BELLEVILLE — Sophomore Tony Bradley scored 21 points while University of Missouri recruit Keanau Post added 15 points and 13 rebounds as Southwestern Illinois College edged Kaskaskia College 71-60 on Saturday in a Great Rivers Athletic Conference game.
The win was the second straight for SWIC and, combined with a Lakeland College loss Saturday, lifts the Blue Storm into first place in the battle for the GRAC title.
Showing no signs of a letdown after a tough four-point loss to nationally ranked Vincennes last week, the Blue Storm (15-4) played well from start to finish against Kaskaskia as it improved to 7-1 in league play.
"I was concerned that the loss to Vincennes would have a negative impact on us but instead it's gone the other way. We've played pretty well the last two games,'' Blue Storm coach Jay Harrington said. "Tony (Bradley) is playing very well for us as is Keanau (Post) and Trae Anderson. Plus our guards have also done a good job.
"I'm just glad we're almost through January because traditionally, my teams get better later in the season. We've still got a long way to go, but with one more win, we'd be assured of another winning season. That's always a big goal.''
While SWIC leads the GRAC, it trails Vincennes in the Region 24 race. Vincennes is 10-0 in region play while SWIC is 8-2.
Blue Storm women
Plagued by the inability to hit shots inside three feet and beaten on the backboards, the Blue Storm (11-4) fell into second place in the GRAC on Saturday by dropping an 80-69 decision at Kaskaskia College.
Tied with Kaskaskia and Wabash Valley entering the game, SWIC was just 14 of 59 on 2-point field goal attempts and missed 12 shots inside 3-feet according to coach Mike Juenger.
"It was bad. We just can't hit 2- to 3-foot shots. Of the 12 that we missed, several of them were uncontested. That's just a lack of concentration by our post players,'' Juenger said.
"The strange part about is that as badly as we shot the basketball and were out-rebounded, there was a time late in the game where we were down by four points and had three chances to get closer or take the lead and we didn't score on any of the possessions. We had our chances.''
Sophomore Danielle Duncan paced SWIC with 18 points, while Janelle Cannon and LaTeesha Deloach added 14 points.
Cannon was held seven points below her season average as the Angels played a box-and-1 defense designed to contain the 5-9 All-American.
"I'll take the blame for that because it was the first time we had seen that defense on Janelle and I hadn't prepared us for it,'' Juenger said. "But our post players must play harder on both ends of the floor. We were ranked, we placed ninth in the nation last year and teams are out to beat us because of that. I don't think our young kids realize that we need to play hard for 40 minutes every night.
SWIC travels to Olney Central College on Wednesday. The women's game is set for 5:30 p.m. with the men to follow at 7:30 p.m. SWIC will host Wabash Valley on Saturday with the women's contest set for 1 p.m. and the men playing at 3 p.m.
Contact reporter Dean Criddle at 239-2661 or firstname.lastname@example.org