Men’s hoop notches win in home finale
With a share of the MCCAA Western Conference Title on the line, the LCC men’s basketball team delivered one of its best games of the year, a 115-87 high flying victory over Muskegon CC Feb. 22 in front of a packed Gannon Gym.
“I’m not going to lie; that was a very good team we just blasted,” LCC Coach Mike Ingram said. “As a coach, it lets us know all the things we are doing and the things that we are saying to the guys.”
Ingram’s departing sophomores were honored before tipoff in front of a “White Out” crowd.
“It was amazing,” LCC sophomore Jimmy Kodet said. “We’ve been going hard all week at each other, getting on each other’s nerves. Doing the score that we did and having the game that we had, it was a great time.”
The victory avenges the No. 4 Stars’ (13-2 MCCAA West, 25-3 overall) 95-81 loss on the road to the Jayhawks Jan. 25, which knocked LCC from the No. 1 spot in the Division II national rankings. The Stars were ranked fourth in the nation as of Feb. 23.
“We had a great half about four games ago and we’ve just carried it on,” Ingram said. “During our 17 game winning-streak we were in first place, it tired the guys out. We lost a couple games we should have won, but I think we’re hitting our stride again.”
The Jayhawks (11-3 MCCAA West, 21-5 overall) relied heavily on their shooting from three-point range (11 of 28) to keep the game tight through most of the first half.
“We haven’t been looking over any opponents,” LCC sophomore Javon Haines said. “We wanted this game so bad and we love to protect our house.”
The Stars went to LCC freshman Isaiah Green (23 points, 14 rebounds) down low early and often. Green frustrated MCC’s defense, earning early foul calls and opening up his teammates for open looks on the perimeter.
LCC stayed disciplined on the defensive side of the ball and did not commit a foul through the game’s first 10 minutes. That helped the Stars to a 58-48 lead at halftime.
“I try to tell the guys that we are the best team in the country when we play defense,” Ingram said. “I was really proud of the guys because they played together on defense and did a heck of a job on offense, too.”
The Stars could do no wrong on either side of the ball. They dominated the boards (45 rebounds), and the back court dished out crisp passes (25 assists). LCC raced out to an 82-52 lead less than halfway through the second half.
“We’re stepping on the gas pedal and never letting off,” Kodet said.
It soon became a 94-54 lead and the Stars began to add some flair to the game. Haines (eight assists) in particular, set up Green and Kodet for a few alley-oop dunks that electrified the crowd and stirred the bench into a celebratory frenzy.
“I’m just happy I went out with my brothers,” Haines said. “Last home game of the regular season, I’m glad I went out with a bang with my brothers.”
The LCC men were scheduled to travel to play Ancilla College on Feb. 24. The game was rescheduled for Feb. 26 due to snowy conditions.
With a victory over Ancilla, LCC would win the MCCAA Western Conference Title out