With 12 freshmen on his 16-player Southwestern Illinois College roster, Blue Storm coach Mike Juenger knew there would be growing pains early in the ‘15-16 season.
With a 55-46 win over perennial NJCAA Division II national power Parkland College on Saturday, the growing pains lessened considerably.
Former Collinsville High School standout Aubreeny Brady scored 10 points while Peoria native Shelby Wells added nine as SWIC held off Parkland in the finale of the Wabash Valley College round-robin Tournament.
One night after watching his team overwhelmed by a quick Three Rivers College team 93-64 in its opener, Juenger watched with delight as the Blue Storm upset Parkland, which placed second in the NJCAA Division II National a year ago.
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“It’s a big win for us because Parkland is an excellent program and for our young team to be able to win after a tough loss on Friday was a boost heading into a 13-day layoff,’’ Juenger said. “I thought we played much better on the defensive end against Parkland.
“The previous night against Three Rivers we just couldn’t handle their athletes. We had 35 turnovers and gave up 22 offensive rebounds. That’s 57 extra possessions. We’re not beating anybody doing that.’’
Despite the 29-point loss to Three Rivers College, SWIC did 20 points from Brady and 14 from former Roxana High School player Madisyn Sheraka who at least in the first two games of her college career showed no signs of being intimidated by opposing guards.
“Both Brady and Sheraka have a chance to be very good players. Madisyn, I know,played at a Class 1A program, but she is such a smart player. She doesn’t force anything and is a very good offensive player,’’ Juenger said.
“Aubreeny is just so strong and has the ability to take the basketball inside and either get fouled or score. She really needs to improve her perimeter game because pretty soon teams are going to drop off and make her beat them. If she does, the sky is the limit.’’
SWIC is now off until Nov. 13-14 when it hosts its own four-team tournament. The long break was by design, according to Juenger.
“The plan was to play the first weekend then not play again for a couple weeks. That way we would have that time to look on what we needed to work on and see if we can’t get better before our own tournament,’’ Juenger said. “We’re going to be fine. We just need to keep working hard and improving.’’
SWIC to host Christmas Baseball Camp
FAC Sports will hold two Christmas baseball camps on Dec. 28-30 in the intramural gymnasium at Southwestern Illinois College. Players will have the opportunity to work with college coaches, including SWIC head coach Neil Fiala who is serving as the director of the three day camp. Several college players will also be on hand to provide instruction and players can sign up for one or both camps.
Session one will be held from 9-11:30 a.m. and will be a hitting camp. The cost is $75. The afternoon camp will be from 12:30 - 2 p.m. and will feature instruction on pitching, catching and fielding with the cost being $50 per camper.
For information, persons can call 222-5371.