Laker Athletic News

2019 Laker Volleyball High School Summer Challenge

Posted on May 29, 2019

Lake Land College Volleyball is hosting three high school volleyball tournaments in summer 2019. Open to Varsity and JV teams.

Format: 8 Team Tournament

Morning: Pool Play

Afternoon: Single Elimination Bracket

We are scheduled to host the following dates.  

Dates Available

Saturday July 20

Saturday July 27

$200/team

Please contact Head Volleyball Coach Ashli Wicker for more information and/or to register.

awicker1@lakelandcollege.edu

217-234-5260

 

Mattoon's Gunner Laughhunn signs with Lake Land baseball

Posted on Apr 08, 2019

Patrick Engel, Journal Gazette & Times-Courier

Gunner Laughhunn, at first interested in migrating someplace new, decided to make the Mattoon-to-Lake-Land baseball presence next fall one member larger.

Laughhunn signed with the Lakers Friday morning in front of family and friends in Mattoon’s athletic department office, joining Green Wave teammates Jackson Nichols and Hayden Birdsong as part of Lake Land baseball’s 2019 freshman class.

“I thought I might as well play another two years with them,” Laughhunn said.

The opportunity to join Nichols and Birdsong arose just a few weeks earlier, when Lake Land extended an offer, though Laughhunn took it upon himself to generate interest from college coaches long before. He went to showcases after his junior season, hoping to catch scouts’ eyes. Mattoon coach Jim Schmitz and Laughhunn’s American Legion coach, Stacey Birdsong, reached out to college coaches and mentioned him. They gave their assessment of Laughhunn’s abilities, which Birdsong says were evident in middle school.

“He’s been one of the best athletes in the group,” Birdsong said. “Good arm, good bat, great bat speed. Early on at 10 or 11, he was really good and I think we knew at that time he was going to mature into what we saw now.”

Initially, Laughhunn garnered offers from Wabash Valley College and St. Charles Community College and visited both.

“I was going to see where those led first,” Laughhunn said.

In the end, though, neither offered Laughhunn the familiarity and desired academic track that Lake Land could. He grew open to the idea of staying close to home. He plans to major in criminal justice and found Lake Land’s program appealing. His two teammates were already committed and his mother, Seirra, also works for the school.

Laughhunn committed to Lake Land in March, fulfilling a long-standing goal.

“I’ve always had the aspirations to play,” Laughhunn said. “But the last couple years I’ve been working my butt off to play college baseball.”

A third baseman for Mattoon, Laughhunn isn’t sure what position he will play for Lake Land yet. He played shortstop in Legion ball last summer.

“I definitely think he’s a third baseman with his athleticism,” Birdsong said. “He’s a quick-twitch kid.”

Softball goes 3-1 over weekend

Posted on Apr 08, 2019

Journal Gazette & Times-Courier

Lake Land softball swept a Sunday home doubleheader against Kaskaskia and split a Saturday one against Southeastern Illinois.

On Sunday, Lake Land won 11-1 in five innings and 10-2 in six innings.

In the first game, Allie Helton drove in three runs and scored twice. Frankie Izard went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and scored twice. Peyton DeChant and Rachael Quaritsch scored two runs each.

Abrienne Lee threw five innings to pick up the win. She allowed one run on four hits and struck out six. At the plate, she had three RBIs.

Kali Husman homered and scored twice in the second game. DeChant and Delanie Johnson each collected three hits and three RBI. Johnson hit a pair of doubles. Izard scored twice and had a stolen base.

Braylyn Burdick earned the win, pitching four innings and allowing four hits and two runs.

Lake Land’s Saturday doubleheader with SIC began with a 7-6 loss. The Lakers scored twice in the first inning, but allowed two runs in the sixth and one in the seventh.

Johnson drove in three of Lake Land’s six runs and went 3-for-3. Izard scored twice, went 2-for-4 and stole a base.

The Lakers ended Saturday with a 9-0 win over SIC in 5 innings. Izard had three hits, including a triple, and four RBIs. Lee pitched 5 innings, allowing one walk and one hit. She also scored twice and drew two walks.

Lake Land is 29-13 and travels to SIC for a Monday doubleheader.

Tryouts for the 2019-2020 season!!

Posted on Apr 08, 2019

Laker Cheer tryouts will be held on April 27th, 2019 starting at 9:00am at the Lake Land College Field House. If you have any questions or would like more information, contact Coach Dessie Boeser at dboeser@lakelandcollege.edu or call (217)234-5056 or call/text (217)254-4761.

Fearday signs with Lake Land

Posted on Mar 13, 2019

Effingham Daily News

Effingham High School's Carsyn Fearday signed her national letter of intent to attend and play basketball at Lake Land College in Mattoon, Ill.

According to Fearday, the closeness of Lake Land played a big role in her decision.

"I'm really close with my family," Fearday said. "They mean a lot to me, so that was big."

Fearday is the second member of the Hearts to sign with Lake Land, as teammate Abby Weis will be joining her in the backcourt for the next four years.

"We always talked about, when we were younger, playing college basketball together," Fearday said. "I never really thought it would happen, but it did. Coach Johnson is an awesome coach and I can't wait to play for him."

Fearday proved she could do it all on both ends of the floor, scoring in every way while being quite the physical defender.

Lake Land head coach David Johnson likes the versatility he's seen from Fearday.

"She's a very explosive offensive player," Johnson said. "She can score going to the rim, she's got a great pull-up jump shot and can make the 3-point shot.

"She's all over the place defensively. She can make a steal, she can defensive rebound and just brings a lot of athleticism to the game. Her effort is outstanding. She's going to make plays that are going to win games for teams."

Fearday put up averages of 17 points per game and 5.5 rebounds per game while being named to the All-State First Team.

Charleston's Elizabeth Buescher signs with Lake Land College

Posted on Mar 07, 2019

Patrick Engel, Journal Gazette & Times-Courier

CHARLESTON – Elizabeth Buescher is continuing the Charleston High School to Lake Land College basketball trend, and, well, there wasn’t much doubt in her mind that’s what she was going to do. Instead of wanting to explore a new area like plenty of Mattoon and Charleston athletes do when they choose a college, Buescher pounced on the chance to stay close to home and play for a perennially strong program.

“I’ve thought of Lake Land as where I wanted to play,” Buescher said. “It’s close to home and they’re good.”

The opportunity arose after Buescher and two of her teammates went to an open gym at Lake Land Fieldhouse last July to practice with the team in front of the coaches. Lakers head coach David Johnson, impressed by her play that day, reached out shortly after and expressed initial interest. He later extended an offer.

Charleston coach Jeff Miller was on a boat on a lake in Carbondale when Buescher texted him with the news of the offer. Miller’s thought, which he told her a few weeks later, was that he figured she could get a few other looks if she kept her recruitment open for a few more months and into the season.

Buescher, though, didn’t want to wait around for too long after Johnson gave her the opportunity to play at her desired school. She committed late last summer and signed a letter of intent on Feb. 27 in Charleston’s media center. She plans to start on the pre-physical therapy track. The proximity to home means she can still watch her younger sister, Hannah, play her final two years at Charleston.

“I can stay at home near my family, do what I love to do and play basketball,” Buescher said.

Buescher will slide onto Lake Land’s roster and ensure Johnson has another player from Charleston when Aislinn Parish, Buescher’s high school teammate for two years, graduates this spring.

“I can’t speak fully for Dave, but I think he recruits my girls because they’re tough mentally,” Miller said. “We do a lot of what they do.”

That is, both Charleston and Lake Land are up-tempo teams that run the floor and play aggressive defense. Miller frequently tells his team that its defense and ability to force turnovers leads to transition offense. That’s also a notable ingredient in Lake Land’s play.

“They just fit together well,” Buescher said. “They play defense, run the floor, they’re well-disciplined like us.”

Buescher was a crucial part of Charleston’s defense that held nine opponents to 30 or fewer points this year. Miller estimates she led the team in deflected passes. She was the Trojans’ second-leading rebounder behind forward Bernie Jackson.

“She was invaluable with her length,” Miller said. “She has some quickness. We like to do a lot of trapping, so with her length, we got a lot of deflections and turnovers.”

Offensively, Miller noticed Buescher gain more confidence and willingness to shoot toward the end of her junior season. It peaked Nov. 17 at Paris at the start of her senior season, when she made six 3-pointers. That progress, Miller said, gave him the increased sense Buescher could play beyond high school.

“Once she started shooting the ball better last year,” Miller said, “you could see it coming.”

Lake Land women win sixth straight

Posted on Feb 14, 2019

Journal Gazette & Times-Courier

MATTOON -- The Lake Land women’s basketball team cruised to an 81-40 home victory over Shawnee College Wednesday night.

Five players scored in double figures for the No. 13 Lakers for the first time this season, led by Jamie Sandschaefer’s 15 points.

“Really unselfish play by everyone making the extra pass,” Lake Land coach David Johnson.

Shawnee scored 10 or fewer points in three of four quarters.

The Lakers are 21-5 and 11-3 in the Great Rivers Athletic Conference. They play again Saturday at GRAC leader Wabash Valley College, which is 23-0 this season.

Shawnee dropped to 4-16 and 1-13 in the GRAC.

Lake Land women win fifth straight

Posted on Feb 11, 2019

Mike Estell, Journal Gazette & Times-Courier

MATTOON – The Lake Land women’s basketball team keeps rolling.

The No. 15 Lakers won their fifth straight game Saturday over Rend Lake College, 67-49, in a Great Rivers Athletic Conference meeting.

Avery Jackson led Lake Land with 27 points on 10-of-20 shooting, and Katrina Christian added 13. Zyah Burnett grabbed 12 rebounds.

Makayla Abney paced Rend Lake (3-18, 3-10 GRAC) with 15 points. The Warriors scored just 17 second-half points.

Lake Land moved to 20-5 and 10-3 with the win and remains alone in second place in the GRAC. Its next game is at home Wednesday against Shawnee College (4-15, 1-12 GRAC) at 5:30 p.m.

Lake Land men win

Posted on Feb 11, 2019

Mike Estell, Journal Gazette & Times-Courier

MATTOON – The Lake Land men’s team completed the school’s Saturday sweep of Rend Lake College, picking up a 107-86 win. It was the third time in six games the Lakers topped 100 points.

Adam Price led Lake Land with 25 points and went 3-for-5 on 3-pointers. Jani Griffith scored 17 points, and Denis Alibegovic added 15. Seven players scored in double figures. Ty Waller posted team-highs in rebounds (eight), assists (six) and steals (three). The Lakers shot 50.7 percent from the field and made nine 3-pointers.

Waller, Allante Harper and Scott McGann had 11 points each, while Tromon Weston added 10.

The Lakers assisted on 22 of their 38 field goals and shot 22-for-27 from the free throw line.

Rend Lake stats were not available. The Warriors are now 11-11 and 3-9 in the GRAC.

Lake Land bumped its record to 10-14 and 4-9 in the GRAC. It will host Shawnee College (10-13, 3-10 GRAC) Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.

Abby Weis Signs to Play College Ball at Lake Land

Posted on Jan 25, 2019

Greg Sapp, Effingham Radio

Effingham High School senior Abby Weis Friday signed to continue her basketball career at Lake Land Community College.

Abby, the daughter of Tim Weis and Vanessa Shafer, said she signed with Lake Land to stay close to home for two more years, but said she definitely plans to continue playing at a four-year school after her time with the Lakers. She plans to major in Criminal Justice.

Abby, who became a 1,000-point career scorer earlier this season, said it's the excitement and intensity of basketball that makes it a great sport.

Laker men split during weekend; women's game rescheduled

Posted on Jan 22, 2019

Journal Gazette & Times-Courier

Lake Land men split

GODFREY — Lake Land’s men’s basketball team defeated Lewis & Clark Community College 70-65 Saturday, but lost to Vincennes University 100-61 Sunday.

Allante Harper led the Lakers on Saturday with 23 points. Scott McGann and Josh Brewer also scored in double figures with 14 and 13 points, respectively. Brewer led the team with three steals and three blocks. Tromon Weston grabbed nine rebounds and Hunter White had four assists.

Josh Jefferson led scoring Sunday with 19 points and Tra Landers also broke into double digits with 12 points. Kevin Williams got six rebounds and Sean Kromah had three steals.

Lake Land is now 8-12 and hosts Southwestern for a Great Rivers Athletic Conference game Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

Lake Land women's game rescheduled

MATTOON—Saturday’s Lake Land women’s non-conference basketball game against Illinois Central College has been postponed until Tuesday at 6 p.m.

Laker men split during weekend; women's game rescheduled

Posted on Jan 22, 2019

Journal Gazette & Times-Courier

Lake Land men split

GODFREY — Lake Land’s men’s basketball team defeated Lewis & Clark Community College 70-65 Saturday, but lost to Vincennes University 100-61 Sunday.

Allante Harper led the Lakers on Saturday with 23 points. Scott McGann and Josh Brewer also scored in double figures with 14 and 13 points, respectively. Brewer led the team with three steals and three blocks. Tromon Weston grabbed nine rebounds and Hunter White had four assists.

Josh Jefferson led scoring Sunday with 19 points and Tra Landers also broke into double digits with 12 points. Kevin Williams got six rebounds and Sean Kromah had three steals.

Lake Land is now 8-12 and hosts Southwestern for a Great Rivers Athletic Conference game Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

Lake Land women's game rescheduled

MATTOON—Saturday’s Lake Land women’s non-conference basketball game against Illinois Central College has been postponed until Tuesday at 6 p.m.

Lake Land teams sweep Southeastern in home DH

Posted on Jan 17, 2019

Journal Gazette & Times-Courier

Lake Land men win GRAC game

MATTOON — Lake Land defeated Great Rivers Athletic Conference foe Southeastern College 87-74 Wednesday in its first conference win this season.

Six Lakers scored in double figures: Denis Alibegovic led the team with 13 points, Allante Harper had 12 while Josh Brewer, Ty Waller, Hunter White and Tromon Weston each added 10 points.

Lake Land improves to 6-11 overall, 1-8 in the conference and travels to Godfrey to play a non-conference game against Lewis and Clark Community College at 3 p.m. Saturday.

Lake Land women win

MATTOON — Lake Land defeated Southeastern College 67-52 Wednesday in a Great Rivers Athletic Conference game.

Mattoon alumnus Avery Jackson led the Lady Lakers with 20 points. Katrina Christian and Jamie Sandschafer also scored in double figures with 10 points each.

“Southeastern had an eight game winning streak coming into tonight and I thought we did a great job defensively,” said Lake Land coach Dave Johnson. “A young lady who had 37 points in her last game was held to 12 points with Aislinn Parrish and Arie Sims guarding her.”

Lake Land improves to 15-4 overall, 5-3 in the conference and hosts Illinois Central for a non-conference game at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Lake Land teams sweep Southeastern in home DH

Posted on Jan 17, 2019

Journal Gazette & Times-Courier

Lake Land men win GRAC game

MATTOON — Lake Land defeated Great Rivers Athletic Conference foe Southeastern College 87-74 Wednesday in its first conference win this season.

Six Lakers scored in double figures: Denis Alibegovic led the team with 13 points, Allante Harper had 12 while Josh Brewer, Ty Waller, Hunter White and Tromon Weston each added 10 points.

Lake Land improves to 6-11 overall, 1-8 in the conference and travels to Godfrey to play a non-conference game against Lewis and Clark Community College at 3 p.m. Saturday.

Lake Land women win

MATTOON — Lake Land defeated Southeastern College 67-52 Wednesday in a Great Rivers Athletic Conference game.

Mattoon alumnus Avery Jackson led the Lady Lakers with 20 points. Katrina Christian and Jamie Sandschafer also scored in double figures with 10 points each.

“Southeastern had an eight game winning streak coming into tonight and I thought we did a great job defensively,” said Lake Land coach Dave Johnson. “A young lady who had 37 points in her last game was held to 12 points with Aislinn Parrish and Arie Sims guarding her.”

Lake Land improves to 15-4 overall, 5-3 in the conference and hosts Illinois Central for a non-conference game at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Avery Jackson scores 1,000th point as Lake Land women's basketball falls to Wabash Valley

Posted on Jan 10, 2019

PATRICK ENGEL, Journal Gazette & Times-Courier

MATTOON – Avery Jackson nearly engineered a comeback by herself, and in the process, reached a career milestone.

Jackson, a sophomore guard from Mattoon, accumulated 1,000 career points with a 32-point outing Wednesday night.

It wasn’t, though, enough for a win.

Lake Land (14-3 4-2 GRAC) failed to score a field goal in the final 4:19 and lost 74-67 to undefeated Wabash Valley on Wednesday night in a meeting of top-15 teams in their respective divisions. Wabash Valley, ranked No. 6 in the NJCAA Division I poll, shot 50 percent (8-for-16) from 3-point range. The Warriors’ 74 points was more than 30 below their usual output.

“I’m going to say our defense was pretty good today, because they average 106 points per game,” Lake Land coach David Johnson said. “The big thing for us was to have good offense, because if we did, we were going to take away a lot of their transition chances and quality shots.”

The Lakers, who entered the night ranked No. 11 in the Division II poll, had their 11-game win streak snapped. They trailed for most of the game, though they mounted a six-point lead with 2:53 left in the first half. Jackson was the catalyst of that spurt, too.

Lake Land pulled within two, 41-39, early in the third quarter, but a 6-0 Wabash Valley run squashed any momentum. Smacked right in the middle of it was a technical foul on Lake Land assistant J.R. Hodges.

Jackson’s 1,000th point came on a 3-point play with a little more than six minutes left in the game. She made a fallaway layup, drew contact and sank the free throw for the milestone. She became the third player to reach 1,000 points in Johnson’s 21 years as head coach, joining Kris and Kendy Lindsey.

The 3-point play was part of Jackson’s effort that helped Lake Land take a momentary one-point lead in the fourth quarter. She didn’t score or have the assist on the go-ahead basket – a Jamie Sandschaefer 3-pointer – but she started the transition opportunity that led to it with a defensive rebound.

“She wants to improve herself in all aspects of the game, and she’s done that,” Johnson said. “She studies the game, understands the game, she’s ahead of the game. And she’s highly skilled off the dribble.”

Jackson helped steady the incongruous offense and wipe out an eight-point deficit after the first quarter. She scored 17 of her points in the first half as Lake Land staked claim to a brief 35-29 lead. It vanished, though, into a 38-36 Wabash Valley advantage at halftime.

Lake Land women win, men lose

Posted on Jan 07, 2019

Journal Gazette & Times-Courier

QUINCY — The Lake Land women's basketball team won its 11th straight game using strong second and third quarters in a 62-56 victory over John Wood Community College Saturday in a Region 24 game. 

The Lake Land men were outscored by the Trail Blazers by 10 in the second half in a 94-84 loss. 

Lake Land women

Lake Land outscored John Wood 38-18 in the middle two quarters to help them to the 6-point win as they improved to 14-2. 

"We played well in the second and third quarters," said Lake land coach Dave Johnson. "In the first and fourth quarters, we were bad. Luckily we played well enough to build up a big lead. We played poorly both offensively and defensively in the first and fourth quarters."

Mattoon graduate Avery Jackson led the Lakers with 21 points, while Katrina Christian had 15. Zyah Burnett was tops in rebounds with 11, while Arie Sims and Charleston grad Aislinn Parish had four assists each. Christian and Burnett made five of six free throws to seal the win. 

"It was a good win against a team that is 9-6 and an important one as we got a half point in the region for winning on the road," said Johnson. "We have one more to go against Illinois Central College on Jan. 19."

The Lady Lakers, the No. 13 team in the nation in the NJCAA Division II, is to play host to Wabash Valley, the No. 7 team in the NJCAA Division I at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. Wabash has not played since Dec. 12 and is 13-0 overall and 5-0 in the Great Rivers Athletic Conference. The Lady Lakers are 4-1 in the GRAC. 

Lake Land men

In the first game of the 2019 portion of the schedule at the Student Activities Center, Lake Land and John Wood were tied at 47 at the half. The Lakers trailed 75-62 with 7:33 left in the game and battled back to within two, 82-80, on a steal and layup by Ty Waller with 1:52 left.  The Trail Blazers outscored the Lakers 12-4 down the stretch, including making 11-of-12 free throws in the final 40.4 seconds. 

Waller came off the bench to lead the Lakers with 18 points, while Denis Alibegovic had 14, Josh Brewer 13 and Tromon Weston 10 for the 4-9 Lakers. Weston, a 6-8 sophomore, finished with a double-double with 15 rebounds. Tra Landers was tops in assists with four. 

Lake Land, 0-5 in the Great Rivers Athletic Conference, tries to snap a three-game losing streak as it is to play host to Wabash Valley, a team that is 8-4 overall and 4-1 in the GRAC at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. 

Lake Land women win, men lose

Posted on Jan 07, 2019

Journal Gazette & Times-Courier

QUINCY — The Lake Land women's basketball team won its 11th straight game using strong second and third quarters in a 62-56 victory over John Wood Community College Saturday in a Region 24 game. 

The Lake Land men were outscored by the Trail Blazers by 10 in the second half in a 94-84 loss. 

Lake Land women

Lake Land outscored John Wood 38-18 in the middle two quarters to help them to the 6-point win as they improved to 14-2. 

"We played well in the second and third quarters," said Lake land coach Dave Johnson. "In the first and fourth quarters, we were bad. Luckily we played well enough to build up a big lead. We played poorly both offensively and defensively in the first and fourth quarters."

Mattoon graduate Avery Jackson led the Lakers with 21 points, while Katrina Christian had 15. Zyah Burnett was tops in rebounds with 11, while Arie Sims and Charleston grad Aislinn Parish had four assists each. Christian and Burnett made five of six free throws to seal the win. 

"It was a good win against a team that is 9-6 and an important one as we got a half point in the region for winning on the road," said Johnson. "We have one more to go against Illinois Central College on Jan. 19."

The Lady Lakers, the No. 13 team in the nation in the NJCAA Division II, is to play host to Wabash Valley, the No. 7 team in the NJCAA Division I at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. Wabash has not played since Dec. 12 and is 13-0 overall and 5-0 in the Great Rivers Athletic Conference. The Lady Lakers are 4-1 in the GRAC. 

Lake Land men

In the first game of the 2019 portion of the schedule at the Student Activities Center, Lake Land and John Wood were tied at 47 at the half. The Lakers trailed 75-62 with 7:33 left in the game and battled back to within two, 82-80, on a steal and layup by Ty Waller with 1:52 left.  The Trail Blazers outscored the Lakers 12-4 down the stretch, including making 11-of-12 free throws in the final 40.4 seconds. 

Waller came off the bench to lead the Lakers with 18 points, while Denis Alibegovic had 14, Josh Brewer 13 and Tromon Weston 10 for the 4-9 Lakers. Weston, a 6-8 sophomore, finished with a double-double with 15 rebounds. Tra Landers was tops in assists with four. 

Lake Land, 0-5 in the Great Rivers Athletic Conference, tries to snap a three-game losing streak as it is to play host to Wabash Valley, a team that is 8-4 overall and 4-1 in the GRAC at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. 

St. Louis Cardinals Coming to Lake Land College

Posted on Dec 11, 2018

Lake Land College Athletics and Mattoon High School Baseball are sponsoring the St. Louis Cardinal Caravan on Sunday, January 20 at 12:00 p.m.

The event will be held at the Lake Land College Field House. Doors open at 11:00 a.m. There is no preferred seating. Tickets can be purchased at the Laker Athletics office in the Field House or at Washington Savings Bank.

The Laker Athletics office will be open Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. through December 21, and January 2 and 3. On Friday, January 4 the office will reopen from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Monday – Friday, thereafter, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The cost of the ticket is $10 and includes a hot dog, chips and drink. Tickets will also be available for purchase at the door.

According to the Cardinals Caravan website, the first 400 children, 15 and under, through the door on the day of the event will receive a free autograph ticket which guarantees one autograph from each current and former player. Due to high demand, autographs will only be available for fans 15 and under. All attendees have a chance to talk baseball with current players, alumni and broadcasters. Attending players for the Mattoon stop will be announced closer to the event date.

The 2019 Cardinal Caravan is presented by Missouri Farm Bureau Insurance and is sponsored by Lake Land College Athletics and Mattoon High School Baseball. For more information, visit mlb.com/cardinals/community/caravan or contact Wrobria Roberts, administrative assistant to field house operations, at 217-234-5333 or at wroberts52500@lakelandcollege.edu.

26-0 run helps Lady Lakers top Rend Lake

Posted on Dec 10, 2018

Journal Gazette & Times-Courier

The Lake Land women's basketball team trailed Rend Lake Sunday in a Great Rivers Athletic Conference game, 24-13 with just under five minutes left in the half. 

That is when Lady Lakers coach Dave Johnson called a timeout and Lake Land outscored Rend Lake 26-0 to take a 39-24 lead at the half. The Lady Lakers went on to win 94-69. 

"We struggled offensively early and I think that affected our defense as we were giving up open shots," said Johnson. "We pressured them a little bit and got our transition game going and changed the pace of the game and his some shots in the last minutes of the second quarter."

Jamie Sandschafer and Mattoon graduate Avery Jackson led the way with 23 points each for Lake Land, while Katrina Christian was also in double digits with 16 points. Arie Sims and Charleston graduate Aislinn Parish had six assists each, while Parrish also led in rebounds with six, and Sandschafer had four steals. 

"To have your point guard and another combine for 12 assists that is really a positive for us," said Johnson. 

Lake Land improved to 9-2 overall and 3-1 in the GRAC. 

"Jackson and Sandschafer scored very well today," said Johnson. "The 94 points is a team-high and it was the second time those two had over 20 points each. Katrina Christian played really well for us."

The Lady Lakers are to travel to Ulin Dec. 15 for a GRAC game against Shawnee Community College. 

Lake Land upsets No. 8 Lincoln Land

Posted on Dec 06, 2018

Justin Rust, Journal Gazette & Times-Courier

After leading the No. 8 team in NJCAA Division I for most of the game, the Lake Land women’s basketball team saw its upset bid against Lincoln Land slipping away in the fourth quarter.

A 13-2 run by the Loggers gave Lincoln Land its first lead of the game with 2:17 remaining.

The Lady Lakers didn’t panic. Instead of settling for a three, the Lady Lakers got a bucket from Avery Jackson to end Lincoln Land’s run.

Then Lake Land’s defense, after allowing the Loggers to get a few too many good looks, started to get in the right positions again. The Lady Lakers forced four turnovers and didn’t allow the Loggers to score in the final two minutes in the game.

That allowed Lake Land to take the lead on Katrina Christian’s layup and two free throws by Aislinn Parish, after she got a key steal, iced the game for the Lady Lakers as they knocked off No. 8 Lincoln Land 72-69 on Wednesday at Laker Fieldhouse.

Lake Land, which was receiving votes in the NJCAA Division II poll, improves to 3-0 in Region 24 and 8-2 overall. It was the first loss for Lincoln Land, which is 8-1 on the season now.

Lake Land coach Dave Johnson said relying on the sophomore leadership has helped the team not panic when Lake Land lost the lead late.

“This means a lot. It shows that we have maturity and experience on our team. The sophomores, all of them - Avery, Aislinn, Haley (Gregg), Jamie (Sandschafer), (Zyah Burnett), Gabby (Staub) - are really mentally strong,” Johnson said. “We understand there are going to be some runs in the game. They are doing a good job of not panicking. I give our players all of the credit. You can’t get overwhelmed by the game and they do a good job of not being overwhelmed. It’s a great win.”

Lincoln Land struggled against Lake Land’s defense until the end of the third quarter when the Loggers got a couple of buckets. Then Lincoln Land was able to get the ball inside and broke down Lake Land’s defense. The Loggers scored 22 points in the fourth quarter.

Then with about two minutes left in the game, Johnson brought in Sandschafer, who did a good job guarding 5’10" Lincoln Land forward Katryel Clark. That helped Lake Land force a few turnovers late.

“I thought we were passive defensively in the fourth quarter and let them get deep on penetration. We didn’t play to the tendencies that we knew with them. Give (Clark) credit, she played well,” Johnson said. “We took an offensive foul and that girl was aggressive all night and we took the foul and that helped. Jamie gave us the flexibility to open up the court and make them guard us more and that got us a couple of layups.”

Lake Land led for all three quarters. A couple of three-pointers by Lincoln Land got the Loggers within three at 56-53 right away in the fourth quarter when an 8-3 run put Lake Land back up by eight.

Lincoln Land then went on a 13-2 run to go up 69-66 with 2:17 remaining.

That’s when Arie Sims found Jackson down low for a basket to make it a one-point game. Jackson scored 25 points in the game. Before Jackson’s basket, the Lady Lakers were struggling to get good looks.

“The biggest thing is we can’t just shoot the three when we are down three. We have to get a good basket,” Johnson said. “The girls do a good job on the quarter of communicating on the court with each other and are able to at things and be productive. The difference at the end is we were able to stay in some stuff offensively that worked for us. We got away from that in the first part of the fourth quarter.”

Lake Land almost took the lead with a minute left when Christian, who scored 15 points, went strong to the basket. The shot went in but she was called for a charge. That didn’t stop Christian from being aggressive and after a Lincoln Land turnover, she went strong to the hoop again and made a layup to put Lake Land up 70-69 with 35 seconds remaining.

“I told her not to worry about it. It’s a 50/50 call. Don’t worry about that, just be strong as you go,” Johnson said. “Then we got a matchup the next time and got what we wanted and it worked.”

Lincoln Land turned the ball over again but then the Loggers forced a turnover. A few seconds later, Parish jumped in front of a pass to get a steal. She was accidentally tripped and went to the ground hard on the foul.

Despite the hard fall, Parish got up and made both free throws to put Lake Land up 72-69 with 10 seconds remaining.

“That was a great play and then she took a hard foul on the fall and makes both free throws. Toughness doesn’t come in size,” Johnson said. “I have some small guards but they are all pretty tough kids. I had all of the faith in the world to make both free throws.”

Lincoln Land’s three-point attempt to tie was off. Clark got the rebound but her attempt rolled out, giving Lake Land the 72-69 win over the No. 8 team in D-I.

Lake Land men put together better effort in win

Posted on Dec 06, 2018

Justin Rust, Journal Gazette & Times-Courier

Lake Land men’s basketball coach Brandon Colvin feels his team is right on the cusp of turning the corner. At times he really likes what he sees. Other times he doesn’t see the necessary effort the team needs to turn that corner.

It was the same story during Wednesday’s game at Laker Fieldhouse against Lincoln Land. The Lakers had a lackluster start to the game and Colvin went with a full hockey change - substituting all five of his players out at the same time.

After about 10 minutes, the Lakers started to find their footing and that led to a 33-17 finish to the first half for a double-digit lead.

Lake Land stretched out the lead in the second half and defeated Lincoln Land 93-77. The Lakers improved to 3-6 overall and Lincoln Land fell to 0-7 on the season.

Colvin was happy with the win but still feels the team has to get closer to putting together a full 40 minutes. He felt the team put together 30 good minutes instead of a full 40 minutes.

“We’ve been battling consistency all year. If we ever put 40 minutes together, we will be dangerous,” Colvin said. “We seem to be stuck at one level and they aren’t going up or down. But it’s just not being consistent. That’s something I have to figure out.”

Defensively, Wednesday’s game was an improvement for the Lakers, who gave up 221 combined points in their last two games. Lincoln Land didn’t crack 80 points.

“We were better. That last five minutes disappointed me. When we went zone, we didn’t get out on shooters, guys didn’t move,” Colvin said. “That’s on me. I have to control that a little better. If we ever figure it out offensive and defensively and are consistent, we are going to be dangerous. I keep preaching it to the guys but it’s on me to get it to catch on.”

Lake Land was down 13-10 and after a timeout, the Lakers went up 19-15. Then Denis Alibegovic started to make plenty of shots to help Lake Land go up 30-22. Alibegovic scored 21 points in the first half. He hit seven three-pointers and finished with 26 points.

“He needed that to get the confidence up and hopefully that’s something that gets him going for the rest of the year,” Colvin said.

A Hunter White steal and dunk put Lake Land up by 10 points. A Tra Landers three-pointer at the buzzer gave Lake Land a 43-30 lead going into halftime.

Lake Land continued to stretch the lead in the second half and they were up 53-34 with about 15 minutes left in the game.

Colvin liked that the team was able to continue its strong play in the second half.

“We took the momentum from the first half and carried it over and looked really good,” Colvin said. “I thought the guys for the most part in the second half did a good job but we had a little bit of a letdown and that’s something we have to avoid against better teams.”

Josh Brewer added 19 points in the win for Lake Land.

Lake Land women beat Kaskaskia

Posted on Dec 04, 2018

Journal Gazette & Times-Courier

Kaskaskia College was able to dictate the pace in the first quarter against the Lake Land women's basketball team on Saturday. The slow pace helped give Kaskaskia a 9-7 lead.

Lake Land dictated the pace in the second quarter, pressing Kaskaskia and playing at a faster tempo. That led to Lake Land outscoring Kaskaskia 25-9 in the second quarter and taking a 32-18 halftime lead. Lake Land then held Kaskaskia to 18 points in the second half, and the Lady Lakers won their fourth straight game with a 61-36 victory over Kaskaskia.

"We played well in the second quarter after a very subpar first quarter. We let them dictate everything in the first quarter, and then in the second quarter, we pressured them and got out better offensively," Lake Land coach Dave Johnson said. "The third quarter we got back to letting them dictate the pace of the game. Sometimes we were too lax in just keeping the tempo where we want it."

Lake Land improved to 7-2 overall and 2-1 in the Great Rivers Athletic Conference. The Lady Lakers host Lincoln Land, which is 8-0, in a key Region 24 home game at 5 p.m. at Laker Fieldhouse.

"We have to improve because we have a big game on Wednesday night because Lincoln Land comes in at 8-0," Johnson said. "It's a big Region game."

Avery Jackson led Lake Land with 15 points. Katrina Christian followed with 13 points and Haley Gregg added 12 points. Jackson dished out four assists. Zyah Burnett grabbed 10 rebounds, and Jamie Sandschafer had seven rebounds.

Lake Land men can't slow down Kaskaskia

Posted on Dec 04, 2018

Journal Gazette & Times-Courier

The Lake Land men's basketball team put up 47 points in each half against Kaskaskia on Saturday. But the Lakers couldn't get enough stops on the other end as Kaskaskia shot 61.3 percent in the game and made 22 free throws. Kaskaskia beat Lake Land 104-94.

Lake Land fell to 2-6 on the season and 0-3 in the Great Rivers Athletic Conference. Lake Land hosts Lincoln Land at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Kaskaskia is 10-1 on the season.

Josh Brewer and Allante Harper each had 15 points off the bench. Brewer grabbed a team-high nine rebounds. Adam Price scored 13 points and was 9-of-10 from the free-throw line. Scott McGann and Jani Griffith each had 11 points for Lake Land. Hunter White had 9 points and six rebounds.

Lake Land women win

Posted on Nov 29, 2018

Journal Gazette & Times-Courier

Lake Land defeated Danville Area Community College 77-32 Monday in non-conference action.

Mattoon graduate Avery Jackson led the Lady Lakers with 19 points. Haley Gregg and Jamie Sandschaefer also scored in double figures with 12 and 10 points, respectively.

“Great first half,” said Lake Land coach Dave Johnson. “Moved the ball, had 10 players score. Shot the ball well.”

Lake Land hosts Kaskaskia College for a Great Rivers Athletic Conference game Saturday at 3 p.m.

Lake Land men lose

Posted on Nov 29, 2018

Journal Gazette & Times-Courier

VINCENNES, Ind.—Vincennes University beat Lake Land 117-61 Monday in a non-conference game.

Lake Land falls to 2-5 and hosts Kaskaskia for a Great Rivers Athletic Conference game Saturday at 5 p.m.

Lakers comeback falls short

Posted on Nov 27, 2018

Journal Gazette & Times-Courier

The Lake Land men's basketball team dug itself a big hole in the first half, falling behind by 19 points. At one point in the second half, Lake Land cut Olney Central's lead to 1 point and was down by only 3 points with 30 seconds left.

But Olney Central held on to win 95-87 on Tuesday as Lake Land fell to 1-3 overall and 0-2 in the Great Rivers Athletic Conference.

"We came out sloppy in the first half and not solid defensively. We gave up too many open looks. I told the guys we need to cut the lead by four every five minutes and they responded," Lake Land coach Brandon Colvin said. "Us getting back into the game was 100 percent due to my kids' effort and their ability to not give up. I told them if we can put 40 minutes together, we will be as dangerous as anyone in the league."

Adam Price scored 19 points off the bench; Allante Harper had 14 points; and Josh Brewer scored 10 points, had eight rebounds and had three steals. Tra Landers had six points, six assists, five rebounds, two steals and two blocks.

Lake Land men split two games in tourney

Posted on Nov 27, 2018

Mike Monahan - Journal Gazette & Times-Courier

WEST BURLINGTON, IOWA -- The Lake Land men's basketball team won one and lost one in the Fun City Classic Saturday beating Ellsworth Community College 82-73, snapping a four-game losing streak. 

The Lakers lost to Danville Area Community College 83-76 last Friday. In the loss, Scott McGann led Lake Land with 17 points, while Denis Alibegovic was also in double digits with 12 points. Tromon Weston led the Lakers in rebounds with nine, while Tra Landers had five assists. Free throws hurt Lake Land, who led 43-37 at the half, as they were just 13-of-22 (59 percent).

Information on the Ellsworth game was unavailable at press time. 

Lake Land, 2-4, is to travel to Vincennes University for a 6 p.m. (Central) non-conference game. 

Mattoon's Nichols, Birdsong sign with Lake Land baseball

Posted on Nov 27, 2018

Justin Rust, Journal Gazette & Times-Courier

Jackson Nichols and Hayden Birdsong will be teammates for at least the next two years after they graduate in the spring.

On Monday, the two Mattoon High School baseball players decided to stay in the area as both of them signed with the Lake Land College baseball team. Nichols and Birdsong were excited to continue their careers in the hometown.

"I was very excited to finally get done with the stress of deciding where I was going to go. Lake Land was the first college to offer me and I like staying home and I think I can compete in this league," Nichols said. "It was fun signing with Hayden. He's one of my better friends playing baseball so it is cool that we can go to the same school."

Lake Land offered Nichols toward the end of his junior season. Nichols was also considering Eastern Illinois and SIU Edwardsville. The chance to play right away for Lake Land was a key factor for Nichols.

"(EIU and SIUE) offered me redshirts and I wanted to compete that first year and didn't want to go and sit on the bench," Nichols said. "I thought coming here for a year or two, I could come in and compete."

Birdsong said it was a lot of fun to sign with Lake Land. Birdsong was also considering Quincy University and Danville Area Community College.

"It's close to home and I can go home every night after practice. It's a good program and hopefully, I prosper in it. I've always wanted to go to college for baseball and it helps that I am going here because I can get two years out of the way and it's a great program," Birdsong said. "It's very fun to sign with Jackson and going there with him because I am used to playing with him."

Lake Land head coach Bill Jackson is excited to add two quality starters to his program who are right in the program's backyard.

"They both have huge upside. When we were looking at it, these are two of the best arms in the area and that's where our recruiting starts, right here in the area," Jackson said. "Both of them have a lot of upside and we expect huge velocity jumps with them the next two years."

Former Mattoon baseball coach Mark Jackley, who is now at Cumberland after retiring at Mattoon, thinks Lake Land is getting two quality arms.

"Both of those guys have a lot of upside and the disappointing part of me retiring last year is knowing we have a good pitching staff coming back with those two and Jacob Spitz," Jackley said. "Those two are not only great baseball players but great individuals. They are great students and work hard and that's what is exciting for me to watch them play at Lake Land is to see their improvement because they are the kind of kids that are going to get better."

Mattoon Post 88 Senior Legion coach Stacey Birdsong, who is also Hayden's father, said it was fun to see both players realize their dreams as they signed with Lake Land.

"It's a great event and what you dream about when you are young. You get to see them and be a dad and friend and watch them do that. It will be great to see," Stacey Birdsong said. "Congrats to both of them. They have done the work and still have work to do. It's great to see a couple of Mattoon kids at Lake Land. They have to do a good job and set the tone for everyone else. I am proud and happy for them both."

Mattoon baseball coach Jimmy Schmitz said having two players sign show the good job Jackley and Stacey Birdsong have done with the players in the high school and Senior Legion program.

"It's really good for the program and it shows what Mark and Stacey have done. I am just coming in now. I am glad, this is what we need, having local colleges see the talent we have here," Schmitz said. "A lot of it has to do with what Mark and Stacey have done. It says that they have done it the right way and that's a good sign."

Nichols thinks he can have a good impact at Lake Land right away but also knows he can develop more as a pitcher.

"I think we both can do very well and help turn Lake Land's record around. Hopefully, we can make a positive impact," Nichols said. "I think I have more room to grow. Me and Hayden both, we aren't overpowering but we can change that and throw faster."

Birdsong thinks he can jump into the rotation and he knows he has room to grow as a pitcher yet.

"I should make a big impact. I should be one of the better pitchers on that team I hope. It should be a lot of fun," Birdsong said. "I can get bigger and stronger and throw harder I hope."

Lake Land pitching coach Zach Stuart said both pitchers have the potential to add velocity and develop another pitch.

"It's 1A and 1B with them. Hopefully, that will translate to us at Lake Land," Stuart said. "Jackson has a little more velocity and his big second pitch is a slider and hopefully we can develop another one. For Hayden, it's just a little bit of growing and maturing and once he captures that, the sky is the limit for both of them."

Mattoon's McDowell signs with Lake Land softball

Posted on Nov 27, 2018

Justin Rust, Journal Gazette & Times-Courier

Grace McDowell doesn’t like being that far away from home. She’s also a standout softball player for Mattoon High School who has a bat that is college ready.

Luckily for McDowell, there is a pretty good softball program right in her hometown - Lake Land College. McDowell was interested in Lake Land and there was mutual interest from Lady Lakers softball coach Nic Nelson.

After looking at a few other programs, McDowell chose to stay at home and on Tuesday she signed her National Letter of Intent to play for the Lake Land softball team.

“I am very excited. I think it’s going to be a great opportunity to be able to play with a great program and have a great coach with Nic,” McDowell said. “Lake Land felt more at home (than the other choices). It is home. It will be nice. I don’t like to be away from home at all. It’s definitely going to be easier.”

McDowell also looked at Olney Central College, Frontier College and St. Ambrose University.

McDowell will be joining a program that has had plenty of success in Nelson’s nine seasons as the head coach. They’ve made it to the NJCAA Division I National Tournament seven times and qualified for the tournament the last three seasons.

“It will be a lot of fun and a lot of hard work and dedication,” McDowell said. “You have to have the right mindset going into it and I think I am ready.”

McDowell is the second Mattoon softball player to sign with Lake Land since head coach Hannah Dow took over the program two years ago. Abe Lee signed over the summer. Dow was the first player Nelson signed when he was the head coach at Heartland Community College. Nelson and Dow’s mothers grew up together and Nelson and Dow’s fathers graduated high school together.

Nelson is excited to add a player of McDowell’s caliber to the roster and feels she can jump right in and compete for the third base spot next fall.

“Just the talent she’s going to bring to the team. We really think she’s going to jump right in and be an impact player for us next year,” Nelson said. “We like her role at third base and we think that’s the role she can fill at Lake Land. The number one thing we like about Grace is her competitiveness. When you watch her play, her desire to win and you don’t see that in many kids. We are pretty excited about getting her on the roster.”

Nelson thinks McDowell’s hitting will be a key asset for the team next fall.

“She could compete with us right now. I believe she’s that much of a talent. The bats were something we struggled with last year which is not something that’s typically our problem. This year’s class, the bats were the most important thing to me,” Nelson said. “I am looking for on-base percentage. She plays a role with that.”

McDowell thinks she can have a nice impact in college with Lake Land. McDowell batted .382 last season and hit five home runs.

“I feel like I am going to come in and have a competitive edge and I am going to be able to compete. I want (the third base spot) really bad. I think if I work hard enough, I can take it,” McDowell said. “I feel like if I continue to put in the work, I will be ready.”

Lady Lakers beat Lewis & Clark

Posted on Nov 27, 2018

Journal Gazette & Times-Courier

The Lake Land women's basketball team trailed by 2 points after the first quarter until the Lady Lakers outscored Lewis & Clark by 10 points in the second. Lake Land put together a 44-point second half to pull away from Lewis & Clark for an 83-60 win on Saturday.

Lake Land improved to 4-2 overall and 1-0 in Region 24.

Avery Jackson just missed a triple-double in the win with 26 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists. Haley Gregg and Jaycie Roy each scored 14 points, and Aislinn Parish had 13 points, three assists and three steals. Arie Sims had six points, five rebounds and five assists. Zyah Burnett had eight rebounds. Gabby Staub had seven rebounds and three steals.

Lake Land's next game is Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at home against Olney Central College.

Lake Land women beat OCC

Posted on Nov 27, 2018

Journal Gazette & Times-Courier

Lady Lakers get out to good lead early

The Lake Land women's basketball team jumped out to a 24-13 lead against Olney Central College on Tuesday in the first quarter. By halftime, Lake Land had a 48-29 lead.

While Lake Land was held to a 12-point third quarter but still had a big enough lead and went on beat OCC 81-67. The Lady Lakers improved to 5-2 overall and 1-1 in the Great Rivers Athletic Conference.

Avery Jackson led Lake Land with 26 points. Katrina Christian had 19 points off the bench. Zyah Burnett and Gabby Staub each had six rebounds. Aislinn Parish had nine points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals.

Lake Land plays Wednesday at home against Danville Area Community College at 5:30 p.m.

Lake Land women go 1-1 in tourney

Posted on Nov 12, 2018

Journal Gazette & Times-Courier

The Lake Land women's basketball team went 1-1 in the Triton College Tournament Friday and Saturday. The Lady Lakers beat the host school 69-53 in a game that ended after deadline Friday. Saturday Lake Land fell to Moraine Valley Community College 76-74 in the championship. 

In Saturday's game, it came down to a last-second 3-point attempt that rolled on the rim and fell out. 

"We called a time-out with five seconds left and got the ball up the court," said Lake Land coach Dave Johnson. "The ball went to Avery Jackson, who was double-teamed, and she got the ball to Ariel Sims and she had a good look and it just rimmed out."

Moraine Valley was hot from 3-point territory, sinking 14-of-26 (.538).

"They did a good job of spreading out their offense and they have multiple players that can shoot the 3," said Johnson. "I thought they stretched us out well defensively. Their big kids could shoot 3s, and that caused us some problems."

Lake Land was 8-of-25 from beyond the 3-point line, but just 2-of-10 in the second half. 

"We didn't shoot the ball in the fourth as well as we had earlier," said Johnson. "I think that was the difference. They are a very good team offensively and we needed to score with them to stay in the game."

Jackson, a Mattoon graduate, had a team-high 21 points, while Sims had 19 points and a team-high six assists. Haley Gregg had 12 points, and Katrina Christian had 10 points and led the squad in rebounds with six. 

In Friday's game, the second quarter was the difference as the Lady Lakers outscored Triton 25-8. 

"We played well on both ends of the court in the second quarter and moved the ball well," said Johnson. "Defensively, we figured out what they were doing and were able to do a better job defensively. In the second half, they made adjustments and they played a solid second half. We struggled shooting, and I think that is what allowed them to cut into the lead (Lake Land led 40-19 at the half) a little bit."

Gregg led with 18 points, while Jackson had 14 and Liberty Jamison 11. Zyah Burnett led in rebounds with 11, while Sims and Jamison had three assists each. 

"Gregg shot the ball really well and Jackson went to the basket well and Jamison shot the three really well," said Johnson. 

Lake Land, 3-1, is to open play in the Great Rivers Athletic Conference Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at Lincoln Trail in Robinson.

Lakers score 119 in season-opener

Posted on Nov 08, 2018

Justin Rust, Journal Gazette & Times-Courier

The new-look Lake Land men’s basketball team was on display for the first time this season when the Lakers hosted Lindenwood’s junior varsity team.

Gone from last season’s 17-14 team are Lake Land’s top six scorers and its top six rebounders. Lake Land coach Brandon Colvin does have some returners back and he brought in eight freshmen to round out the roster.

The first game against Lindenwood showed Lake Land has a good nucleus to work with. A run early in the first half helped separate the Lakers from Lindenwood and Lake Land went on to win the game 119-81.

Colvin said it was good to get a game like this in early on in the season.

“It was good to get everybody in and out and give everyone a chance to play. Games like this, that’s the whole goal, give everyone a chance to play and get them in and out,” Colvin said. “My whole thing was there were times in the second half that we let up defensively. That’s something you don’t want when you play all of the guys. It was a good start and I thought some guys played well.”

Colvin wants a full 40-minutes of effort on the defensive end because he knows that’s how the team is going to win games since the Lakers have to replace so much offense.

“My biggest thing was defense. Defensively, we are quicker than last year and we shouldn’t be beaten like we were,” Colvin said. “Defensive rebounding wise, they were getting north and south on us. I thought we did a great job the first 10 minutes of the second half. We held them to 12 points and were defending and then guys got bored, jogging through cuts and then (Lindenwood) hit some three’s and it’s a 20-point game again. Those lulls against better teams will defeat us.

“This team can be as good defensively as they want, but they have to want it and want it for 40 minutes. This group is a high IQ group and they do work hard.”

The Lakers won’t be lacking offensively, though. Lake Land shot 71.4 percent in the win (45-of-63) and five players finished in double figures. Scott McGann led Lake Land with 19 points, Allante Harper and Hunter White each scored 14 points, Charleston graduate Darrell Phillips had 12 points and Tromon Weston scored 10 points.

McGann added seven rebounds and he hit two three-pointers. Colvin likes the work McGann put in during the offseason.

“Scott played well and he hit his shots from the outside. He had some good drives and finished it well around the basket,” Colvin said. “He will take a big step forward. He grew two inches and added 19 pounds. You could tell he played all summer. He looked good and he has a chance to do some good things for us.”

Last year Lake Land leaned on Josh Jefferson to provide key buckets at key times. This year Colvin said the scoring will be more by committee, which is what it was the scoring was like against Lindenwood.

“Our freshmen, Hunter White has the chance to be good and I think Adam (Price) will shoot better than he did. I see us having five or six guys in the 10 to 12-point range and one guy step up and be the 15 to 17-point guy,” Colvin said. “I think it’s going to be scoring by committee. Last year they could key on our top two guys. We are missing that guy that can get 20 points easy but we have more guys that can get to the basket and create for others which is something we didn’t have last year.”

Lake Land’s next game is Saturday at Kennedy King College in Chicago.

“It’s good to get the first win out of the way,” Colvin said. “We will have a tougher game against Kennedy King. They will be bigger and more athletic and they will be a better team. Then it gets right into it with conference play so it doesn’t get any easier from this point on.”

Lake Land knocks off No. 8 North Arkansas

Posted on Nov 05, 2018

Journal Gazette & Times-Courier

The Lake Land women's basketball team used great defense to knock off North Arkansas College, the No. 8 team in the preseason National poll in the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II, Friday in the Lady Pioneer Classic 79-56. 

"It was just really a solid effort all around," said Lake Land coach Dave Johnson, whose team is ranked No. 17 in the nation. "I thought we followed our scouting report really well defensively."

Mattoon graduate Avery Jackson led Lake Land with 23 points, while Jamie Sandschaefer had 20 and Charleston grad Aislinn Parish had 10 points. 

"I thought Jamie and Avery really scored well for us in a variety of ways," said Johnson. "They hit 3-pointers and attacked the basket. Zyah Burnett hard a really strong game on the board tonight. Haley Gregg gave us great minutes on both ends of the court. All of the sophomores really led us well tonight."

Lake Land led 15-12 after the opening quarter and 39-31 at the half before pulling ahead 60-46 going into the fourth. The Lady Lakers scored the first five points of the second half to go up by 13. North Arkansas didn't get closer than 12 after that. 

Lake Land is to play Crowder College at noon Saturday in the final game of the classic. 

Lady Lakers start 2-0

Posted on Nov 05, 2018

Journal Gazette & Times-Courier

The Lake Land women's basketball team followed up a strong season-opener win with another strong performance in their second game of the season.

On Saturday, the 17th-ranked Lady Lakers grabbed a double-digit lead by halftime against Crowder College and went on to win 76-58 to improve to 2-0 on the season.

Lake Land coach Dave Johnson said the first two games are a good start to the season.

"You never know what to expect. We had a good preseason but that's different than the regular season," Johnson said. "Defensively we were better than I anticipated. I think it's our mental preparation. We had a week to prepare for North Arkansas and not much time for Crowder. We watched them play on Friday and had a chance to go over everything on Saturday. The girls applied some good information and knowledge to what they were doing and had good communication."

Avery Jackson led Lake Land with 17 points and had three assists. Aislinn Parish had 16 points and three assists. Zyah Burnett had nine rebounds, and Jamie Sandschaefer had nine points and eight rebounds. Arie Sims had 10 points, four assists and three steals.

"I thought it was a really good start considering we are missing some kids with injuries," Johnson said. "The sophomores have done a great job of leading us."

Lake Land plays a game at Triton College on Friday.

Lady Lakers ready for district play

Posted on Nov 02, 2018

Justin Rust, Journal Gazette & Times-Courier 

The Lake Land volleyball team is going into the District J tournament on a high note.

Four teams from Region 24 qualified for the District J tournament with John A. Logan and Vincennes grabbing the top two seeds. That left Lake Land and Kaskaskia to battle for the No. 3 and 4 seeds. Even though the Lady Lakers were already qualified for the District J tournament, head coach Ashli Wicker wanted the team to go into districts with a win rather than a loss.

Kaskaskia beat Lake Land about a month ago, sweeping the Lady Lakers. Lake Land was able to turn the table on Kaskaskia and won in five sets to go into the District J tournament after a win.

"We really went out there and the girls were just having fun and had nothing to lose. We were going to districts already and the only thing that mattered was seeding. The girls were relaxed and looking to have fun," Wicker said. "That match showed the quality of competition in our region. Moving forward, it showed we can come out and play our best. It's good to come out of the region with that last keynote rather than being on the other side."

Lake Land opens the District J tournament at 11 a.m. on Saturday at Missouri State-West Plains Community College against Iowa Western. The tournament is single elimination and divided into two four-team brackets. Two teams from the district tournament advance to nationals. If Lake Land beats Iowa Western, the Lady Lakers will play in the championship match at 5 p.m. on Saturday.

Lake Land goes into the tournament with a 27-13 record. Three players were recently named to the All-Region team. Freshman outside hitter Ashlyn MacDonald, a Mattoon graduate, is a first-team selection. She led the Lady Lakers with 337 kills and she hit .334 on the season. She added 40 block assists.

Sophomore setter Alexandra Beckers is a second-team All-Region selection. She led the team with 716 assists and she had 246 digs. Sophomore Jannah Mullen is a second-team All-Region selection. She led the team with 520 digs, which is also 19th in NJCAA Division I.

Kristy Burford, an Okaw Valley graduate, had 287 kills and 79 blocks this season. Arielly de Souza has 274 kills and 463 digs and Brooklynn Elsas has 218 kills. Mattoon graduate Lexi Rankin has 203 kills and 106 blocks and Katie Tarkington has 198 kills and 84 blocks.

Wicker said the team is excited to be playing in the District J tournament.

"They are super pumped. The sophomores didn't get to experience this last year," Wicker said. "It's just exciting to advance and experience this together. It's been a long week of practice and we are ready to get things going."

The Lady Lakers have a tough task in the first match against Iowa Western, which was ranked No. 5 in the last NJCAA D-I poll. Iowa Western is 33-3 on the season. On the other side of the bracket, Vincennes (27-12) faces Missouri State-West Plains (17-15).

Wicker knows it's an extremely tough first match against Iowa Western.

"We've always known that our district is hard so that's expected. That's how our district is set up with three strong region teams. That's why we are blessed to have two bids to get to nationals because we have some top teams there," Wicker said. "It will be a challenge but at the same time, we play our best whenever we play good competition. The girls are keeping a level head and they know it is do or die and they are excited to see someone different and someone as good as Iowa Western."

Lady Lakers return plenty of sophomores

Posted on Nov 01, 2018

Justin Rust, Journal Gazette & Times-Courier

The Lake Land women's basketball team is coming off a 22-11 campaign last season that included a trip to the Region title game. Gone from that team is Koty Crowder, who was second on the team with 15.1 points per game, almost three three-pointers a game, 3.0 assists per game and 1.6 steals per game.

That's the biggest loss for the Lady Lakers coming into the season as they return five of their top six scorers from last season. Because the Lady Lakers have so many key sophomores back this season, LLC head coach Dave Johnson thinks the team is ahead of schedule compared to previous seasons.

"I feel really good about the progress we made. It's been a faster progress than usually, having seven sophomores who gained a lot of experience last year," Johnson said. "We picked things up quickly and that has helped our freshmen because they have so many people that can help them. On paper, we should be better just from the experience."

Another 20-win season is normal for the Lady Lakers under Johnson. The team has averaged 21 wins per season under his 18-year tenure. The experienced Lake Land squad will be tested right away when they open the season at the North Arkansas Tournament and face a North Arkansas team that's ranked No. 8 in the nation. The next weekend the Lady Lakers travel Chicago for a couple of games.

"We will find out where we are right away," Johnson said.

Even though Crowder graduated, the Lady Lakers return their top scorer with Avery Jackson. The Mattoon graduate goes into her sophomore season after averaging 19.7 points per game as a freshman. She added a team-high 4.2 assists per game and had 1.5 steals per game.

Johnson thinks the team will be in good shape if Jackson produces at the same level this season.

"We will lean on Avery as we will with the other sophomores," Johnson said. "If she can have an equal season or better, that will help us greatly."

After Jackson, Jamie Sandschafer, Jaycie Roy and Aislinn Parish all return. Sandschafer averaged 9.3 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. Roy, a Neoga graduate, averaged 8.3 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. Parish averaged 5.7 points and 2.2 assists per season.

Johnson said those three have all improved on the court and are smarter this season.

"Each one of them has improved elements of their game," Johnson said. "One of the biggest areas in general for them is their knowledge of the game."

Gabby Staub averaged 4.2 points per game last season and led the team with 8.6 rebounds per game. Staub had a strong ending to her freshman campaign and Johnson thinks that will carry over to this season.

"She is very athletic and toward the end of last year, she started to expand her offensive game, scoring from 15 feet along with offensive putbacks," Johnson said. "If she can work on using her left hand around the basket, she can have a bigger season."

The sophomores won't see all of the minutes. Johnson likes the freshman class he has coming in with Arie Sims, Lucille Smith, Liberty Johnson, Katrina Christian and Baylee Breedlove. Christian redshirted last season at Eastern Illinois. Breedlove will miss some time with an injury. Johnson expects the rest of the freshmen class to have an impact this season.

"Liberty shot the ball well and her defense has improved. Arie has done a good job of running the point and scoring on the drive," Johnson said. "Katrina has scored well from mid-range and at the rim. Lucille can guard a lot of different positions and has rebounded well from the guard position."

Lake Land has its first home game on Nov. 20 against Olney Central College.

Lake Land College Athletic Honors 2017-2018

Posted on Oct 25, 2018

2017-2018 Lake Land College Athletics Report

2018 NJCAA Academic Team (must have a team GPA of 3.00 or higher):

                                Softball, Volleyball, Women’s Basketball

2018 NJCAA All-Academic First Team (athlete with 24 credit hours with 4.00 GPA):

                                Addison Baele (Softball)

                                Molly McElwee (Softball)

2018 NJCAA All-Academic Second Team (athlete with 24 credit hours with 3.80-3.99 GPA):

                                Madison Bostick (Softball)

                                Abigail Bush (Women Basketball)

                                Jamie Sandschafer (Women Basketball)

                                Callie Williams (Women Basketball)

                                Emily Watson (Volleyball)

                                Taylor Williams (Volleyball)

                                Deidra Schaal (Volleyball)

                                Mitchell Shaw (Baseball)

                                Sam Gubbins (Baseball)

2018 NJCAA All-Academic Third Team (athlete with 24 credit hours with 3.60-3.79 GPA):

                                Kendall Hastings (Softball)

                                Holly Marousek (Softball)

                                Dakota Crowder (Women Basketball)

                                Avery Jackson (Women Basketball)

                                Kelcie Darnell (Volleyball)

2017-2018 Volleyball Honors

Posted on Oct 25, 2018

Individual Honors and Awards

NJCAA Division One All-Region 24: Ryann Ambrose, Alexandra Becker
GRAC All-Conference 1st Team: Ryann Ambrose, Alexandra Becker
GRAC All-Conference 2nd Team: Brooklynn Elsas
GRAC Sportsmanship Award: Kristy Burford

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR 2018 LAKERS WHO ARE MOVING ON!

Kelcie Darnell - Culver Stockton College
Deidra Schaal - Indiana State University (Academic)
Hannah Koonce - University of Illinois (Academic)
Adora Gowin - Eastern Illinois (Academic)
Claudia Watson - Indiana State University (Academic)
Emily Watson - Lake Land College Nursing (Academic)
Ryann Ambrose - Loyola Chicago (Academic)

2017-2018 Women's Basketball Honors

Posted on Oct 25, 2018

Team Honors

NJCAA Academic Team
NJCAA Division Two Region 24 Runner-Up

Individual Honors and Awards

NJCAA Division Two All-Region 24 Team: Avery Jackson
GRAC All-Conference 1st Team: Avery Jackson
GRAC Freshman of the Year: Avery Jackson

2017-2018 Softball Honors

Posted on Oct 25, 2018

Team Honors

NJCAA Academic Team
NJCAA Division One National Tournament – 12th Place
NJCAA Division One Region 24 Champions

Individual Honors and Awards

NJCAA Division One Region 24 Player of the Year: Holly Marousek
NJCAA Division One All-Region 24: Braylyn Burdick, Allison Helton, Madeline Adams, Kendall Hastings, Alina Lance, Addison Baele
GRAC All-Conference: Alina Lance, Addison Baele, Madeline Adams

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR 2018 LAKERS WHO ARE MOVING ON!

Madeline Adams - University of Illinois
Haylee Short - University of Tennessee Martin
Addison Baele - Liberty University
Alina Lance - Stoney Brook University
Holly Marouske - Southern Illinois University
Molly McElwee - Police Academy (Academic)
Kendall Hastings - University of Illinois Chicago (Academic)
Hope Collier - Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (Academic)

2017-2018 Men's Basketball Honors

Posted on Oct 25, 2018

Individual Honors and Awards

NJCAA Division One All-Region 24: Josh Jefferson, Amel Kuljuhovic
GRAC All-Conference 1st Team: Josh Jefferson, Amel Kuljuhovic

 

Men's Basketball to Open with Danville Area Jamboree

Posted on Oct 25, 2018

ATH MEN BASKETBALL TEAM 2018-19 000.JPG

The Laker Men's Basketball team will open it's pre-season slate with the Danville Area Community College Jamboree on October 7th. It will be the first of three jamborees that the Lakers will participate in. The next two sundays after, they will travel to Vincennes and Carbondale for games.

At Danville, they will tip at 9 am against Moraine Valley, who finished last season 19-13. The second game at 11 am will be against NJCAA Division II National Tournament team, Grand Rapids CC out of Michigan. They finished 26-10. The final game of the day will be against Lake Michigan College (15-15).

This will be the first chance for the freshmen to get their feet wet, while also giving the sophomores their first look at live action in front of four year coaches. 

2017-2018 Baseball Honors

Posted on Oct 24, 2018

Congratulations to our 2018 Lakers who are moving on!

Parker Nolan - University of Indianapolis
Brady Cappe - University of Pikeville
Devon Still - Columbia College
Jake McClellan - University of Wisconsin La Crosse
Bryan Melendez - Benedictine University
Alex Moore - Central Methodist University
Garrett Brachbill - Eastern Illinois (Academic)
Ben Sweeny - Lincoln College

 

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