The girls’ basketball team from Rockford improved their season record to 25-1 with a pair of impressive victories in Regional action at Cadillac last week. The Rams began the week with a 51-23 triumph over Saginaw Heritage on Monday, March 11 to advance to the Regional final. That earned them the right to square off with a scrappy squad from Midland Dow on Wednesday, March 13. And the Ram defense never rested en route to a 39-22 win that advanced them to their third consecutive trip to at least the quarterfinal round. Those results will give the Rams their third meeting of the year with Holland West Ottawa in the quarterfinals at Grandville High School on Tuesday, March 19 at 7:00 P.M.


“It is always good when you have a defense that travels,” said Rockford Head Coach Brad Wilson. “We have always stressed distribution of scoring and defense as our M.O. and that is exactly how things played out this week. We really raced out to a big lead against Heritage and coasted a bit in the second half while continuing to play solid defense. We had a pretty substantial lead against Midland Dow at the half too but really struggled to score in the secondĀ half against their pressure. But we made our free throws in the final quarter and continued to make it very difficult for them on the offensive end and came out on top there too.”


Rockford came out with both barrels blazing against Heritage. The Ram lead eventually grew to 37-8 at the half before seeing a multitude of playing time for the entire roster in the second half as they coasted to the win. In a testament to Coach Wilson’s assertion of balanced contributions up and down the lineup, five different players scored at least eight points. Anna Wypych led the way with 11 points while Grace Lyons and Desirae Donley both added 10. In addition, Kate Higgins added nine points and Jordan Mateer chipped in with eight. Higgins also became the single season rebounding record holder for the Rams during the contest.


Rockford led Midland Dow 25-12 at the half and seemed pretty firmly in control of the contest. But an ice cold third quarter by Rockford that saw the Chargers outscore the Rams 9-4 made it a 29-21 contest entering the final stanza. But Rockford made 10-12 free throws in the final eight minutes of the contest while holding Dow to a single point to ease their way into the quarterfinals. The defense carried the day for Rockford despite the Rams going an uncharacteristic 1-13 from three-point land in the second half.


Wypych again led Rockford with 12 points while Mateer tossed in nine. Lyons and Higgins both added eight points for Rockford.


“Survive and advance is always the best strategy,” said Wilson. “We were able to do just that while adhering to all of the things that we take great pride in at Rockford. Now we will make our third consecutive trip to this stage of the tournament and playthings one game at a time. We are really looking forward to the challenge and anticipate a great crowd that will give us a boost as we look to go even further.”