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  • James Townsend

Lady Raiders top Hastings to advance to District Finals

On Wednesday night, the Portland High School girls basketball team traveled to Ionia to face the Saxons of Hastings in the MHSAA district semi-finals.

Hastings topped Ionia 52-36 in the first round of play to advance to the semis.

Despite a slow start, and trailing Hastings by five points at one point in the second quarter, the Lady Raiders were able to turn things up in the second half of play to eventually secure a 57-26 win.

The Saxons were led offensively by senior Brook Youngs who scored eight points.

Senior Ashley Bower led Portland with 21 points. Senior Alivia Densmore added 11 points, while seniors Ava Guilford and Breckyn Werner each added eight points.

Scoring summary by quarter:

1st – 2nd – 3rd – 4th – Final

Portland 10 – 13 – 19 – 15 – 57

Hastings 9 – 10 – 3 – 4 – 26

After the game, Portland coach Jason Haid said, “We scouted Hastings a little bit, and we knew that they had a couple of kids that could really score. They were physical and they were long. We had a feeling they were going to come out and play zone and we thought if we don’t shoot well to start out things could get a little interesting because that team is going to rebound and going to defend.”

Haid added, “We didn’t shoot very well and we were soft at the start of that game, and we broke down defensively a few times. I challenged the girls at halftime just to be better in everything that we do. I thought they responded really well. As you can tell we got going with our defense in the second half. I think we held them to four points until maybe three and a half minutes left in the game. Our defensive effort in the second half was outstanding. We know we are going to get everybody’s best shot, and we got Hastings’ best shot. They were right with us for a while. I am very pleased with how our girls responded in the second half. We moved the ball really well. We got a couple of outside looks that went down. We got some looks attacking the basket which we needed to do because we shot way too many outside shots to start the game.”

The Lady Raiders will see a familiar foe on Friday night as the meet Lansing Catholic in the district finals. The two teams faced each other twice in league play with each picking up one win, and a share of the CAAC White Championship.

Lansing Catholic defeated Lakewood 54-22 to advance on the other side of the bracket.

Game time is set for 7:00 PM Friday at Ionia. The game will be streamed on the NFHS network. Tickets will not be available at the door and must be purchased at

Photos by AJ Guilford.

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