Friday, December 16 was a cold and blustery night, but the Eaton Rapids and Lansing Catholic varsity girls basketball teams played a heated contest inside. The Cougars held on for a 37-35 CAAC win moving them to 3-2 on the season and dropping the Greyhounds to 2-3.
The Cougars started slowly plagued by numerous turnovers early. Eaton Rapids held an 11-4 edge after one period behind two three pointers. Lansing Catholic settled down in second period and started to hit shots. Senior Megan Gillespie paced the Cougars with five points in the quarter. The Greyhounds though held a 20-15 lead at the break.
The third quarter saw the Cougars continue to claw back, outscoring their rivals from Eaton County 12-7 to knot the game at 27 all after 24 minutes of play. Junior Rebecka Poljan found herself in early game foul trouble and sat much of the first half. However, she played the majority of the third quarter, asserting herself on the boards against the Greyhound’s two six foot post players. Gillespie again paced the Cougars for the quarter with five points.
The Cougar’s zone defense began creating problems for the Greyhounds. Eaton Rapids struggled to score for much of the last quarter. The Cougars, on the other hand, continued to play relaxed and hard. Lansing Catholic held a 35-30 lead late, but the Greyhounds hit a deep three from well behind the line to draw within two at 35-33. On the next trip down the court, Eaton Rapids tied the game at 35-35 with a short jumper. Cougar Junior point guard Katy Shannon was then fouled bringing the ball up the court. Shannon hit the first free throw to put her team up by one with under 15 seconds to play. After a time out, Shannon calmly sank the second free throw to finish out the game’s scoring.
Shannon, who led the Cougars in scoring on the night with 10, said of her game winning free throws, “I missed a couple in the beginning, but just dug in and focused on putting them in like at practice.”
Even after Shannon’s clutch free throws, the Greyhounds still had a chance to win, but their half court shot hit the front of the rim as time expired. Gillespie had 10 points on the night for Lansing Catholic with junior Maggie Jacobs and freshman Lauren Hanes chipping in with six each.
Lansing Catholic head coach Kacee Reid was very pleased with win. “I thought our girls had a gritty win tonight. They didn’t hang their heads when things didn’t go well in the first half. They stuck together as a team and turned up the defensive intensity. We had a huge night from Meghan Gillespie. She made key baskets at crucial times. It wasn’t pretty at times, but sometimes you have to find ways to win ugly”.
The Cougars are off until January 3rd when they host Carson City-Crystal, followed by a January 6th CAAC matchup against the Red Raiders of Portland on the road.