The Southwestern Illinois College Blue Storm returns to the court on Monday when it opens up the second half of its season at Rend Lake College in Ina.
This week, coach Jay Harrington's squad is shaking off the rust after a 15-day layoff.
"We had a really light workout this (Wednesday) morning. It was more like a shootaround. This afternoon we'll go after it hard,'' Harrington said. "We brought them back on the (Dec.) 28th and we've gone twice a day. After two weeks, we were a little out of shape, stiff and sore.''
The Blue Storm was anything but out of shape during the first half of the season. Currently 9-2, SWIC's only losses were a pair of one-point setbacks 63-62 and 65-64 both against Mineral Area College eight days apart in November.
SWIC begins the second half of its season with a five-game winning streak.
"We really feel we should be 11-0 at this point of the season. We let those two one-pointers, games that we were winning, get away from us,'' Harrington said.
"But to be 9-2 at this point playing what we feel is perhaps the strongest pre-Christmas schedule we've ever played, we're pretty happy with where we are. But we've still got a lot of work do.''
SWIC has wins over NJCAA Division II power Morraine Valley, Three Rivers (Mo.) College and Great Rivers Athletic Conference rivals Olney Central, Wabash Valley and John A. Logan.
SWIC is 3-0 in the GRAC.
All-American sophomore Keanau Post leads the way for SWIC, averaging 12 points and 10 rebounds, while SWIC has also gotten solid play from several others including sophomore Trae Anderson and freshmen Jaquail Townser and Brandon Book.
Book, a Central graduate, turned the heads of NCAA Division coaches with a 21-point effort in SWIC's win over Three Rivers College at the St. Louis Community College Shootout.
Sophomore Tony Bradley continues to be a defensive stopper for SWIC which is currently 16th in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just over 56 points per game.
Harrington also expects to make a decision this week on the playing status of freshman Luke Norman who has been plagued by injury in the past few weeks.
Following its game at Rend Lake on Monday, SWIC will host Lewis and Clark College on Wednesday beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Keanau Post recruiting update: Blue Storm sophomore All-American center Keanau Post can't sign a national-letter-of-intent until April, but the 7-foot Victoria, British Columbia native has apparently narrowed down his list of possible choices.
SWIC coach Jay Harrington said Wednesday that Illinois, Missouri and Georgetown are three schools that remain in the running to land Post.
"I know Keanau sat down with his mother and brother and has come up with a list of schools he's very interested in and another list of bubble schools that he's considering. Illinois, Missouri and Georgetown are on the list he's interested in. Schools like Washington and Oregon are bubble schools,'' Harrington said.
"I know Keanau is taking his time and doing a lot of research on the Internet on the schools he's considering. Things like where he will best fit in and if the coaches are leaving or staying."