Heading into the first conference game of the season, the Grand Rapids Community College men’s basketball team understood they would have a target on their back. Bay College played excellent defense on GRCC throughout the game on Saturday, Jan. 14, which would lead to a 88-76 win.
“Bay College is a good team with a lot of size,” head coach Joe Fox said. “It is a make or miss game and they hit some shots while we missed some. It is tough to climb out of holes in the second half.”
The start of the game brought a lot of defensive energy and consistent effort on both ends for each team. Bay College’s size was evident immediately as they crashed the offensive boards along with using their size on the defensive end to make the Raiders struggle. However, the Raiders matched the energy as they played strong defense throughout the first five minutes of the game which gave them a 11-5 lead. Toward the end of the half, the Raiders faced some adversity as they faced foul trouble along with a technical foul due to flopping against freshman Bashir Neely. Bay College turned up the heat later in the quarter and finished the half on a 23-11 run to give the Norse a 43-39 lead at halftime.
Coach Fox attributed foul trouble to the end of the first half struggles and put the team in a position they have not been in all year.
“Foul trouble definitely impacts the game,” Fox said. “We had to scramble lineups a little bit but we’re comfortable with the guys we have on the floor at all times. We have a lot of guys with experience.”
In the second half, the Raiders continued to fight through foul trouble, but as the game neared the end, the lead increased for Bay College. GRCC shot 36% in the second half while shooting 3-12 from the three-point line. The Raiders were unable to put together a second half comeback and lost by a score of 88-76.
Sophomore and recent Cleary University signee Brockton Kohler led the team in scoring with 18 points, eight rebounds, and shot 90% from the free throw line. Fellow sophomore Danyel Bibbs added 15 points, seven rebounds, and five assists. Sophomore and big man Isaac Warning was a force in the paint with eight points, five rebounds, two assists, and one block.
Saturday’s loss moves the Raiders to an 11-3 record on the season and a 0-1 conference record. GRCC looks to end its three-game losing streak against Mid Michigan College on Wednesday, Jan.18, at 7:30 p.m. in Mount pleasant.
Coach Fox is confident his team will bounce back in Wednesday’s game against Mid Michigan College
“The team will definitely be ready. This is a great league for juco teams, so we have to be ready every game,” Fox said. “This is a tough stretch of games, but we will be focused and can’t wait to get back to work.”