By Jackson Heiden
Despite big performances from their sophomores, the Grand Rapids Community College men’s basketball team lost a tight game 101-96 to Ancilla College, moving the Raiders record to 3-5 in conference and 8-11 overall.
The Raiders came out confident to start the first half fixing the passing issues they had earlier in the season and going on a 14-5 run led by redshirt-sophomore guard Andrew Moore. Moore put up half of the team’s points during the stretch before the Chargers took a timeout as they found themselves down 30-24.
“We’re a better shooting team when we share the ball,” said GRCC’s head coach Joe Fox. “When we’re able to penetrate into the paint and move the ball, I thought we hit a lot of shots. So it’s very good.”
Along with the great team passing, redshirt-freshman guard Brockton Kohler was on top of his game on the defensive side of things, blocking two in the first half along with shutting down the third-ranked shooter in the conference before tweaking his ankle and then sitting for the rest of the half.
“We knew coming out we had to have a lot of energy on defense and I tried to set the tone,” Kohler said. “They have a lot of shooters and we knew we had to close them out hard.”
Raiders sat with the ball in the final remaining seconds of the first half before the Chargers would play thief and take the ball down the court for a buzzer-beating slam dunk. This resulted in a momentum shift going into half along with the Chargers extending their lead, 42-38.
Kohler rejoined the Raiders as they came out of halftime sluggish and quickly found themselves down 56-49 before red hot sophomore guard Ryel Daye would take control and give the Raiders their biggest lead of the night 69-65.
“We knew that me and Andrew both had to lead the team in doing the job in unison positions,” Daye said. “Our coach called the right plays and we did very well with it, scoring 98 points.”
The Raiders quickly found themselves playing catchup again until the Chargers’ redshirt-freshman guard, Jakylen Thomas, who is third in the conference in points per game, stormed off the court after fouling out. This sparked the Raiders’ offense to keep pace with the Chargers till the end of the game. The Raiders only ever pulled within two before the Chargers ultimately came away with the victory.
Redshirt-sophomore guard Danyel Bibbs had yet another night of hot scoring as he put up 25 points along with six assists, three rebounds, and two steals.
“I’ve been just feeling a lot better as a person, like myself,” Bibbs said. “The team chemistry has changed a lot lately and that’s been unbreakable. We’re just thriving right now.”
Kohler also matched Bibbs offensive night by scoring 25 points, going six for 11 from the three-point line which provided that extra boost the offense needed to keep them in it. Moore had another big night, scoring 19 points, eight rebounds, four assists, two steals, and a block.
“We know we have to go out and come together as a team and work hard,” Moore said. “I’ve just been trying to do my role and they’ve been giving me the ball in the right situations and the coach has presented me with the right situations to rebound.”
Sophomore guard Ryel Daye added to his hot streak as he scored 18 points, seven rebounds, and four assists. Freshman guard Jovante Jones didn’t have a huge stat line but came in late to provide a little push when the offense was quiet by scoring seven.
The Raiders look to take the season series this Saturday afternoon as they travel to Mt. Pleasant to take on Mid-Michigan College at the Morey Courts at 3:30 p.m.
“It’ll be the first time we’ve played an opponent twice this year,” Fox said. “We’ll have the scout on them and it’s a unique place to play at. The guys got to be ready.”