After dropping two out of their last three games, the Kalamazoo Cougars obtained a much-needed win against Big Rapids on Friday. The Cougars shook off a sluggish start to the game and beat Big Rapids 61-47, despite playing without two of their starters. Senior point guard Isaac Geiger was absent due to family leave, while junior post Mike Janik had to sit due to back spasms.
The Cougars were carried by the outstanding play of freshman guard Logan Greer, who filled in for Geiger as the point guard, and eighth-grade wing Ty Rykse. Greer scored a career-high 12 points, while Rykse poured in a career-high 23. Rykse came into the game averaging 7.4 points per game. The other significant scoring came from Pipo Hofstra (10) and Joshua McDonald (11), whose scoring was consistent with their season averages (12.8 and 11.3, respectively).
Big Rapids jumped out to an early lead to start the game as the Cougars had a difficult time guarding Joshua Kaufman, who scored 11 points in the first quarter and finished with 26 for the game. However, the Cougars climbed back into the game by making five threes in the second quarter, including a buzzer-beater by McDonald to give the Cougars much-needed momentum and a 34-23 lead going into halftime.
Their hot shooting from the perimeter continued in the third quarter, as Rykse and Greer made clutch threes to give the Cougars a 54-35 lead going into the final quarter. The Cougars’ bench withstood Big Rapids’ desperate press and preserved the lead for the rest of the game.
With the win, the Cougars improved to 7-4 on the season. They face the Holland Wave at home on Tuesday, December 19th, followed by an away game against the St. John’s Warriors on December 21st. The Cougars are looking to finish the first semester with two wins before they have a break from games over the holidays.