The Muskegon Community College men’s basketball team clinched the first outright conference championship in the history of the program on Wednesday with a thrilling 103-102 overtime victory over Ancilla College in Plymouth, Indiana.
The victory gave the Jayhawks a final 16-2 league mark, which clinched first place in the Michigan Community College Athletic Association’s Western Conference. Ancilla College and Lansing Community College finished second, one game behind MCC.
The Jayhawks, who are 22-5 overall, will play Schoolcraft College, the Eastern Conference champion, on Saturday at 3 p.m. in Livonia for the MCCAA championship. Schoolcraft is ranked 10th in the nation among Division 2 junior college teams while MCC is ranked 16th.
“This is a tough bunch of guys who set their minds to a goal and made school history in the process,” said MCC Coach Dave Schlump. “I just can’t say enough about how proud I am of this team. They deserve and have earned the right to be called champions.”
Wednesday’s game did not start out promising for the Jayhawks. Ancilla grabbed an early 11-point lead, but MCC clawed back and trailed by only two points at halftime, 45-43.
The Jayhawks came out hot in the second half and built a 60-51 lead with 16 minutes left. But Ancilla answered the challenge and grabbed the lead once more with under 10 minutes to go.
The game stayed close all the way to the end of regulation. MCC’s Sergio Diaz hit a layup with 10 seconds left to give the Jayhawks a one-point edge, but Ancilla hit a free throw in the final seconds to send the contest to overtime.
MCC led by a point with 10 seconds left in the extra session. Ancilla’s final shot missed the mark, and the Jayhawks had the win and the championship.
Guard Ricarri Stimage was the star of the show for the Jayhawks, totaling 37 points – including 24 in the second half and overtime – and dished out 12 assists. Kyle Ervin Jr. added 23 points, Mike Williams scored 18 and Diaz finished with 10.
“What a game and what an unbelievable win by our guys and for this program,” Schlump said. “Every single person contributed tonight. Everyone. At times it felt like we were playing this game for everyone who has worn a Jayhawk uniform in the past.”