take their largest lead of the game at 18 points. Even though the Lady Raiders outscored Lake Michigan 11-10 in the final quarter, the Lady Red Hawks maintained their lead and came away with the final 47-31 win. After the first quarter, Lake Michigan outscored the Lady Raiders 47-17 in three quarters.
After the game, Head Coach, Patrick Daniel stated "I told the team prior to the game that being in the post season is about surviving and advancing and tonight that is what we did. To not score a single point in the first quarter and be down 14 points, but then outscore Grand Rapids by 30 points for the remainder of the game shows that we can dig deep and find a way to win. Is was about our defense and I am proud and happy to play in the championship game on Saturday."
For the game, Lake Michigan shot just 27% (20-72) but held Grand Rapids to hit just 19% of their shots (12-62). Lake Michigan out rebounded the Lady Raiders 58-52, including 20 offensive rebounds. As a team, Lake Michigan had 15 steals, 10 blocked shots and forced Grand Rapids to commit 24 turnovers.
Two players scored in double figures for Lake Michigan led by Samantha Jenkins with 12 points and Jayla Bibbs with 10 points. Taylor Cegelis had 15 rebounds, LaChelle Knox had 11 rebounds, and Bibbs pulled down 10 rebounds. Bibbs also had five steals, Cegelis blocked five shots and Jenkins dished out three assists.
Lake Michigan now advances to the NJCAA Region XII District G Championship Tournament game for the second season in a row. The number one seeded Lady Red Hawks will take on Mid Michigan Community College, who is the number three seed. The teams split two games played earlier this season with Mid Michigan winning on January 12, 2019 67-56 and Lake Michigan winning on February 13, 2019 54-52. Lake Michigan will enter the championship game with a 26-5 overall record and Mid Michigan is 25-4. The championship game is this Saturday, March 9, 2019 at Grand Rapids Community College and the tip-off is at 3:00 PM.