Roadrunners qualify for Great Lakes District Championship Tournament

Published 4:09 pm Friday, February 17, 2023

DOWAGIAC — With four games left in the regular season, the Southwestern Michigan College women’s basketball team has locked up a spot in the National Junior College Athletic Association Great Lakes District Championship Tournament.

The announcement came Thursday, two days before the Roadrunners host Kalamazoo Valley Community College in a key Michigan Community College Athletic Association Western Conference contest in the 1st Source Bank Fieldhouse Saturday afternoon.

“I think our team never really doubted they would find their way into the tournament,” said SMC Coach Jeanine Wasielewski. “I think they were a little surprised that they were able to clinch it with four games left. I think that is what was pretty exciting for them. But they have had pretty lofty goals for themselves this year in the conference.”

Wasielewski feels her team took the news in stride, were glad to have checked that box on their list of goals, and returned to the work at hand, taking on the Cougars.

Southwestern Michigan College (15-7 overall, 5-3 Western Conference) will attempt to keep its home record spotless. The Roadrunners have won all 12 home games this season. Southwestern Michigan will have one more home game — Feb. 25 against Glen Oaks Community College — in the regular season. The Roadrunners travel north to take on Lansing Community College (Feb. 22) and to Benton Harbor (Feb. 28) to wrap up the regular season.

“I think that is another part of the reaction,” Wasielewski said. “They are so focused on the game tomorrow. The tournament is a couple weeks out, so it is secondary to what they have right I front of them. This team has been so great about just focusing on the next practice or the next game. They have been very short-sighted in how they have looked at things.”

The Roadrunners should be prepared for tournament play facing the Cougars and Vikings two of the top teams in the MCCAA, as well as facing road tests against the Stars and Red Hawks.

“We know we have a couple of really good opponents coming into our fieldhouse and we are excited about it,” Wasielewski said. “We know those games are going to matter from a seeding perspective for the tournament and they are going to matter for our preparation for the tournament. Quite frankly, I don’t think we played some of our best basketball on the road we way saw them. When you put all that together, I think you have a team that is pretty excited to get after it.”

Tipoff for Saturday’s game is scheduled for 1 p.m.

The Great Lakes District Championships will be March 7, 9 and 11, with the final two games being hosted by Mott Community College. The complete pairings will be announced

The Cougars come into Saturday’s game as the Western Conference co-leader. Kalamazoo Valley is tied with Glen Oaks Community College at 8-1. The Roadrunners are currently third, a game ahead of fourth-place Ancilla College.