By Sean Chase
On Tuesday, Feb. 23, the Grand Rapids Community College men’s basketball team faced off against the nationally ranked Chargers of Ancilla College, losing 86-70.
“As every player on our team said, ‘bad’,” stated GRCC sophomore forward Malik Clincy, when asked how the team was feeling after the loss. “In spurts we played really well, and in spurts we didn’t. We didn’t have that toughness that we had on Friday against Muskegon, we didn’t bring that to Indiana.”
After a dominant victory in the first game of the season against nationally ranked Muskegon Community College, the GRCC men’s basketball team took the trip down to Plymouth, Indiana with hopes of continuing their impressive start to the season.
The opening tip-off of the first half was won by Ancilla, but the Raiders scored the first points of the night as Clincy passed the ball to sophomore guard Darien Banks, who pulled up to hit a 3-point shot in the face of the Charger defense. The teams traded baskets throughout the first three and a half minutes of the game, with Ancilla taking an early lead.
Until Clincy intercepted an errant Charger pass and took off on the fast break. He was met at the half-court line by Ancilla defender Courtney Shorter looking to stop Clincy’s progress towards the basket. Clincy switched the ball to his right hand, dribbled past the defender and straight to the rim for an easy layup, once again giving the Raiders a one-point lead.
The back and forth nature of the contest continued throughout the majority of the first half, as GRCC and Ancilla battled on the glass for rebounds, with neither team hitting their stride. However, with 50 seconds remaining in the half the Chargers had built a 12-point advantage.
On the next possession, GRCC sophomore forward Chandler Collins found Clincy on the wing, who drove to the rim for another easy layup with 16 seconds left in the half. Ancilla dribbled the ball down the court looking to play keep away long enough to reach halftime, but another misplaced pass, this time intercepted by sophomore guard Isaac Anderson, turned into points for GRCC as Collins buried a corner 3-pointer to end the half, with Ancilla up by a score of 42-35.
GRCC brought the momentum with them into the second half, as Banks drilled a 3-pointer cutting the Ancilla lead to four. However, once things got close the Chargers stepped up to push the lead back to double-digits. This continued until the Ancilla advantage was at 16 points, when Clincy hit a corner 3-pointer. He followed this up with a put-back dunk to get GRCC back into the game.
However, Ancilla’s lead never dipped below 11 points throughout the final 10 minutes of the contest. As they held on to win 86-70.
Although the GRCC defense broke down in the final minutes of the game, they were able to hold Ancilla to their lowest point total so far this season.
“We can do that, we have the potential to do that,” said Clincy. “We just have to make sure if we’re not scoring offensively, we have to make especially sure in those times that we continue to play that good defense.”
Clincy led GRCC in scoring with 19 points, as well as 5 rebounds and 4 assists. The Raiders also received contributions from freshman Azyah Brown (13 points, 3 rebounds and 1 block), Collins (13 points, 4 rebounds and 1 assist), Anderson (12 points, 6 rebounds and 2 steals), Banks (9 points, 6 rebounds and 1 steal) and sophomore guard Richard Major (4 points, 2 rebounds and 1 steal).
The Raiders next game will be played on Friday, Feb. 26, in the Gordon Hunsberger Arena, when they welcome the Lakers of Mid-Michigan Community College at 7:30 p.m. The game will be live-streamed on the GRCC Athletics Youtube Channel.
“We’re going to be ready to go on Friday, for sure,”said Clincy.
GRCC Head Coach Jeff Bauer couldn’t be reached for an interview.