By: Jackson Heiden
In an attempt to overcome their late second-half turnover woes, the Grand Rapids Community College men’s basketball team lost a close one to Calvin JV in double overtime, 106-104. The Raiders are now 3-3 overall.
Calvin JV’s Logan Van Essen was too much to handle throughout the first half, helping the Knights keep pace with the high-strung Raider offense.
“I thought we did a better job containing him as the half progressed,” said GRCC head coach Joe Fox.
The Knights and Raiders would continue the trend of trading buckets up until the last few minutes of the first half when the Knights would begin pulling away. Redshirt freshman guard Justus Clark hit a buzzer-beating three to end the half 46-38 in favor of the Knights, giving the Raiders hope for a comeback.
After a slow start to the second half, the Raiders would end up taking a short 30-second timeout. Following the timeout, the Raiders would go on a massive 22-4 run that would end up giving them a nine-point lead. Redshirt sophomore guard Andrew Moore would lead the charge as he dropped seven of the team’s 22 points during the run.
“He’s one of the big team guys,” Fox said. “None of the stuff I see surprises me because I see it every day in practice. I’m proud of what he brings to the table every day.”
With about one minute remaining in the game, the Raiders attempted a keep-away strategy to force the Knights to foul. However, the Knights played defense with good pressure and forced a couple of Raider turnovers along with some steals that would put the game back into a tie.
“Anytime you have that kind of a lead with a minute left, it’s going to come down to executing little things and we didn’t end regulation (doing so),” Fox said. “We talked about that in the locker room about how every game comes down to a million little plays and there were a few of them right in a row that got us.”
During the first overtime, both teams would trade shots, making a combined 12 points. Freshman forward Matthew Richards would hit a two-point shot followed up by a Moore free throw with time winding down, only for Calvin to hit a three with two seconds remaining to tie it back up and force a second overtime.
The Raiders and Knights doubled the number of points scored in the second overtime compared to the first overtime, as it felt as though the Raiders were playing catch up. A combined team effort of clutch free throw shooting would bring the Raiders back to a tie, only for the Knights to make a fade away two-point jumper with time expiring to win the game.
Despite the heartbreaking loss, the Raiders had a lot of production coming from their starters. Moore would lead the way with 29 points, as Clark would follow, scoring 23 points along with eight rebounds. Richards would continue his double-double hot streak as he accumulated 18 points along with 15 rebounds, even though he struggled to get his shot in tune. Redshirt freshman guard Brockton Kohler also dropped 15 points along with eight rebounds.
The Raiders will look to rebound from their double-overtime defeat as they travel to University Center to take on Delta College on Monday, Nov. 29 at 8 p.m.
“Going up to their place is fun,” Fox said. “They have a nice shooter’s gym. We got time to rest up and work on some things.”