By Randy Gregory

Photo courtesy of Miles Postema


It is pretty rare for two teams from the same conference to meet up for the third time in a season in the quarterfinal round of the Michigan High School Athletic Association basketball tournament. But that is exactly what will happen on Tuesday, March 19 at Grandville High School at 7:00 P.M. Rockford (25-1) and West Ottawa (20-6) met twice during OK Red action this season with the Rams taking both contests fairly decisively by scores of 61-42 and 70-54.


The decision of the MHSAA to move Rockford to a totally different district and regional than normal is what precipitated the matchup. This is historically a game that would have been contested in the regional round, but here is where things sit as a result.


The Panthers are led by their senior Miss Basketball award winner Gabby Reynolds.  She can score at every level as well as being a standout defensive player. They also feature another four-year starter in senior Chelsea Overbeek and 6’2″ junior post player Magaly Lemus. Overbeek averaged nearly 12 points per game this year and Lemus pulled down ten rebounds per game to lead the OK Red last year.  Senior Brook Pederson and junior Addy Scholten round out their solid starting lineup. Team depth is one of their biggest concerns facing the Panthers as they square off with the defending state champion Rams.


The Panthers have won 13 of their past 15 games including victories over ranked squads from East Kentwood, Grand Haven, Hudsonville and Byron Center (twice). They are also ranked in the top ten in the state in Division 1.


The Rams will counter with their own star in six-foot junior Anna Wypych. Wypych is another player who can do it all on the court and presents a threat at each and every level as she operates as a point guard/forward in starting the Ram offense. Wypych is joined by a much deeper supporting cast led by senior Grace Lyons. Lyons became the school’s all time leader in scoring and assists earlier this year. The Rams also feature sophomore Kate Higgins, who set the new single season rebounding record for the Rams, in the middle as an athletic post player and fellow sophomore Jordan Mateer, who is a prolific three-point shooter. Ryan Whitford, Desirae Donley and Grace Young are also important role players for the Rams.