GRCC women’s basketball player Sally Merrill named conference Co-Player of the Year, Grace Lodes named top defender

GRCC Women's Basketball players in uniform, smiling.

Grand Rapids Community College basketball player Sally Merrill was named Co-Player of the Year and Grace Lodes was named Defensive Player of the Year by the Michigan Community College Athletic Association Northern Conference in postseason awards announced Tuesday.

Merrill and Lodes were also named All-Region, All-MCCAA, and First Team All-Conference for the second consecutive year.

Merrill also earned Most Valuable Player honors of the NJCAA Great Lakes B Tournament helping GRCC to their second championship in the past three years.

“I’m proud of our student-athletes and coaches for strong performances,” Athletic Director Lauren Ferullo said. “We have strong programs, with some of the best players in the state, and the nation. They work hard to be successful on the court and in the classroom.”

GRCC’s Marlene Bussler was named Second Team All-Conference, and Allison Kellogg, Emersyn Koepke and Alyssa Katerberg were named Honorable Mention All-Conference.

Merrill is the team’s leading scorer at 16.6 points per game while Lodes averaged a double-double this year, scoring 13.9 points and grabbing 10.6 rebounds per game.

Bussler, who shares the honor with Jade Schultz of Alpena Community College, averages 11.6 points and a team-high 5.3 assists per game. Kellogg averaged a solid 8.8 points and 6.5 rebounds. Koepke was third on the team in assists and fourth on the team in steals and three-pointers made. Katerberg was the team’s second best three pointer shooter and second best shot blocker.

The women’s team currently has a 19-9 record and plays its second game of the NJCAA National Championships Thursday at 9 a.m.

For the men’s team, Danyel Bibbs was named Second Team All-Conference, earning him back-to-back All-Conference honors. He averaged a team-high 16.7 points per game and led the MCCAA with six assists per game.

Brockton Kohler, Chris Coleman and Bashir Neely all were named Honorable Mention All-Conference.

Kohler, who is signed to play with Cleary University next year, averaged 12.3 points per game and was the team’s leading three-point shooter. Coleman averaged 10.3 points, four rebounds, two assists and one steal per game.  Neely averaged 11.4 points and was the team’s leader with 46 steals.

Rico Wade was named to the All-Defensive team after an outstanding individual defensive season guarding 1-4 for GRCC, and being an anchor for the team defensively.

The men’s team finished with a 21-8 overall record and third place in the conference.

This story was written by Ben Brown.

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