KCC men's update - Jan. 27, 2009
Special to the Independent
MIO – The Kirtland Community College mens basketball team posted it first three-game winning streak of the 2008-09 season by beating visiting Macomb Community College, 64-49, at the McGregor Athletic Complex in Mio on Saturday, Jan. 24.
The Firebirds (8-12 overall, 4-6 conference) have won five of their last seven. And Saturday’s win over Macomb moved Kirtland into a tie with the visiting Monarchs (12-7 overall, 4-6 conference) for sixth place in the Michigan Community College Athletic Association Eastern Division standings. The top seven teams will advance to battle in the MCCAAs postseason tournament.
“Obviously, this was a good win for us,” said Kirtland head coach Ty McGregor. “It’s the first time this year we’ve won three in a row.”
Kirtland used defensive pressure to take control early, leading Macomb 17-8 after the first 10 minutes of play and forging a 41-21 half-time advantage.
“There’s no secret recipe,” McGregor said. “When we defend and rebound, that’s what gets it started for us.”
A trio of Firebirds – sophomore guards Nick Simpson (Bay City All Saints), Charles Brown (Detroit Mackenzie) and Torey Throop (Vestaburg) – each scored 14 points in Saturday’s win in front of their home fans.
Simpson also grabbed a team-high 9 rebounds to go with 1 assist and 1 steal, while Brown chipped in 6 assists, 5 steals and 1 rebound. Throop, who keyed the Firebirds’ opening surge with four three-pointers, also had 5 boards in the win.
Other contributors for Kirtland included: Klavs Bogdanovics (Latvia) with 9 points, 6 boards, 2 steals and 1 assist; Pierson Szubelak (Fairview) with 8 points and 3 rebounds; Marc Wallace (Kalkaska) with 5 points and 3 rebounds; Isaiah Kauffman (AuGres-Sims) with 2 steals, 1 board and 1 assist; and Robert Phillips (Gaylord) with 1 assist.
After starting the season at 3-8, McGregor said his players are now able to measure how far they’ve come, as they play their conference rivals a second time. Macomb had topped the Firebirds, 85-68, on the Monarchs’ home floor Dec. 20.
“Our guys are starting to turn it around a bit,” he added. “They know we are who we are, and they’re starting to gel.”
Freshman forward Brandon McKenney (Detroit Martin Luther King) paced the visiting Monarchs with 23 points.
For more information on Kirtland athletics, visit online at firebirds.kirtland.edu or call 989-275-5000, extension 385.
KCC 66, Alpena 63
MIO – The Kirtland Community College mens basketball team is starting roll, after struggling earlier this season, and a hard-fought 66-63 conference victory on Wednesday, Jan. 21, over rival Alpena Community College at the McGregor Athletic Complex in Mio might help the Firebirds keep momentum on their side.
“We’ve won four of our last six,” said Kirtland head coach Ty McGregor. “We’re knocking them off now. I can feel it.”
The visiting Lumberjacks (1-15 overall, 0-8 conference) made sure the Firebirds (7-12 overall, 3-6 conference) earned the win in the clash between the two Michigan Community College Athletic Association Eastern Division foes.
Kirtland held a 34-24 advantage at the break, but Alpena rallied to take a 55-54 lead with about 8 minutes to play in the second half. The two rivals traded baskets and the lead several times over the next five and a half minutes, before a series of plays in which the Firebirds finally wrested back control of the game.
Sophomore guard Charles Brown (Detroit Mackenzie) started the winning surge with a driving layup. That was followed by freshman center Klavs Bogdanovics’ (Latvia) block of Alpena’s sophomore forward-center Chris Keller (Kalkaska) and another layup by Brown, giving Kirtland a 64-61 edge with less than two minutes left in regulation.
“We did some nice things defensively tonight,” McGregor added.
Sophomore guard Torey Throop (Vestaburg) then helped seal the victory by hitting two key three throws with 7.7 seconds on the clock. Alpena was unable to force overtime, missing on a three-point attempt and a long last second shot from the Firebirds’ end of the floor.
Brown tallied a team-high 18 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals in the win. Throop was the only other player for Kirtland to score in double figures, chipping in 17 points, 3 rebounds and 2 steals against the Lumberjacks.
Other contributors for Kirtland included: Nick Simpson (Bay City All Saints) with 9 points, a team-best 10 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 assist; Pierson Szubelak (Fairview) with 8 points, 2 assists, 1 rebound and 1 steal; Bogdanovics with 5 points, 4 boards and 2 assists; Isaiah Kauffman (AuGres-Sims) with 4 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals and 1 assist; Marc Wallace (Kalkaska) with 3 points, 3 assists and 1 board; and Robert Phillips (Gaylord) with 2 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals.
Freshman guard Justin Weaver (Buckley) helped lead Alpena’s effort with 23 points, while freshman guard Jordan Sweeny (Cedarville) and Keller scored 10 and 8 points, respectively.