An always heated basketball rivalry takes center stage at Grand Rapids Community College as the Raiders take on the Muskegon Community College Jayhawks on tonight at the Ford Fieldhouse.
The Michigan Community College Athletic Association Western Conference showdown features a women’s-men’s doubleheader of the rivals.
Tonight’s game is the “Senior Night Out” for Grand Rapids Public Schools for their students to experience GRCC, take in a college basketball game and celebrate former GRPS student-athletes. Guard Anthony McIntosh, sophomore forward Corey Jones (Ottawa Hills High School) and guard Curtis Davison (Union High School) are the Raiders who will be celebrated. DaQuaveon Stuckey, Michael Anderson Jr. and Sergio Diaz (Union High School) of the Jayhawks will also be honored for their time in the GRPS. Admission to the game is free as well as free food according to the event’s flyer. GRCC President Dr. Bill Pink called for students, staff and fans to fill up the Fieldhouse in his weekly newsletter to GRCC staff.
The women take the floor first on tonight and the Raiders (3-6 MCCAA, 10-9 Overall) will have their hands full against the Jayhawks (8-1 MCCAA, 15-5 Overall). The Jayhawks have won eight straight games and have done so in close fashion except for two games, when they defeated Kellogg Community College 90-46 on Jan. 10 and Glen Oaks Community College, 91-22 on Jan. 20. The Jayhawks won the first matchup against the Raiders 52-50 on Jan. 6 at MCC.
Tonight marks the second game of the second half of the conference season for the Raiders, who have undoubtedly struggled this season sitting at just 3-6 in MCCAA play. The Raiders have been a part of close games all season, with the exception of a few games in the new year.
A popular refrain from Head Coach Dave Glazier is that his team, “just doesn’t quit. We can hang around with any team.” Glazier has made this comment multiple times throughout the season and most recently after the Raiders 64-62 loss to the Mid-Michigan Community College Lakers.
Raiders to watch in this game is freshman forward Mya Jordan. Jordan led the way her last time out on Saturday against the Jackson Jets with a game-high 26 points and 11 rebounds. It may take another strong performance from Jordan as well as the one of the best games from the Raiders this season to take down their rivals.
Tip-off is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.
The back-end of the doubleheader features two teams in a three-way tie for third place in the MCCAA Western Conference standings at 6-4, the third is Jackson, who defeated the Raiders, 84-81 on Saturday.
Davison and McIntosh led the way for the Raiders in scoring with 30 and 15 points, respectively. Davison also managed to pull down 10 rebounds to give himself a double-double against the Jets. Freshman forward Diego Robinson led the way in that category with 11 rebounds as well as 14 points last weekend.
The Raiders don’t necessarily need to win this game to keep their postseason hopes alive, but this is a game of large magnitude in terms of the standings. The winner (barring the result of Jackson’s game) will either take sole possession of third place or go back into a two-team tie for the position with Jackson currently holding any tiebreaker between the three teams.
Revenge is also a storyline tonight as the Jayhawks defeated the Raiders in their first meeting of the season, 94-86. The Raiders will be looking to avoid the season sweep to the rival Jayhawks.
As always, Davison, McIntosh and Robinson are the Raiders to watch out for, especially in such a hyped-up game as tonight’s will be. Look for the Raiders to score early and often to try to put the Jayhawks on their heels.
The men’s game is scheduled to tip-off at 7:30 p.m.