This last weekend saw the men’s and women’s basketball teams travel to Jacksonville, Ill. to face off against the Illinois College Lady Blues and Blueboys. The games, played at the Sherman Gymnasium, boasted a turnout of over 700 people, likely due to both Illinois College’s men’s and women’s teams having their senior day celebrations. With a large and supportive crowd, as well as quite a few Midwest Conference match victories in their past season, the Lady Blues and Blueboys defeated both Lawrence teams by a significant margin.
The women’s team went first on Saturday. They were fresh off a loss from Cornell College the previous week, and, unfortunately, would not fare any better during this match. The outcome was ill-fated from the very start when the Vikings only managed to score a meager two points during the first ten minutes. By the time the second quarter arrived, the Lady Blues had gained a fifteen-point advantage. The Vikings fought to close that lead to thirteen points in the third quarter, but all other attempts to overtake Illinois College’s score failed. The game ended with a score of 69-36 and the Lady Blues earning a Midwest Conference victory over Lawrence. Standout players included first-year Sophie Morey (eleven points, eight rebounds), sophomore Mallory Meyer (eight points) and junior Libby Crandall (seven points).
Although the men’s team had a much better start, they also came up short against the Blueboys. The Vikings had just come off a heartbreaking and controversial one-point overtime loss the previous week and were ready to make a comeback. Illinois College had a five-game winning streak and a total of fifteen Midwest Conference victories coming into the match, but the Vikings quickly showed them that they came to win, with junior Matthew Kaznikov burying a three-pointer very early on. Just five minutes into the game, Lawrence had built a 13-3 lead over the Blueboys. For the rest of the first half, the two teams remained neck-in-neck, exchanging the lead every minute or so. At the end of the first half, Illinois College led 43-38, but a pair of free throws by junior Adnan Sarancic early in the second half shrunk their lead to two points. With just five minutes left in the game, the Blueboys went on a 12-0 scoring run to bring the score to 62-55 and sealed a Midwest Conference victory over the Vikings. The stars of the game were Sarancic (eighteen points, nine rebounds), Kaznikov (seventeen points), senior Elliot Jung (ten points, four rebounds, three assists) and first-year Johnny Semany (nine points, six rebounds, three assists).
The men’s team ended their season with a .360 (9-16) winning percentage overall, and a .375 (6-10) winning percentage within the conference. The women’s team wrapped up their season with a .280 (7-18) winning percentage overall, and a .200 (3-12) winning percentage within the conference.
Although both teams went out on a loss, there was a lot to celebrate for Vikings basketball this week, as six players across both teams earned Academic All-District honors. Players that were honored on the women’s team included senior Ashley Batac (psychology major), senior Delaney Brooks (psychology major), senior Emma Carlson (mathematics major) and junior Libby Crandall (biology major). On the men’s side, junior Adnan Sarancic (international relations major) and sophomore Daryian Matthews (psychology major) received the award. Matthews is also a member of the Academic All-Midwest Conference team.