SMC women edge LCC 63-60 in key conference win

Published 7:54 am Thursday, February 22, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

DOWAGIAC — When her team needed her most, Macey Laubach delivered. 

With Southwestern Michigan College leading Lansing Community College 61-60 with under 15 seconds remaining in the game, the sophomore from Edwardsburg iced the game with a steal and two made free throws on the other end to propel the Roadrunners to a 63-60 win over the Stars in a key MCCAA Western matchup.

“She said she wanted it,” said SMC coach Jay Jenkins. “At the end of the day, I’m not teaching anything new, it’s based on them and what’s in the inside of their hearts and she said she wanted to win. She said ‘coach, I got it’ and with those last free throws, I told her ‘put your cape on because we’re riding your cape.’”

The first half saw both teams struggle to get going on offense, with SMC taking a 27-20 lead into halftime. The Roadrunners led by as many as 10 points in the third quarter before the Stars began to rally. A Kara Bartels basket put the Stars on top 51-50 late in the fourth quarter. SMC freshman and Dowagiac native Alanah Smith came up big down the stretch, scoring all six of her points in the closing minutes to keep pace with Lansing. A Cameron Thomas floater with 31 seconds remaining put the Roadrunners up for good.

Thomas led all scorers with 26 points and Laubach had 18 while Nalani Williams added nine. Sophomore and Niles graduate Amara Palmer had three points before fouling out in the fourth.

Lansing was led by Alivia Densmore’s 13 and Alexandria Charles’ 12.

The win moves the Roadrunners to second place in the Western conference standings with a 8-2 record with two games remaining, trailing only Kellogg Community College who sits atop at 9-1. SMC and KCC split their regular season matchups with the Roadrunners winning the most recent, a 82-80 win Feb.10.

“I told them if you want to be number one, if you want to earn respect, you have to beat the best teams in the west,” Jenkins said. “We are the best here in the west. Now it’s up to the tiebreaker rules to see who’s going to be number one; we are still number one, whether we get the first seeding or the second seeding, we’re still going to be number one and we’re still in the post season already. 

“At this point, it’s pretty much about the chips falling where they may and it’s based on your schedule strength and weekly. Right now. We’re not losing anymore. We’re going deep into the Nationals and we plan on winning.”

Thomas scores 1,000th point

On top of the key win over a conference foe, Thomas surpassed the 1,000-point plateau for her career during Wednesday’s game. The sophomore from Hazel Crest Ill. is averaging 22.2 points per game as the team’s leading scorer.

“Cammy is this group,” Jenkins said. “She’s the foundation player with Macey. They built this program and everybody’s been riding their coattails these past two years. When I got here, I was told they were the dogs of the group and that’s what they are. Nobody can mess with them.

“We’re gonna be the best team out here because of those two, we thrive off them for offense and defense.”

SMC plays Glen Oaks Community College at 1 p.m. Feb. 24 before closing out the season at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday against rival Lake Michigan College.