GRCC men’s basketball defeat Kalamazoo Valley CC, look to keep momentum up

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The Grand Rapids Community College men’s basketball team secured their 16th victory this season and their 10th conference win as they defeated Kalamazoo Valley Community College Friday, 97-84.

The team was able to keep up the same positive energy that Head Coach Luke Bronkema has been preaching all season and that led to the Raiders being able to pull away in the second half and secure a victory.

“The only thing we can do to put ourselves in a position to win is to play one game at a time, have positive energy and continue to play as a team, as one unit,” Bronkema said. “No selfishness, no individual motive or egos, just one team looking to win a game.”

Freshman Forward, #23, Corey Jones pulls up for the floater over KVCC.Nathan Bidwell - Photo Editor
Freshman Forward, #23, Corey Jones pulls up for the floater over KVCC.

A great example of staying positive and not having an ego was Sophomore Arthur Pearson, who showed “maturity” and “growth” in his low scoring night according to Bronkema.

“Teams that are smart see how many points he averages, so they make it tough for him to score, especially late in the season like we are,” Bronkema said. “I thought it showed a lot of growth and maturity that he only came out and shot three shots in the second half … and he didn’t go down and force up a bunch of shots. He played a lot of minutes … he played very unselfishly, he played good defense … he was focused on getting the win, not beefing up his stats, so that’s just amazing and it shows how unselfish he can be … it shows how great of a teammate he can be.”

Sophomore Guard, #1, Arthur Pearson.Nathan Bidwell - Photo Editor
Sophomore Guard, #1, Arthur Pearson.

It was a good sign for GRCC that they were able to keep the energy up and stay positive with KVCC not having as great of a record.

“It’s hard to bring that energy every single night, especially if you’re playing a team that you know is in the bottom half of the conference” Bronkema said. “And they have zero pressure on them, but we stayed focused and were able to put them away.”

Freshman Guard, #11, Darron Ewing Jr. drives to the hoop to score two points for GRCC.Nathan Bidwell - Photo Editor
Freshman Guard, #11, Darron Ewing Jr. drives to the hoop to score two points for GRCC.

Statistically, the team put up good numbers. For points, Sophomore Guard Jeffrey Drake-Todd led the way and put up 34 (12-24 from field goal range, 6-13 from 3-point), Freshman Guard Zach Pangborn put a solid 15 points (5-12 from field goal range, 2-6 from 3-point range) and Sophomore Forward Corey jones who shot efficiently with 14 points (7-9 from field goal range). For assists, Drake-Todd led the way with 10, with three others earning two: Pearson and Freshman Guards Elliot Bryce and Darron Ewing Jr.

In rebounds, Sophomore Forward AJ Whittaker led the team with 10 and Jones and Drake-Todd snagging eight.

KVCC’s bench scored 22 of their 84 points and GRCC’s bench scored 25 of their 97 points.

For the next two games, GRCC will need to win them both to secure fourth place in the Michigan Community College Athletic Association Western Conference and gained home court for the first round of playoffs.

The first of their last two games will be at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 27, against Mid Michigan Community College. The address is 1375 South Clare Avenue, Harrison MI.