By Andrew Johnson
MUSKEGON – The Muskegon Community College women’s basketball team didn’t lose any defensive intensity over the two-week holiday break.
The Grand Rapids Community College Raiders will attest to that.
The Jayhawks forced 33 GRCC turnovers Wednesday night en route to a 60-39 victory at home in their first Michigan Community College Athletic Association game of the season.
“I’m really proud,” said Muskegon head coach Amanda Parker, whose team now sports a 7-2 record. “We played a mix of man and our 2-3 extended defense. I thought we played really good, solid team defense.
“It’s something that we strive for and work on every day in practice. It’s something that’s a focus and will continue to be.”
MCC put its defense on display from the opening minutes, forcing nine turnovers in the first quarter and 11 in the second.
That allowed the Jayhawks to use their transition game to grab a 13-10 lead after one quarter and 31-18 edge at halftime.
Kalisa Williams and Jena’a Matthews each led the Jayhawks with seven points in the first half, while GRCC was led by Makayla Beld with six points.
A quick 44-second, 7-0 MCC run late in the third quarter helped the Jayhawks grab a decisive 47-24 lead at the third buzzer. Kalisa Williams and Camaryia Williams each had two point baskets during the run while Samantha Taylor hit a big 3-pointer.
MCC was outscored 15-13 down the stretch, when the victory was already secured.
Camaryia Williams, a sophomore guard, flirted with a triple-double for the Jayhawks, scoring nine points while adding eight rebounds and seven assists. She also had five steals on the night.
“In the first half I was kind of struggling and at halftime I talked myself up,” Williams said. “In the second half I came out with more enthusiasm and played better.”
“Last year she was a big scorer for us,” Parker said about Camaryia. “This year she’s basically doing everything for us. It’s the type of kid she is. She’ll do anything for us to win.”
Bailey Freeland led Muskegon with 13 points on the night while Kalisa Williams finished with 11 points and eight rebounds.
While Parker was pleased with her team’s defensive performance, she was not thrilled with its marksmanship. The Jayhawks shot only 33 percent from the floor in the contest, which would have posed problems in a tighter game.
“I tell the kids, ‘We shoot here every day, how can we shoot so bad?’” Parker said. “Sometimes we talk about how fast we play, because as fast as we play, we’re going to miss some shots from time to time.”
Beld had 17 points and 12 rebounds for GRCC, which dropped to 7-4 on the season.
The Jayhawks will visit Kellogg Community College on Saturday in their second conference game of the season.