The Grand Rapids Community College men’s basketball team were tasked with closing out GRCC’s Homecoming Week, and they did just that with an 84-67 win over the Lake Michigan College Red Hawks.
Early in the game, the Raiders could do no wrong hitting five of their first six attempts from three-point range. Sophomore Sammie Ryans got the scoring party started for the Raiders which led to them jumping out to an early 24-14 lead.
Ryans credited head coach Luke Bronkema’s game plan for the reason the Raiders had such a strong night on the court.
“We just stayed focussed the whole game,” Ryans said. “We came in with a strong game plan… from coach, and we just stayed strong and had heart throughout the whole game.”
Bronkema’s game plan was definitely a factor in the game, but he thinks the team’s discipline and ability to impose their will on the other team was the difference in this game.
“I think it really comes down to discipline,” Bronkema said. “That’s something we’ve been working on for the last couple weeks. Try to play our basketball. Do what we want to do rather than just succumbing to the game plan the defense is trying to present us.”
The Raiders didn’t let the Red Hawks defense slow them down at all. GRCC was very efficient in the game, shooting 48 percent from three-point range and 45 percent from the field. The Raiders had four players in double-figures with William Otole leading the way scoring 21 points. Ryans had 17 and David Hearns added 16.
After Wednesday night’s loss to Glen Oaks Community College, Bronkema was upset with his team’s energy and performance and said they had to turn it around for this game. He believed his team would answer the bell and was glad to see they did.
“This is kind of what I expected and what I hoped for,” Bronkema said. “I think that Wednesday was a wake-up call and really clearly got the point across. Even though we told them several times, ‘any team in the conference can jump up and get you, any team if you don’t decide to play hard that night.’ So I think in the long run, I think it was just a matter of time until that happened. We started smelling ourselves a little bit, reality set in and we got back to hard-nose basketball.”
The Raiders are now 5-1 in conference play and will need to continue putting forth performances like this one to start another winning streak. Bronkema said they need to keep taking good shots, “but sometimes they go in and sometimes they don’t. All we can do is hope they go in.”
The Raiders will take their 12-5 record on the road Wednesday, Jan. 23 at 7:30 p.m. to do battle with the 10-5 Ancilla College Chargers in Plymouth, Michigan.