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  • James Townsend

Portland Lady Raiders are 2021 Division 2 Girls Basketball State Champions

The Portland High School girls basketball team finished their historic 2020-2021 season with a convincing 52-32 win over Newaygo on Friday evening at the Breslin Center in East Lansing.

With COVID-19 precautions impacting many of our lives these past few months, this team faced numerous challenges and even the uncertainty as to if they would even have a basketball season.

This group of young women persevered, and earned a spot in the history books.

In the championship game, Portland junior Ashley Bower led all scorers with 20 points. Bower also had two rebounds, two blocks and two steals.

Junior Ava Guilford had 12 points for the Lady Raiders, and went three out of four from the three-point line. Guilford led the Raiders with six rebounds.

Junior Alivia Densmore also had 12 points for Portland while netting five rebounds.

Junior Shalyn Dziewiatkowski and senior Grace Sines had five and four rebounds respectively, while senior Ava Gruber had four points and two steals for Portland. Junior Breckyn Werner had four rebounds and one steal.

Newaygo was led by junior Emmerson Goodin, junior Jaylee Long, and senior Anna Brummel who each scored eight points. Newaygo’s season came to and end with an overall 21-2 record, with both losses coming to Portland.

Scoring summary by quarter:

1st – 2nd – 3rd – 4th – Final

Portland 9 – 11 – 22 – 10 – 52

Newaygo 8 – 4 – 13 – 7 – 32

Capacity limits due to COVID-19 concerns significantly limited in-person attendance at high school basketball games this season, so many fans were not able to see the team plan in person during the regular season.

The Portland school district’s spring break stretching over the Lady Raiders final three post season games didn’t help with in-person spectators, but social media posts show countless fans closely watching the Lady Raider playoff run through livestreaming from the beaches of Alabama and Florida, to the desert if Arizona. Some families, like my own, watched and listed to the championship game while traveling along I-65 North in Alabama and Tennessee.

The 2020-2021 Portland girls basketball team is Portland High School’s first state championship team. Their accomplishment will soon be identified on signs to all entering our community, like the sign below on Divine Highway near the Knights of Columbus Hall.

Here is the full play-off roster for the Raiders.

# Name Class

4 Ella Gruber Freshman

2 Malia Thelen Freshman

4 Ella Gruber Freshman

5 Shalyn Dziewaitkowski Junior

10 Ashley Bower Junior

11 Ava Guilford Junior

14 Jayden Townsend Freshman

21 Hannah Schrauben Senior

22 Alivia Densmore Junior

23 Grace Clark Junior

24 Breckyn Werner Junior

32 Grace Sines Senior

33 Katelyn Stanton Junior

34 Alexa Weber Freshman

Here is a look at Portland’s post season opponents and final scores (from

District Semi-Finals Portland 50, Alma 16

District Finals Portland 57, Belding 33

Regional Semi-Finals Portland 54, Freeland 32

Regional Finals Portland 53, Frankenmuth 49

Quarter Finals Portland 47, Escanaba 41

Semi Finals Portland 45, Parma Western 38

Finals Portland 52, Newaygo 32

Here is a recap of Portland’s regular season results.

Date Time Host Opponent W/L Score

2/9/2021 7:00 PM H Lansing Catholic W 54-33

2/12/2021 7:00 PM A Eaton Rapids W 58-36

2/13/2021 3:00 PM A East Lansing L 35-65

2/16/2021 7:00 PM H Charlotte W 61-32

2/19/2021 7:00 PM A Ionia W 54-29

2/24/2021 6:30 PM H Newaygo W 38-33

2/26/2021 7:00 PM A Lansing Catholic W 45-35

2/27/2021 1:30 PM H Williamston L 27-37

3/1/2021 7:00 PM A Ovid-Elsie W 61-42

3/2/2021 7:00 PM H Eaton Rapids W 51-21

3/5/2021 7:00 PM A Bath W 52-12

3/8/2021 7:00 PM H Fowler W 35-23

3/9/2021 7:00 PM A Grand Rapids Covenant Christian W 47-32

3/13/2021 1:30 PM A Haslett W 38-36

3/15/2021 7:00 PM H Ionia W 47-24

The 2020-2021 Raiders finished the season 20-2. Their only losses cam to Williamston who lost in their district finals, and East Lansing who fell in the Division 1 quarterfinals.

Photos by AJ Guilford. Sign photo by James Townsend.


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