By Andrew Johnson

MUSKEGON – In order to knock off a nationally-ranked team, you typically have to play your best basketball for the entire 40 minutes.LSJ Logo incert

Unfortunately for the Muskegon Community College women’s basketball team, that didn’t happen on Saturday, and they ultimately fell to 11th-ranked Kalamazoo Valley Community College 82-74 at Bartels-Rode Gymnasium.

The loss dropped the Jayhawks further behind in the Michigan Community College Athletic Association Western Division standings. They are now 16-6 overall and 6-3 in the league, three games behind first-place Kalamazoo Valley.

Morgan Giddings directs from the court during second half action. Photo/Jason Goorman

Morgan Giddings directs from the court during second half action for MCC. Photo/Jason Goorman

“The message to the team was that we can’t take time off, we had a tough loss on Wednesday to Lake Michigan, and then took a whole quarter off today,” said Jayhawk head coach Amanda Parker. “You have to play forty minutes of good basketball, and today I thought we looked good at times and not so much at other times.”

The game was neck-and-neck in the first quarter, with KVCC leading 17-15 at the buzzer.

But the second quarter put the Jayhawks in a hole. They were outscored 25-19, with the Cougars shooting 50 percent from the field, and trailed 42-34 at halftime.

Things got worse midway through the third quarter when the Cougars extended their lead to 11 points

But MCC didn’t pack up and go home. The Jayhawks ended the third quarter with a 13-4 run to cut their deficit to 57-55.

“The message at halftime was toughness,” Parker said. “I thought that in the first half KVCC may have thought they were tougher than us, mentally, physically, and emotionally.

“The message to my kids was that they can’t be tougher, we work just as hard on a day-to-day basis and have to be just as mentally tough.”

Unfortunately the comeback fell short for MCC. KVCC opened the fourth quarter with a 9-2 run and took control of the contest.

MCC bench reacts after a tying the score midway through the second half. Photo/Jason Goorman

MCC bench reacts after tying the score midway through the second half. Photo/Jason Goorman

Camaryia Williams led the Jayhawks with 20 points and nine rebounds on the day, while Morgan Giddings flirted with a triple-double, piling up 10 points, eight assists, and seven rebounds.

“She’s been just short of a triple-double a couple times this year,” Parker said about Giddings. “She does some remarkable things. Teams we play always say ‘Wow, how are you going to replace Morgan?’ She gives us so many aspects of the game that it’ll be hard to replace her next year.”

Jena’a Matthews added 11 points and 13 rebounds for the Jayhawks, while Bailey Freeland contributed 10 points.

The Cougars were led by Ka-Leah Ryan with 19 points and Daejia Hill with 15 points and eight steals.