Last weekend, the Lawrence men’s basketball team (9-8, 6th place MWC) charged to a thrilling Midwest Conference victory last Saturday, Feb 11th against Monmouth, 6-11, 7th place Midwest Conference (MWC). There were almost one thousand spectators in attendance at Alexander Gymnasium.
The Vikes came up strong in the first nine minutes with four layups, including two by senior Mitch Willer and a three-pointer by junior Eric Weiss to lead 11-6. Cam Sturtevant from Monmouth sunk a three to stop the Vikings run, but our team maintained the lead. Junior Ben Peterson shot a free throw at 3:20 to extend the Vikings’ lead to six points at 24-18. Eric Weiss successfully shot his second three-pointer of the game at the last twenty seconds to end to first half with the score 32-24, giving the Lawrence team the advantage at the break.
The second half began with a 7-0 run by the Vikings and created a 13 point edge against the Scots. Senior Peter Winslow contributed a beautiful layup and a jumper while our best three point shooter and junior Jeremy Stephani put down a three. Two consecutive free-throws by Justin Aluya helped Monmouth stop the run. In the next five minutes, both teams showed many solid shots. However, the Vikes’ shooting suddenly went cold and Monmouth quickly capitalized on this opportunity to tie to game at 53-53. There was growing anxiety within the audience at that moment, but the Vikings came back with a strong fighting spirit to retake the lead. Jeremy Stephani hit a clutch three-pointer to create a three-point edge for the Vikings. The scots trimmed the margin to 62-60 with 3 minutes remaining in the game.
The score remained tight the rest of the match. Monmouth got three consecutive fouls by Lawrence, including a foul-out by freshman Tyler Krug, and the score became 62-61 Lawrence. Eric Weiss finished a strong layup to bring back the three-point edge. However, another foul by the defenders gave Monmouth two free-throws to narrow down the lead again. The last minutes included many fouls from both sides, including four free-throws by Mitchell of the Scots and two by Weiss for the Vikings. Senior Connor Weas was fouled in the last 14 seconds and successfully shot both free-throws to help the Vikings create a three-point lead. Mitchell and Jon Matthews from the Scots attempted to shoot two consecutive three-pointers, but all missed and the Vikings grabbed the ball with one second left on the clock. Having reclaimed possession, the Vikes won the match.
Jeremy Stephani and Ben Peterson lead Lawrence with 13 points each. Both Eric Weiss and Mitch Willer added 10 points for the Vikings, while Willer had the team-best seven rebounds.
On the same day, the Lawrence women’s basketball team, 0-17, 10th place MWC, lost 39-72 against Monmouth’s basketball team, 4-13, 9th place MWC. Within the first six minutes of the game, Monmouth already led 18 -5 against Lawrence, including four three-pointers and four shots inside the arc. Freshman Leah Reeves continued her strong performance as always with four consecutive points to narrow the edge to 18-11 before the second quarter started. However, the Scots maintained their hot-shooting day and extended the lead as the second quarter drew to a close. Junior Lauren Deveikis finished a three-pointer at the last second to bring the score to 35-21.
It had been a cold shooting day for the Lady Vikes when they could not find a way to the basket in the third quarter. On the other hand, the Scots exploded to a 16-6 run to create a 51-27 lead. The final score ended at 72-39.
Leah Reeves paced Lawrence with 11 points. With only two matches left, the Lady Vikes are still struggling to find their first in conference win this season.
With the basketball season winding down, there are only a few more games yet to be played. Show your support for the Vikings in their final competitions of the season.