Its 6-1 record doesn’t reflect the growing pains that took place over the last two months. And there were plenty for the Glen Oaks Community College men’s basketball team, head coach Steve Proefrock said.
Tuesday’s 79-66 home victory over a long and bouncy Macomb squad is an indication that, despite numerous new parts, the Vikings will again be a force to reckon with come Michigan Community College Athletic Association play begins in January.
“From where we started about two months ago to where we are now … I told the kids, ‘You’ve probably made about as much improvement as any team I’ve had in that short amount of time,’” Proefrock said. “I told them ‘you guys were god-awful early on.’ We had nothing but improvement to make. We’ve become a good basketball team. Our progress has been immense.
“I think it was a new team all the way around. We had a lot of transfers, and even the returners we had to take a leadership role this year, so that was different. How the transfers fit in with the new system and wet-behind-the-ears freshmen. Even the old guys we had were new at what they were doing.”
What they did for 40 minutes was find high-percentage shots and make them. The Vikings finished the night having made 49.1 percent of their field goals (26-for-53), including a 6-for-18 effort from behind the 3-point arc.
Sophomore forward Lee Gardner III (6-foot-3) started and finished hot en route to 23 points and 11 rebounds, and sophomore forward Angelo Griffis (6-5) scorched the Monarchs for a game-high 26 points and grabbed nine boards.
Griffis previously played for Lake Michigan Community College, and Proefrock knew he was a quality player. However, Griffis’ all-around offensive game turned out to be a little more potent than Proefrock expected.
“He’s probably a little bit better offensively than I thought,” Proefrock explained. “We played against him — he was at Lake Michigan a couple years ago. He was in the scouting report. Off the dribble I really wasn’t that concerned about him. He was more of a spot-up type shooter; I didn’t realize the kind of game he had to the basket. The best part about him is he’s such a long player, he sees over defenses. I like the fact that he can score, but he also can make a lot of passes.”
Glen Oaks took a 35-32 lead into intermission and took control midway through the second half. The Vikings outscored Macomb, which was the toughest test of the season, Proefrock said, 21-17 at the foul line and won the rebounding battle 49-40.
The one major smudge on the stat sheet were the 26 turnovers committed by the Vikings.
“I think we’re over-penetrating too much getting into the lane and out of control a little bit,” Proefrock said. “We’ve got to do a better job of getting to the middle instead of the baseline and we’ve got to pass before the traps come. We’ve got to backup dribble, pick a side and pass over and around the traps a little bit. We’ll get extra passes and we won’t turn it over so much.”
Macomb shot just 31.1 percent from the field and was 3-for-25 from 3-point land.
Glen Oaks is back in action at Hope on Dec. 4.
LADY VIKINGS SMASH OLIVET JUNIOR VARSITY
A running clock was instituted in the second half but Glen Oaks still beat Olivet’s junior varsity team 102-28 Tuesday.
The Vikings improved to 6-1 and bounced back from a three-point loss to Edison Community College on Nov. 23. Six players reached double figures, including freshman forward Courtney Moore, a Three Rivers product, who poured in 23 points. Sophomore guard Alaina Schwarz scored 22 points and registered seven steals, Anika Gasich, a freshman wing, finished with 15 points and seven boards and sophomore point guard De’Ottia Robinson pocketed a double-double with 12 points and 11 assists.
They play Hope’s JV on Dec. 4 on the road.