Roadrunners wrap up home schedule with split against Glen Oaks

Published 11:27 pm Monday, February 27, 2023

DOWAGIAC — The return of women’s and men’s basketball to Southwestern Michigan College is a success story for the ages.

The Roadrunners concluded the home portion of their first season back in more than 25 years with a split at the 1st Source Bank Fieldhouse Saturday afternoon.

The SMC women’s basketball program successfully defended its “Nest” by defeating rival Glen Oaks Community College 58-52 in a Michigan Community College Athletic Association Western Conference contest. The win avenged an 82-60 loss to the Vikings last month.

The Roadrunners were 13-1 at home this season.

Southwestern Michigan, which was picked to finish eighth in the preseason coach’s poll, will finish no worse than fourth in the Western Conference. Southwestern Michigan is 6-4 in league contests, one game back of Ancilla College.

The Roadrunners are three games ahead of preseason favorite Lake Michigan College in the loss column. Southwestern Michigan College and the Red Hawks clash in Benton Harbor Tuesday night. Both teams have qualified for the Great Lakes District Championship that begins in March. Tipoff is set for 5:30 p.m.

The Vikings (15-11, 9-2 Western Conference) came to Dowagiac as the league leader, a half-game ahead of Kalamazoo Valley Community College.

Glen Oaks grabbed the first-quarter lead (13-10) and maintained an advantage until the final three minutes of the second quarter when the Roadrunners turned up the pressure and started knocking down shots from both the outside and the inside.

Southwestern Michigan rallied to take a 29-27 lead at the intermission. The Roadrunners continued their roll in the third quarter as they came out and pumped in 20 points, while holding the Vikings to 11 points to take a 49-38 lead to the final 10 minutes of play.

“Our third quarter offensively was the difference,” said SMC Coach Jeanine Wasielewski. “Twelve of those points came from the 3-point line. We just hit them when we needed to, and it forced them to try and get more stops on defense. I thought we matched them on that.”

Cameron Thomas (Hazel Crest, Illinois), who had a quiet first half, hit four 3-pointers, and finished with a game-high 16 points. Macey Laubach (Edwardsburg) had a trio of 3-pointers to finish with 15 points.

Tori Eldridge (Goshen, Indiana) also hit some big shots for the Roadrunners when they needed them the most and finished with eight points. She also grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds. Laubach finished with eight rebounds, four assists and four steals. Thomas added six rebounds and dished out three assists.

Former Cassopolis standout Angel Gary scored nine points for the Vikings and grabbed eight rebounds. Hannah Outlaw, who has family ties to Cassopolis, finished with six pounds and nine rebounds.


Men’s Basketball

Foul trouble and a short bench hurt the Southwestern Michigan College men’s basketball team in losing 63-55 Western Conference to Glen Oaks Saturday afternoon.

The Roadrunners played a solid opening 20 minutes, which translated to a 31-22 lead at halftime of the regular-season finale in the 1st Source Bank Fieldhouse before a near-capacity crowd.

Unfortunately for the Roadrunners, the fouls began to add up early and continued into the second half, which allowed the Vikings to rally for the win.

Glen Oaks (12-14, 6-5 Western Conference) outscored the Roadrunners 41-24 in the second half to pull out the win, which helped them clinch a spot in the Great Lakes District Championship Tournament.

The Vikings also took advantage of their size, especially with 6-foot-6 center DeAndre Francis, who scored a game-high 26 points.

“One of the things we do a good job on it locking in on scouting reports initially,” said SMC Coach Rodell Davis. “But then, fatigue becomes a factor. We are playing eight or nine guys right now, so at a certain point and time people get tired. That is why I don’t all a lot of time out early. I try to save them for the end. Today, we did an awesome job of holding them to 22 points, but in the second half, they go for 41. We got tired.”

Davis said at halftime, he warned his team that Glen Oaks would start making some of the shots they were missing in the first 20 minutes of play. His prediction came true.

“I told them we had to be ready to step up and stop them,” he said. “Unfortunately, we just weren’t able to do that tonight.”

Mark Williams (Chicago) led the Roadrunners with 16 points and eight rebounds. Niles freshman Mikel Forrest scored 13 points of the bench and also grabbed eight rebounds.

The Roadrunners head to Benton Harbor Tuesday night to face rival Lake Michigan College. Tipoff is set for approximately 7:30 p.m.