The Grand Rapids Community College men’s basketball team won against Glen Oaks Community College Friday, by a score of 84-72. They improve to 7-5 in the Michigan Community College Athletic Association and 13-10 overall on the season so far.
“We got a win,” said Head Coach Luke Bronkema. “We came out with a win so it’s a positive night.”
The focus for the team going into the game, like it’s been for the whole season so far, was positive energy.
“It’s been the motto and we’ve been really good the last few games,” Bronkema said. “I had a feeling that we might have trouble with that tonight with a pretty relaxed crowd (and) a pretty relaxed opponent at times throughout the game … it was a lot closer than what we wanted tonight.”
The Raiders came out and tried to put Glen Oaks away at the start of the game and then started to coast, which was the biggest factor that made this a closer game than anticipated.
“We came out and we tried to shatter any hope and get on them early,” Bronkema said. “That was for about the first 10 minutes, maybe less and then we got a little bit lenient and got comfortable. We started to gamble on defense, started to take quicker shots and that usually leads to poorer basketball.”
This seemed to be the case as the Raiders led by as much as 15 midway in the first half, compared to being up by five at the 10 minute mark in the second half.
Bronkema knew the team struggled in the game, but was “proud” of the way the team stayed together.
“As frustrating of a night as it was for several of the guys, whether they didn’t play well, or they didn’t think their teammates were helping them, they stayed together,” Bronkema said. “Even during timeouts, the guys on the bench were saying ‘we’re right there, we’re in a good spot.’ We stayed together and the chemistry of the team seemed to help bring them back.”
Not only was Bronkema happy about the win, but also for the fact that one of his players, Sophomore Guard Jeff Drake-Todd, won National Junior College Athletic Association Player of the Week for for the timespan of Jan. 30 through Feb. 5.
“(It’s) well deserved,” Bronkema said. “Those games against Jackson College and Muskegon CC were two big wins for us and we wouldn’t have won those if Jeff hadn’t of played as well as he did … He’s definitely growing into a leadership role and it’s great for the team to have that … right from the beginning he always practiced hard and he always competed, no doubt about that.”
Drake-Todd is happy with the award and just wants to use it as a “step in the right direction” for his level of play.
“When I recognized that I had won player of the week it just was a great feeling,” Drake-Todd said. “I felt it was well deserved, so winning that was just a blessing from above and I am thankful for it. Really it just shows my hard work finally paid off.”
In the stat books, it’ll go down as one of GRCC’s better team performances as four different players finished in double figures for points. Sophomore Guard Arthur Pearson led the way with 23 points (10-15 from the field, 3-5 from 3-point), Drake-Todd was second in points with 17 (7-16 from the field) followed by Freshman Forward Darron Ewing Jr. with 14 (6-8 from the field) and Sophomore Center Max Prendergast with 12 (6-10 from the field).
In assists, both Drake-Todd and Pearson finished with five and Ewing Jr. and Freshman Guard Jarmichael Heard finished with two. In rebounds, Ewing Jr. and Prendergast grabbed 12, with Drake-Todd grabbing 10. In total, GRCC out-rebounded Glen Oaks by 22, 60-38.
If GRCC does their best to bring energy every game from here on out, they’ll be putting themselves in a good spot according to Bronkema.
“I think they’re coming together pretty good right now,” Bronkema said. “We’re gonna be in a pretty good spot if we can just keep moving forward a little bit each game.”
For the team’s next game, they’ll play at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15, at Lake Michigan College in Benton Harbor and the address is 2755 Napier Ave, Benton Harbor, MI 49022.