By Jackson Heiden
The Grand Rapids Community College men’s basketball team started the new year, and conference play, in front of a packed house with an 85-82 win over Mid-Michigan, improving to 6-6 overall and 1-0 in conference play.
“To see the big crowd, I was happy for the guys,” said GRCC head coach Joe Fox. “It’s so hard to be off for three weeks and show up and play, and a big game right away nonetheless. GRCC and Mid have had some really great games over the last few years so it was really fun to come out and get a win tonight on day one.”
The Raiders were led by redshirt-freshman guard Brockton Kohler who put up an astonishing 26 points along with six rebounds.
“We’ve been missing four or five guys over the course of the start of the season,” Kohler said. “All the leaders are locked in, and we’re getting our full team back. Our chemistry is getting better.”
Chemistry was the focal point of tonight’s win. Although the Raiders bench didn’t do much in the box score the energy the bench gave off was electric. Redshirt-sophomore guard Andrew Moore started the new year with a strong 17 points along with five rebounds, three steals, and a block. Sophomore guard Ryel Daye contributed big as he put up 15 points, 11 rebounds, and four assists to secure the double-double.
Neither team could pull away in the first half as the Raiders and Lakers traded buckets back and forth. The Raiders played disciplined basketball, committing only three fouls. Going into the locker room the Raiders would be clinging onto a 40-38 lead.
Coming out of the break, the Raiders went on a big 10-0 run. The Lakers called a quick timeout to break their momentum. This proved beneficial as they went on a huge 20-2 run to give themselves a 60-57 lead.
“You’re gonna have run like that with the fast pace play we have,” Fox said. “We just have to shorten the ones that are your fault defensively. That’s going to be the main focus in practice and the upcoming games for the week.”
Both teams picked back up on their offensive tug of war until a pair of Laker technical fouls proved costly, as the Raiders hit free throws to seal the victory.
The Raiders were originally scheduled to travel to Glen Oaks Wednesday, Jan. 5 but due to the big snowstorm expected Wednesday night, the game will be postponed to Monday, Jan. 10 at 7:30 p.m.
The Raiders will be on the road for their second conference game of the season on Saturday, Jan. 8, as they take on Kellogg Community College at the KCC Miller Gymnasium, at 3 p.m.