By Jackson Heiden
Despite redshirt-sophomore Brockton Kohler’s continued rain of dominance against Mid-Michigan, the Grand Rapids Community College men’s basketball team dropped a nail-biter in overtime 98-94, this afternoon, to split the season series.
The Raiders and Lakers picked right back up where they left off at the beginning of the month, trading buckets and keeping the game close.
“Offensively, (we were) pretty good, defensively I thought we struggled a little bit,” said GRCC head coach Joe Fox. “We didn’t get to the free-throw line as much as I would’ve liked, but we really shot the ball well.”
Coming out of halftime the Raiders and Lakers put up even more points than they did in the second half, scoring 44 and falling one bucket short of winning the game.
“We knew we had to hit the boards hard and close out their shooters,” Kohler said. “Pruit is a crafty guard with a nice mid-range, which makes him tougher to guard. Defense was definitely the focus coming out of the locker room.”
The game was kept close through the second half until the Lakers captured the largest lead of the game 66-59, with about 8:30 left to go in the game. The Raiders would quickly erase their seven-point deficit and go on a small 9-2 run to tie the game at 68.
Going into the final 10 seconds the Lakers had a three-point lead until redshirt-sophomore guard Andrew Moore hit a three-point jumper with eight seconds remaining to force the game into overtime.
“I thought we were in the right spots defensively,” Fox said. “We would just miss one here and miss one there. That’s what we talked about after the game…it’s about the little things, they add up and you gotta be locked in for a whole defensive possession.”
In overtime, the game would continue following the trend of trading buckets and scoring a lot, as the game was kept close until redshirt-freshman guard Nyuon Nhial missed the go-ahead layup with eight seconds to go. The Lakers then took the missed shot, ran down the court, and hit a go-ahead three-pointer along with a free throw to seal the game.
After today’s game, Kohler now has season highs in points, minutes, along with field goals and three-pointers made and attempted. He finished the game with 32 points, seven rebounds, and three steals. He went eight of 17 from the three-point line along with racking up 43 minutes played.
“I can only credit the scoring to my teammates and coaches for having trust in me,” Kohler said. “Not enough coaches realize that trust produces confidence and Fox is one of the best I’ve seen.”
Sophomore guard Ryel Daye backed up Kohler’s dominance with 19 points, five rebounds and three steals along with Moore who scored 18 points with five assists. Nhial also had himself a season-high in scoring as he put up 11 points along with grabbing five rebounds and a steal.
The Raiders will play the first of two against Kellogg Community College this week as they begin in Battle Creek this Monday, Jan. 31 at 7:30 p.m. at the KCC Miller Gymnasium.
“They’ve beaten a couple of the top teams in our league, I think they’re about .500 in the league right now,” Fox said. “We talk all the time about what we need to do more than what the opponent’s doing and we’re still trying to figure that out and build on the positives so we’ll be ready to go.”