By Randy Gregory, Michigan Sports Radio
Photo Courtesy of Miles Postema
Rockford had expected to host Hudsonville on Tuesday before winter intervened and sent the Rams to Hudsonville on Wednesday, January 17. That was followed up with a visit to an athletic East Kentwood team on Friday, January 19. That is about as tough a week as any team could expect at this juncture of the season. The Rams passed the initial test with flying colors on the strength of a stifling defensive effort on their way to a 53-25 win over the host Eagles.
Rockford then had a single day to prepare for the unrelenting full court pressure of a top-ten team from East Kentwood. In a game that was nip and tuck until the final minute, Rockford fell short by the score of 60-54 to suffer their first loss of the season. The loss left Rockford with an overall record of 10-1 and a 4-1 mark in OK Red play.
“We have many young kids learning on the job,” said Rockford Coach Brad Wilson. “That (East Kentwood) is a very tough environment and EK plays extremely hard at all times and really capitalized on their opportunities at crucial times. We had an uncharacteristic 18 turnovers and lacked flow offensively for a good portion of the game. We took too many forced shots that missed and let them get out on the run. But we will learn from this and move forward to get back on track. We will also emphasize the basics and just look to get better going forward.”
The game against East Kentwood was never more than a two-point contest at the end of each of the first three quarters. Rockford led 12-10 after the first quarter, trailed 24-22 at the half and led 42-41 after three quarters. But ultimately it was the Falcons who hit their free throws and made the decisive baskets to earn the win in a matchup of a pair of state powers.
Sophomore Sienna Wolfe led the scoring parade for Rockford with 19 points. Junior Anna Wypych chipped in with 12 and senior Grace Lyons added 11.
Rockford will take the court three times this coming week. The Rams will first travel to Holland West Ottawa to take on the Panthers on Tuesday, January 23. They will then host Jenison on Friday, January 26 before heading for a neutral court to take on Lansing Catholic Central at Calvin University on Saturday, January 27 at 7:00 P.M. That final game of the week will feature a showdown of the defending Division 1 state champs (Rockford) against the defending Division 2 champs (Lansing Catholic Central).
“West Ottawa will be another tough game for us,” said Wilson. “They feature Gabby Reynolds, who will be a Miss Basketball candidate for her exploits on the court. She is a tremendously talented player who can do it all on the court. We will need to play a very good game to come out on top in this one.”