The Grand Rapids Community College men’s basketball team missed the opportunity to clinch the Michigan Community College Athletic Association Western Conference Championship on Saturday afternoon when they lost to Ancilla College, 91-76 in the Gerald R. Ford Fieldhouse.
Monday night, the Raiders had the chance to right their wrong when they traveled to Battle Creek, Michigan to face off against the Kellogg Community College Bruins. The Raiders came into the game with a one-game lead over Ancilla. A win combined with an Ancilla loss guaranteed the Raiders the outright conference title.
While it got fairly close towards the end, the Raiders persevered and put the Bruins away, 90-78. Step one was complete as they waited to see how the Ancilla game would turn out. The Chargers were hosting the Lansing Stars and with 12 seconds left, the game was tied at 77. When the horn sounded, Lansing had pulled the upset 79-77, cementing the Raiders’ spot as conference champions.
Head coach Luke Bronkema was ecstatic after the win and couldn’t have been prouder of his team.
“Big win for the Raiders,” Bronkema said. “I’m proud of all our guys for playing hard and together tonight. With today’s win, we are MCCAA West Conference Champions. I believe the last time we accomplished that was 2004-05 season.”
Freshman forward Ike Kanu also chimed in after the game saying, “We are not finished, stay tuned.”
Before the season started, the Raiders had the conference championship as the first goal to accomplish. Freshman forward D’Avery Moore discussed what this accomplishment means to him.
“It means a lot to me,” Moore said. “I’m very proud of my coaches and teammates. We have been working very hard all year for this.”
Despite having the conference clinched with one regular season game remaining, Bronkema won’t rest any of his starters Wednesday night and says it will be, “Business as usual.”
The Raiders are now 22-6 overall and play their last regular season game on Wednesday, Feb. 27 in the Ford Fieldhouse when they welcome the Kalamazoo Valley Community College Cougars at 7:30 p.m.