Men’s & Women’s B-ball split games vs Illinois

The men’s and women’s basketball teams both competed this past weekend against the Illinois College Blueboys—with a record of 4-16 going into the game—and the Lady Blues (13-7). Led by senior Ryan DePouw, the men dominated their game with a final score of 100-67. Despite a valiant final effort, the women’s team did not fare as well and lost their game 65-52.

Concerning the men’s team, the Vikings went into the game focusing playing hard and giving their all on every single play. “As a team we all had that mentality of just giving it all we had,” says sophomore forward Mitch Willer. “We can be a dangerous team when we put it all together like that.”

The Vikings began the game with a slow start and were trailing the Blueboys 18-8 just after five minutes of game-time. The team seemed to pull it together after that and went on a commanding 13-2 run over the next three minutes to take the lead 21-20. The Vikings dominated the game after that and went on a stunning 31-9 run in the last 10 minutes of the half to bring the score to 60-33 at halftime.

The second half was completely controlled by Lawrence as the team would lead by as many as 37 points with close to 10 minutes to play. The final score was 100-67 in favor of the Vikings. “Everyone who went in contributed a lot to this win, and that’s a really great feeling. Putting up 100 points felt great and was a great indication as to how well we played for a whole 40 minutes as a team and how dangerous we can be offensively,” says Willer.

Scoring leaders for the Vikings included Ryan DePouw, whose 26 points brought his career point total to 1,001 which makes him only the 22nd player in Lawrence history to score 1,000 points. Other performers of note were senior Jamie Nikitas with 16 points and 6 rebounds and Connor Weas who scored 15 points in 16 minutes. This victory brought the Vikings’ record to 9-12.

On the women’s side, the Lady Vikes had the challenge of facing the very competitive Illinois College team. “We knew we had to play together, take care of the ball, and work hard on both offense and defense,” says freshman forward Danelle Buck.

The game began with a quick Illinois College scoring run to bring the score to 15-5 after just over six minutes of play, however the Vikings responded with a 10-2 scoring run late in the half to trim the lead to 28-23. The Lady Blues countered with the final five points of the half to bring the score to 33-23.

Illinois College then started the second half with a fiery 16-2 run and brought the score to 49-25 with just under 15 minutes left in the game. The Vikings responded with renewed life and scored 18 points to shorten the lead to 54-43. The Lady Blues were able to hold off the Vikings’ surge however and sealed the win with a final score of 65-52.

Senior Kassidy Rinehart stuffed the stat book this game with 13 points and 11 rebounds; good for a double-double. Buck led Lawrence’s scoring with 14 points, and freshman Olivia Hoesley added 10 points of her own. This weekend’s loss brings the Lady Vikes’ record to 0-20.

Overall, both the men’s and women’s teams look forward to continuing to practice and compete at a high level. “Our focus is pretty straightforward; we’re going to keep playing hard,” says Willer.

“These last three games are winnable games for us, and we really want the seniors to go out on a good note.” Buck adds. “We are going to focus on playing with consistency each game by playing together and working hard.”

The men’s basketball team will play next on February 18th at Carroll while the women’s team will play on February 16th at Maranatha Baptist.