By Dana Mate
Collegiate Staff Writer
GRCC’s Raider basketball teams are facing some challenges and tough losses this season in their return to the court from the semester break.
Claiming the Michigan Community College Athletic Association (MCCAA) Western Conference title last year, the Raider women started the season with high expectations. However, the Lady Raiders struggle with a depleted roster after losing three players due to academic ineligibility.
Injuries plagued the women’s team early in the season with two players out due to serious knee injuries. Their best post player, freshman Sarah Stankowski, also sustained a minor knee injury early in the week of January 10. Despite her injury Stankowski continued to get minutes against conference rival Muskegon Community College in the January 14 match up at the Ford Fieldhouse.
Sophomore Dominique Gordon out of Ottawa Hills High School, hit a three pointer with less then 40 seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime. She continued to shoot with only 11 seconds left she missed a mid range jump shot. Despite the loss Gordon was lead scorer against Muskegon, and is desperately attempting to lead the team out of their 0-7 standing in the conference.
After a 61-55 loss to Ancilla College on January 19, and a devastating 101-55 loss at home to Jackson Community College on January 21, the team looks to redeem themselves at Lansing Community College on January 26.
Ranked fifth in the National Juniot College Athletic Association (NJCAA) pre-season poll, the Raider men face some challenges of their own. They are now unranked by the NJCAA poll and have fallen nearly to the bottom of the MCCAA Western conference, currently ranked ninth out of ten teams.
“We struggle to stay together as a team sometimes,” said Quinntrai Lampkins, out of Kalamazoo, Michigan. “We have a tendency to struggle under pressure, but it’s a work in progress.”
Lampkins, a sophomore guard, lead the scoreboard with 24 points in the rivalry game against Muskegon Community College on January 14. Following Lampkins’ lead D’Marius Houston and Jason Pratt stepped up their roles as forward and center. Despite the added pressure in the end they Raiders could not clench the win in overtime.
Coach McEwen explained after the game that GRCC suffered a height difference with only two players measuring over 6-foot six inches, while Muskegon lists five players at 6-foot five inches or taller.
Hoping to make a run at regionals and districts, the Raider men won 87-73 on January 19 against Ancilla College, but fell short of a home court win against conference leaders Jackson Community College on January 21 at 72-70.
A televised game in Lansing on January 26 could be the perfect opportunity for the Raider men to live up to their pre-season ranking against Lansing Community College.