The up-tempo tunes played by the Raider band were a fitting soundtrack for the up-tempo defense of the Raider girls varsity team on Friday night as they defeated the Ionia Bulldogs 45-26.
The Raider defense was aggressive right from the get go. Their full court press and frequent double teams forced the bulldogs into many early errors and turnovers.
Portland jumped to 9-0 start in the first quarter, and Ionia didn’t score their first points of the game until the 2:17 mark. The Raiders would finish the first quarter with a 15-7 lead.
Early in the second quarter it appeared that the Bulldogs may have found their footing a bit, but the Raider defense put their foot back on the gas pedal forcing another turnover, followed by a time out due to a well-executed Raider back-court trap.
Portland’s full court press appeared to have Ionia frazzled numerous times, forcing the Bulldogs into poor passes.
Portland Coach Jason Haid main frequent substitutions and his team never showed any signs of fatigue. Portland was up 22-9 at the half.
Early in the third, Portland continued to put Ionia into uncomfortable positions with their defensive hustle, and the Raiders led 39-16 at the end of the quarter.
Ionia had its best quarter offensively in the fourth, scoring multiple three pointers, but it was too late for the Bulldogs. The Raider picked up the win on their home court, 45-26.
Taylor Kirby led the Bulldogs with 10 points.
For the Raiders, freshman Ashley Bower led with 22 points. Senior Lesley Barker had 8 points. Senior Calley Goodman had 5 points. Sophomore Grace Sines had 4, sophomore Ava Gruber had 3, freshman Breckyn Werner had 2, and junior Jada Walton had 1.
After the game Haid said that his team’s defense made, “a step forward from where we were last game. We were able to cause a lot of turn overs, and we were able to capitalize on a lot of those turnovers and turn them into lay-ups which really helped our offense get going. It gave us a confidence booster there. I was really pleased with what we were able to do to get them out of stuff they wanted to do. They had trouble calling sets. They were on the run and we took them out of their comfort zone.”
When asked about his team not showing any fatigue despite their consistent up-tempo defense, Haid said, “That was a big reason why we were able to come out every quarter and make a little run. Each quarter we had fresh bodies in there. The girls have learned to trust each other and just know if they go out for two or three minutes, they need to be ready to come right back in for the next shift.”
The lady Raiders next action is Friday, December 14th when they travel to Lansing Sexton, with a 7:30 tentative start time.