By Eva Dean Folkert
In the opener of the Bluffton (OH) Holiday Tournament on Friday, Madison Geers of Scottville, Michigan (Mason Co. Central HS) scored the game's first field goal as well as its last. In-between, the senior guard did a whole lot more to propel the Flying Dutch in a scrappy 54-52 victory over Mount Union University.
Against the Purple Raiders, Geers (pictured) scored a career-high 21 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and made five steals. It was a Geers put-back basket, off her own offensive rebound at the 20-second mark, that turned out to be the last field goal of the game, putting Hope up 51-48. Then, over the last 17 seconds, the two teams traded trips to the free throw line. Hope went 3-for-4 from the stripe and Mount Union went 4-for-6 during that time to reach the final tally.
Despite scoring their fewest points of the season (54) and shooting their lowest field goal percentage too (30%), nationally-ranked Hope remains undefeated at 11-0 while Mount Union falls to 4-6.
Though the Flying Dutch led at halftime, 27-24, the Raiders outscored Hope by five in the third quarter and took a two-point lead (40-38) into the fourth. But the Flying Dutch reeled off 10 unanswered points over the fourth quarter's first five minutes, moving the score to 48-40 and holding Mount Union scoreless until the 4:11 mark.
Then it was the Raiders' turn to hold Hope scoreless, doing so until a free three by freshman Lauren Newman of Flushing, Michigan (Flushing HS) took the score to 49-48 with 46 seconds to go. After that, Geers scored her decisive put-back, more free throws were made (and missed) by each team, and the game ended with the Raiders in possession after an offensive rebound but unable to shoot with two seconds on go.
The Purple Raiders were led by guards Casey Morrissette and Tori Rappach with 13 and 11 points respectively.
Over the course of the tightly-contested game, the lead changed eight times and the score was tied on 10 occasions. Hope held a one-rebound advantage for the game (44-43) while Mount Union committed three more turnovers (20-17). From the field, the Raiders held the shooting advantage (32.8% to 30%).
The three-point line was uncharacteristically unfriendly to the Flying Dutch as they were 2-for-18 (11.1%) from the arc while the Raiders were 6-for-23 (26.1%).
On Saturday, Hope will face host Bluffton, winner over Alma College, 66-49. Game time is 5:00 pm.