Men’s hoop team reaches nationals
By winning the NJCAA District 9 Tournament at Delta College March 7, the LCC men’s basketball team (12-4 MCCAA, 24-10 overall through March 19) punched its ticket to the NJCAA Division II National Basketball Tournament in Danville, Ill.
History has been kind the Stars in the tournament. Banners for the 1988 National Title, fourth place in 1990 and sixth place in 2006 hang in the rafters at the Gannon Gym.
Making his first trip to the tournament since 2006, LCC Head Coach Mike Ingram said there was a fine line that couldn’t be crossed if his team wanted to make it to the 12-team tournament.
“We had just played 10 great basketball games,” he said. “I feel that any game that we would have lost, would have cost us the league championship and I think we would have lost the district championship too.”
The Stars dropped their first game of the tournament 82-68 to Kishwaukee College March 17. LCC freshman Javon Haines scored 16 points, sophomore Tracy Edmond put in 12 points and Momadou Ba had a game-high 12 rebounds in a losing cause.
Lansing didn’t have the ball bounce its way as the Stars shot just in 38 percent (24 for 64) from the field and 31 percent (5 for 16) from three-point range.
“We finished the season very strong, knowing that maybe you have a bad half of basketball in you,” Ingram explained. “I think we played an OK half today. Then that bad half of basketball you know is out there kind of showed up.”
The loss was the team’s first since it was beaten 85-83 by Ancilla College back on Jan. 31, when a 10-game winning preceded the trip to Danville.
The Stars did not let the first-round setback slow them down as they bounced back two days later and blew out the Larks of Hesston College 101-84 on March 19.
Five LCC players recorded double-digit points in the contest, led once again by Haines, who poured in a game-high 29 points to go along with eight rebounds. He was 13-for-16 at the charity stripe.
Edmond was not far behind, chipping in 23 points. Freshman Colin Jones was a beast on the boards, snagging a game-high 15 rebounds. Jones also was effective on the offensive end, putting in 22 points.
Lansing came out shooting the lights out as it was nearly good for half its shots from the field (33 for 68). The Stars hit 75 percent (33 for 44) of their free throws, which made up for their almost non-existent impact from downtown (2 for 12).
With the victory in the second-round consolation game the Stars moved on to play March 20 against Olive-Harvey College from Chicago.
A win over Olive-Harley would give Lansing the chance play in the seventh-eighth place game Saturday, March 21 at noon.