By Sean Chase
The Grand Rapids Community College men’s basketball team snapped their five-game losing streak with an outstanding performance against the undermanned Vikings of Glen Oaks in Grand Rapids on Tuesday, March 30, winning 91-58.
“We had a shaky first half, but we brought it together,” said Darien Banks, a guard on the GRCC men’s basketball team. “We talked about it at halftime, and we realized what we were doing poorly. We fixed it and got the (win).”
As the end of the season nears, Tuesday’s game was an opportunity for the Raiders’ sophomores to be recognized. Prior to the opening tip, each sophomore was introduced and given a framed picture. Due to it being sophomore night, GRCC men’s basketball coach Jeff Bauer adjusted his starting lineup to further honor his players.
Sophomores Khyree Beyah, Aaron Tomlinson and D’Avery Moore started alongside sophomores Richard Major and Banks against Glen Oaks.
“It was great getting the start,” Beyah said. “Coach has been preaching to us to stay ready, so I did my best and I appreciate the nod.”
In the opening minutes of the first half, Glen Oaks scored on back-to-back possessions for the early lead. However, GRCC responded in kind by working the ball into the paint and into the hands of Beyah, who quickly dismantled the Viking defense for an easy layup, to put the Raiders on the board.
Both teams continued to trade the lead throughout the first part of the first half, as most of the Raiders struggled to find their rhythm on offense. However, Beyah and Major provided a spark for GRCC on both ends of the floor. With five-minutes remaining in the half, Beyah scored off a Moore assist move to give the Raiders the lead, 25-23, and net his seventh basket of the contest.
From then on the Raiders wouldn’t surrender the lead again in the half, as they went into the break with a slim edge over Glen Oaks, 35-31.
Coming out of the break, GRCC settled down as Banks began to find his shot from behind the 3-point line to give the Raiders a 10-point lead, 45-35.
“I’m getting into the gym more, getting my confidence back up,” Banks said. “It was a little shaky in the beginning, but I’m starting to get in the gym more, and it’s falling.”
With Glen Oaks entering the contest with only five players, they began to tire as the Raiders cycled through their bench. With fresher legs, the GRCC lead continued to grow, reaching 21 points with 10 minutes to go in the game.
It was all Raiders with just over seven minutes left in the game, when things took an unexpected turn. Already undermanned Glen Oaks freshman Jayvon Johnson received his fifth personal foul and exited the game, leaving the Vikings with four players for the remainder of the contest.
The Vikings didn’t give up, as they continued to attack on offense, but the man-advantage was too much to overcome. As the buzzer sounded, every player on the Raiders roster scored a basket enroute to a huge win, 91-58.
Glen Oaks sophomore Tyquez Priester led all scorers in the contest with 21 points, as well as five rebounds, two blocks and two steals. The Vikings also received contributions from sophomore LeAngelo Saravia (19 points, five rebounds and four assists), freshman Da’Vion Lane (10 points, three rebounds and three steals), freshman Allen Bobo (three rebounds, three assists and one steal) and Johnson (eight points, five rebounds and one steal).
Beyah led the Raiders in scoring with 20 points, his highest total of the season, as well as eight rebounds and four blocks. GRCC also received contributions from Major (11 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals), Tomlinson (two points, seven rebounds and four assists), Banks (14 points, two rebounds, two assists and one steal), Moore (10 points, seven rebounds and three assists), sophomore Isaac Anderson (eight points, 10 rebounds and six assists), sophomore Chandler Collins (four points, three rebounds and three assists), freshman Justus Clark (three points, two rebounds and one assist), freshman Braden Klein (three points, one rebound and one assist), freshman Azyah Brown (five points and one rebound), freshman Dasani Darnell (six points, four rebounds and two blocks) and freshman Brockton Kohler (five points, three rebounds and one assist.
“(Beyah’s) been looming all-season long, just waiting to break out,” Bauer said. “I’m happy with his performance, Aaron Tomlinson off the bench too. I just thought to start the game we were a little disinterested and then at halftime we pulled it together.”
The Raiders will end their regular season schedule in Muskegon on Thursday, April 1, at 7:30 p.m. against the Jayhawks of Muskegon Community College.
“We’re just trying to catch momentum,” Bauer said. “This was a good first step, we’ll see if we can put it all together on Thursday. Muskegon’s kind of a rival, so going over there, they’re going to be jacked up, we’re going to be jacked up.”