The Grand Rapids Community College Raiders Men’s Basketball team secured the Men’s-Women’s doubleheader sweep of the Kellogg Community College Bruins with a dominating 99-69 win. The Raiders’ women’s team dominated the early game, 69-40.
Wednesday’s win moves the Raiders to 4-3 in Michigan Community College Athletic Association play and 12-6 overall on the season, with 11 games remaining in the regular season.
Scoring came easy tonight for the Raiders as five players notched double figures. Sophomore Guard Curtis Davison again led the way with 22 points on 7-17 shooting from the field (41 percent) and 4-9 from behind the arc. sophomore Guards Anthony MacIntosh, Zach Pangborn and Darron Ewing Jr. scored 16, 13 and 12 points apiece. Freshman Guard Jeremiah Davis contributed 10 points of his own. Every player on both rosters scored, which is a remarkable feat.
The Raiders shot 36-66 from the field (54 percent) and an astounding 18-35 from three-point range (51 percent).
“Overall, we played enough to get the win,” Raiders Head Coach Luke Bronkema said in his post-game interview. “It was a good win for us.”
Davison started the game with a 3-pointer that was destined to fall even before it left his hand. Pangborn followed that with a long range jumper of his own. The Raiders and Bruins traded baskets and turnovers on the ensuing possessions and the Raiders went on a quick, bursting run to push the lead to as much as six points. The Bruins rallied back to take the lead, then quickly lost it after a Davison 3-pointer following a hectic sequence that saw the ball turned over six times.
Another strange sequence that occurred later in the first half. KCC subbed on an extra player, so the Bruins had six men on the floor and they inbounded the ball. This usually leads to a technical foul called against the offending team, but the officials said it was on them to make sure there were not too many men and handed KCC the ball, there was no foul. The Bruins ended up turning the ball over and McIntosh drilled one of his three 3-pointers at the buzzer to put the Raiders up, 39-33, at the break.
The last crazy sequence of the game came about midway through the second half. The ball was deflected by McIntosh on the defensive end, so he jumped over the baseline and through the ball about 20 feet in the air towards Pangborn. Pangborn picked the ball up and fired a pass to a wide open Davison on the offensive end and scored an easy layup. McIntosh then made a crazy 3-pointer on the next possession and called “Kobe,” because he knew it was a miraculous shot.
The Raiders kept punching the gas pedal through the floorboard and would not let up. Davis scored nine of his 10 points in three consecutive possessions, all of which were 3-pointers, and that had the Raider bench in a frenzy.
What was even more impressive was the leadership from the Raiders’ sophomores. Guards McIntosh, Pangborn, Davison, Ewing and Forward Corey Jones have displayed leadership qualities all season long and have the Raiders poised to make a run at the National Junior College Athletic Association crown.
“We have a good group all the way around,” Bronkema said. “We have a lot of good Sophomores as well. When our guys play with good energy, with positive energy when they play together, good things happen.”
Pangborn displays examples of leadership both in game situations, and non-game situations.
“We practice hard,” Pangborn said post-game. “Our focus has been coming into practice and working hard, we know we’re going to get better in practice, and it correlates to the games. Being in this position, I know what Coach wants out of me. So it’s easier when coach has my back then I can tell these guys what to do.”
Davison exemplified what it means to be a leader, and what can be achieved with the right attitude.
“I mean, it starts with us,” Davison said. “We’ve been here, so we played last year. So we know how to lead, so we try to implement that to the freshman and the other guys so that next year when they come up, they can do the same thing.”
There is a lot of hope and expectation in the Raiders’ locker room, they’re shooting for nothing less than an NJCAA Championship.
“Coach says it, I believe it too, we overall have more depth this year,” Pangborn said. “Last year we had a lot of talent. This year we have a lot of depth and we just gotta put it all together like last year. It all comes down to getting stops on the defensive end, the offense will come with the defensive stops.”
Pangborn and Davison share the same hope and belief that this team can do well and meet those expectations.
“I think we can win it all,” Davison said. “If we stayed locked in and all buy in, like Coach says. Work hard everyday, I think we can take it to the top, I think we can take it there.”
Not playing as a team is the Raiders’ biggest downfall. When they do not play together as a unit, they tend to struggle and lose basketball games. When they play as a unit, they dominate.
“This team has unlimited potential,” Bronkema said. “The talent is all there, and there is not a team across the NJCAA we can’t beat. That being said, 100 percent of our focus is on Kalamazoo this Saturday.”
The Raiders look to continue the excellent teamwork and take it on the road to Kalamazoo Community College to take on the Cougars on Sat., Jan 27, with tip-off scheduled for 3 p.m.