The Grand Rapids Community College men’s basketball team traveled to Grayling to face Kirtland Community College on Saturday, Jan. 28. With a big second half, the Raiders defeated the Firebirds 98-59.
Head coach Joe Fox had a strong pre-game message to try to motivate the team.
“We talked about how good you have to be to win on the road prior to the game,” Fox said. “I thought the team responded very well to that.”
GRCC jumped out to a 9-5 lead in the first five minutes of the game. Sophomore’s Rico Wade and Brockton Kohler both started the game shooting well, while sophomore’s Myron Brewer and Isaac Warning were playing physical on the glass. The first half consisted of the Raiders fighting to keep their lead, as they finished with a 36-29 lead. The Raiders seemed like they were poised to make a big run if they started hitting shots. They shot 36% from the field and 23% from three in the first half.
“We did not make any major adjustments, we just focused on picking up the pressure and trying to attack places we thought we had advantages.”
Immediately after halftime, the Raiders dominated as sophomore Chris Coleman scored the first six points of the half for the Raiders. GRCC led 42-31 only two minutes into the half, and then went on a massive run. Led by sophomore guard Danyel Bibbs, the Raiders went on a 20-9 run. After the run, a multitude of GRCC players contributed and they gained the biggest lead they’ve had since the first game of the season. The Raiders won by a score of 98-59.
“It was really fun to have this game be a big win because it makes the longer road trips a bit more enjoyable,” Fox said. “It was great to see so many guys make an impact on the game.”
GRCC’s second half adjustments worked to perfection, with the Raiders shooting 65% from the field and 63% from behind the arc in the second half. Brewer believed the best thing the Raiders did was spread the ball around.
“I think one thing the team did well today was good ball movement,” Brewer said. “Everyone was able to get some touches with the ball being swung around through our offense. Everyone who got on the court was able to get involved in a lot of possessions that opened up more opportunities to score.”
Kohler led the Raiders in scoring with 16 points and five rebounds. Bibbs and Coleman both eclipsed double-digit points, as Bibbs went for 14 points, six rebounds, and four assists while Coleman scored 10 points and grabbed three rebounds. Brewer had a near double-double scoring 10 points and grabbing nine rebounds. Lastly, Wade scored nine points and freshman Jajuan Walker had 10 points with four rebounds.
When asked how he felt about leading the team in scoring, Kohler replied, “I honestly don’t really care. I’m not the one who cares about being the top scorer and we took care of business while having fun in an unselfish fashion.”
With the win, the Raiders are now on a three-game winning streak and improve to 14-4 overall and 3-2 in the conference. GRCC’s next opponent is Delta College, as the Raiders travel to the University Center to play Wednesday, Feb.1, at 7:30 p.m
Kohler believes the win will help with the momentum heading into the final games of conference play.
“It is always great to build some momentum in conference play but we try not to get too high or low, ” Kohler said. “We try to have a one game, one possession at a time mentality and that’s how we will attack the rest of the schedule.”