Roadrunners derail No. 3-ranked Owens CC Express 97-66

Published 7:19 pm Thursday, December 21, 2023

DOWAGIAC — “Fast and Fierce” is one of the slogans used in the Southwestern Michigan College athletic program.

That slogan was never more fitting than Wednesday night the women’s basketball team ran over the No. 3-ranked Owens Community College Express 97-66 in its final game before the holiday break at the 1st Source Bank Fieldhouse.

Playing its first game back since the completion of finals, and wearing their new uniforms, Southwestern Michigan College steamrolled Owens Community College by scoring 22 or more points in each of the four quarters, while holding the Express to less than 20 points in each period.

It was also the first time in more than a month that first-year Roadrunner Coach Jay Jenkins had all 12 players dressed and available to play.

One of those players who has been missing is Edwardsburg sophomore Macey Laubach, who helped the Roadrunners get off to a fast start. Her work at both ends of the court allowed SMC to open up a 27-19 lead after the first 10 minutes, which it stretched to 49-33 by halftime.

Laubach had plenty of help from her teammates as sophomore Cameron Thomas (Hazel Crest, Illinois) scored early and often as she led the Roadrunners with 29 points six rebounds and three assists. Labauch, who had 19 points, would finish the night with nine rebounds and a pair of assists.

“Macey takes us to another level,” Jenkins said. “That way other teams cannot focus on No. 21. Everyone knows what Cam can do. When she is out there too, it is a double-headed monster. You don’t know who to watch because Macey is a threat and Cam is a threat. They both can shoot and they both go to the basket. It is kind of hard to lock in on one of them.”

Niles sophomore Amara Palmer, who missed nearly all of the 2022-23 season due to injury, continues to improve her game. Palmer had 20 points to go along with seven rebounds nine assists and seven steals. Goshen, Indiana sophomore Tori Eldridge also reached double figures with eight points. She also grabbed seven rebounds.

“It has been a while since we have had 12 players dress out and actually participate,” Jenkins said. “I just think they really wanted it. We had the new uniforms and they said, “Oh, we just have to win now. You are going to see a different team tonight.’ They had it on their mind that they were going to win tonight.”

The Roadrunners (11-1) continue to play well at home as they improved to 8-0 on the season. Southwestern Michigan is now 21-1 in its first two years at the 1st Source Bank Fieldhouse.

The Roadrunners were red hot from the field as they went 41-of-80 (51.2) percent, which included 5-of-10 from the 3-point line. Southwestern was also solid from the free throw line where it was 10-of-16 (62.5) percent.

The Roadrunners, struggled with turnovers earlier in year, had 15 against the Express, while forcing Owens into 21 miscues. The Express shot just 28-of-68 from the field (41.2 percent) and was 0-of-5 from 3-point range. Owens Community College shot 10-of-18 from the charity stripe (55.6 percent) for the night.

Southwestern Michigan will return from the holiday break to host Prairie State College on Jan. 3.


Men’s Basketball

The Roadrunners are starting to find their groove as they defeated visiting Owens Community College 65-55 Wednesday night to win for the fourth time in their last five games.

The final score was not as close as the final appears.

Southwestern Michigan (8-4) led 34-20 at halftime and maintained a 10- to 15-point advantage throughout much of the final 20 minutes before the Express made a late run. Owens actually outscored SMC 35-31 in the second half.

Mari Nichols (Niles) led the Roadrunners with 18 points, while Mikel Forrest (Niles) scored 17 points and grabbed six rebounds off the bench.

Southwestern Michigan returns to the hardwood after the Christmas break to host South Suburban College, ranked No. 5 in the latest National Junior College Athletic Association Division II poll,