• James Townsend

Lady Raiders defeat East Lansing in battle of State Ranked Teams


On Tuesday night, the Portland High School girls basketball team hosted the Trojans of East Lansing. The latest AP poll has East Lansing ranked 8th in division 1, while the Lady Raiders are ranked 9th in division 2.


The Trojans finished the first quarter of play on a bit of a run and an 11-4 lead, but it was all Portland from there. The Lady Raiders would outscore East Lansing in the remaining three quarters to secure a convincing 45-21 win.


Portland was led offensively by senior Ashley Bower who scored 20 points. Senior Alivia Densmore added 10 points and senior Ava Guilford added seven points.


The Raider defense was superb in holding the powerful Trojan offense to single digits for three quarters of play.


The Trojans were led by Corkie Jones who scored nine points.


Scoring by quarter:

1st – 2nd – 3rd – 4th – Final

Portland 4 – 14 – 17 – 10 – 45

East Lansing 11 – 2 – 6 – 2 – 21


When asked about tonight’s game, Portland head coach Jason Haid said, “We had a tough loss a week ago against Lansing Catholic. These girls were devastated by it. So, to bounce back like that tonight was huge for us. We knew we had to play with a little bit more sense of urgency, with a little bit more passion, a little bit more toughness and more grit. We got out toughed a couple weeks ago. I thought the girls came out focused, and they just wanted the game more.”


Haid when on to say of Lansing Catholic, “That is behind us now. We just wanted to focus on getting better each game. Looking at what we did wrong in that game, and trying to fix it. We have a very tough schedule. They know we don’t have time to sulk. We have a lot of great teams ahead of us, like this one tonight, we have Haslett on Thursday, so there is no rest for this team. They know they have to move on to the next game. It is a battle tested team. They have a lot of kids coming back from that state championship team. They know we are capable of more than what we have been giving lately. There has been a lot of chatter within the team… let’s just get it together. This isn’t us. I think we bounced back pretty well today.”


When asked if his team was impacted by playing in the shadow of last year’s state championship, Haid said, “The media people bring it up quite a bit. Our girls don’t talk about it much. We are not the same team as we were last year. We have to find a different way to play then we did last year. Last year was last year and we put it in the past after we did our ring ceremony, and this year we know we are going to get everyone’s best shot. We know we have to be ready to play each game. We stress that in practice every day. We have to have a good practice because we have great teams coming in every game. It is just one of those things where our kids understand the level that we need to play at, and I think we are gradually getting there.”


In regard to senior standout Ashley Bower, Haid said, “Obviously she scores about 18 points a game for us, but you saw tonight, she was guarding a great player, and she just does that day in and day out. No body wants to talk about that, but you look at the box score game in and game out against the other team’s best player, she holds them way below their scoring average. That is something that doesn’t get talked about enough because it is not fancy, but we know what we have got in her, and she was special tonight.”


Bower had three fouls in the first half of the game, but played every minute of the second half. Haid said, “She is such a smart kid, I have so much trust in her not to get a silly foul.”


Haid added, “We had a lot of energy from a lot of different people. Shalyn Dziewiatkowski on the top of the one three one zone, she just really frustrated them. I am proud of her effort tonight.”


With the win Portland improves to 9-1 on the season. They will host Haslett (8-1) on Thursday, before traveling to Charlotte (6-4) on Friday.


Photos by AJ Guilford.

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