Thunderhawks upset Red Knights at state

Sean Buckhorn

Boys’ basketball state

For the Red Knights, Wednesday’s state quarterfinal was a game played according to Murphy’s Law. Nearly everything that could have gone wrong did––the Red Knights shot a measly 34.6 percent from the field, were out-rebounded 32-24, and senior captain and leading scorer Peter Crawford was suffering from a case of food poisoning. All of this accumulated to help propel the unseeded, unranked Grand Rapids Thunderhawks past the Red Knights into the State semifinal with a 70-61 victory.

The first half saw the Red Knights fall quickly behind, as the Thunderhawks stormed out to a 18-6 lead in the half’s opening minutes. Though the Red Knights would mount a comeback––going on a 10-2 run midway through the half––Grand Rapids entered halftime with a 26-24 lead.

The second half played out similarly to the first––the Thunderhawks again jumped out to a ten-point lead, and the Red Knights were again forced to play from behind. And, despite a significant improvement in shooting by the Red Knights, the Thunderhawks never relinquished their lead and went on to win 70-61. “We just didn’t have it on the court,” said senior guard Seth Marx.

For the Red Knights, sophomore guard Isaiah Zierden scored 14 points and junior forward Myles Barnes added 11, but their combined effort was not enough to overcome Grand Rapids. Thunderhawk senior guard Eric Stark had 21 points and senior forward Michael Johnson poured in 18 to power the Thunderhawks past the Red Knights.

Crawford, a senior captain averaging 18.8 points per game, came down with food poisoning the day before the game. Though he dressed for and started the game, Crawford was obviously ailing, and scored only 7 points. “I think it affected us more mentally than physically,” said someone. “Peter is the heart and soul of our team.”

The Red Knights, an underclassmen-dominated team, will undoubtedly look to return to State next year. “Next year [the team] will be really good,” said Marx. “The sophomores and juniors will come back strong, and hopefully come back to State.”

But the impact of this years’ senior class cannot be overlooked––Marx, Crawford, Nick Meyer, and Darren Glover each gave four years to the Red Knight basketball program, making three trips to the state tournament and compiling a record of 97-25. “We were such a tight-knit group,” said Marx. “I’ll always remember hanging with these guys.”