BELLEVILLE — The carnage which has symbolized the 2013-14 Southwestern Illinois College Blue Storm basketball season continued Wednesday at Kaskaskia College in Centralia.
Decimated by injuries since the preseason, the Blue Storm saw two more players go down as it dropped a 78-74 decision to Kaskaskia in a Great Rivers Athletic Conference game.
Sophomore point guard JaQuail Townser was flipped while going in for a layup in the second half while, sophomore forward Brandon Book was injured in warmups and was having severe muscle spasms in his back on Thursday morning according to SWIC coach Jay Harrington.
Book, a former all-state selection at Central, was injured while shooting a jump shot in warmups. The 6-foot-6 Book played in the game, scoring 16 points, but was in obvious pain by the time the Blue Storm arrived back in Belleville late Wednesday.
"A few minutes before the game, Brandon came over and said he threw his back out. We stretched him out and he was able to play. It was a very courageous effort by the young man,'' Harrington said. "But when we got home he could barely get off the bus. I got a text message from Brandon's mom this morning, which said he was having severe muscle spasms and they were taking him in for X-rays to make sure there wasn't a stress fracture.
"JaQuail went in for a layup and basically got flipped and landed on his back. I didn't see it. I just heard a 'thud' when he hit the floor. He didn't return to the game and I've heard he's really having a rough time this morning. I know I must sound like I'm a broken record, but I've never seen anything like it. I'm out of things to say.''
The numbers speak from themselves. SWIC (10-7), which started the season with 19 players and hopes of a trip to the national tournament, will have nine players available when it travels to play Olney Central on Saturday.
"I've talked to (SWIC) baseball coach Neil Fiala and asked if he had anybody we could use,'' Harrington said. "And despite what happened last night we still had the lead late with a chance to win the game. The kids played so hard.
"We just didn't execute three straight times in the last couple of minutes and turned the ball over. It costs us.''
Former Collinsville standout Falando Wilkinson paced SWIC with 17 points.
SWIC women fall
The failure to get back on defense proved costly for the Blue Storm women's team as it dropped a 71-60 decision to GRAC-leading Kaskaskia College on Wednesday.
The loss snapped SWIC's seven-game winning streak.
Coming off an emotional win over nationally ranked Vincennes University on Saturday, the Blue Storm (10-2) gave up 36 fast-break points to the run-and-gun Blue Angels, who qualified for the NJCAA national tournament a year ago.
"I think we lost focus a little bit. We told the girls that Kaskaskia liked to get out and go. We just didn't get back. No excuses. We just didn't execute on the defensive end of the court,'' SWIC coach Mike Juenger said. "It's a big loss because it puts us behind both Kaskaskia and Wabash Valley in the league."
Erika McCaster paced SWIC with 25 points, while LaTeesha Deloach added 10. The Blue Angels led by as many as 16 points before SWIC went on a 15-0 run to cut its deficit to one point.
But Kaskaskia held on.
"We had a 15-0 run then had a couple of chances to take the lead. We missed a wide-open layup. I mean wide open,'' Juenger said. "They hit a shot and then made free throws down the stretch to win the game. The game was closer than the score indicates.''