Colleges: Trinity Christian men’s basketball learning along the way
By Steve Millar and Dennis Nelson For Sun-Times Media January 9, 2014 7:18PM
Jess Rinehart, Lewis women's basketball. | Dennis Nelson/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 9, 2014 10:13PM
His team fell to 4-13 with Wednesday night’s 111-84 loss to St. Xavier, but Trinity Christian coach Brandon Nicol sees plenty of reason for optimism.
For starters, the Trolls shot 43 percent (30-of-69) from the field and knocked down 13 three-pointers en route to putting up 84 points against a Cougars squad ranked seventh in the nation.
“We can take a lot of confidence out of that,” Nicol said. “We’ve changed some things up offensively, and I really think we’re going to be a good offensive team going forward the rest of this year and in future years. Now we just need rebounding and defense to be staples for us.”
The Trolls have just one senior — Jake Van Den Berg — on the roster. Leading scorer Jared Jones (15.9 points per game) is a freshman, as is Lemont alum Joe Hehir (9.4 points per game).
“When you have a young team, you just want to keep getting better and learning,” Nicol said. “Playing great teams like St. Xavier is one of the best things you can do to get better.”
The Trolls have 13 games remaining, and will close the regular season Feb. 22 with a rematch at home against St. Xavier.
“We, of course, want to take it one game as a time, but as a coach I can look at (Wednesday’s game) and look at the fact that we close the regular season with them, and we can see ‘How far do we come from now until then?” Nicol said.
St. Francis junior guard Chris Miller had a big night Wednesday, scoring 28 points in the Saints’ 91-83 win over Indiana-Northwest in Gary.
Miller was 12-of-16 from the field, hit three three-pointers, pulled in five rebounds and dished out four assists.
St. Francis improved to 6-9 with the victory.
The waiting game
Weather extended what already were long breaks for Moraine Valley’s and Prairie State’s men’s basketball team.
Moraine was set to play for the first time since Dec. 21 with a Tuesday game against Olive-Harvey, but that was postponed until Thursday.
Prairie State also hasn’t played since Dec. 21 after a Tuesday contest vs. Truman College was postponed. The Pioneers are scheduled to face Illinois Valley on Saturday at the United Center.
South Suburban opened the new year Saturday with a 70-64 win over Triton.
On a roll
Leading the No. 8-ranked St. Xavier women’s basketball team to a perfect 8-0 record and earning Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Week honors three times in December, junior forward Morgan Stuut was named the fourth recipient of the 2013-14 World Hyundai-St. Xavier University Athlete of the Month award.
For the month, Stuut averaged 21.6 points, 13.5 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.6 blocks for the Cougars (14-3, 5-1).
The award comes on the heels of the Cougars’ 60-49 CCAC homecourt win Wednesday over Trinity Christian.
“If we can keep holding teams to 49 and get our offense going the way it should be, we’ll be in good shape,” St. Xavier coach Bob Hallberg said. “We’ve been scoring 80 points usually. We scored 80 against (NCAA Division I UIC, in a 80-79 win). We just didn’t have our offense (Wednesday), but I’m happy with how we played defense.”
“We were a little frustrated with our offense, but you can’t complain about holding a team to 49 points,” Stuut said. “It’s good to know we can rely on our defense when we need to.”
“We talked about the importance of intense defense and we really focused on that,” Trinity Christian coach Reggie Chapple said. “We can move forward from this with a lot of confidence built. We know we can play with a great team like St. Xavier. Our girls work really, really hard so I can never complain.”
Trinity’s Caitlin Cody, a Mother McAuley grad and transfer from Parkland, led the Trolls (5-12, 1-5) in scoring for the 10th game in a row. The junior forward totaled 17 points and seven rebounds.
After playing seven of its first 10 games at home, the Lewis women’s basketball team will play five straight and seven of the next nine games away from Neil Carey Arena.
The Flyers’ are unbeaten at home and sit at 8-2 overall and 2-0 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference heading into the road stretch.
“It’s important to take care of things on our home court if we get to where we want to be in March,” Lewis coach Lisa Carlsen said. “Now, we have to prove it on the road.”
“Home games are very, very important,” junior forward Jess Rinehart said. “We have to win our home games to give us a chance at what we want to accomplish.”
Flyers off to a flying start
The Lewis women’s swimming team kicked off the new year by winning nine of 11 events in their 124-81 dual meet victory over Florida Tech. The Flyers moved to 6-2 on the season in duals.
Freshmen Kara Treacy and Shannon Sullivan and sophomore Montana Clasby all won two individual races for the Flyers.
“Coming off the break, it was tough for the women to get things going but we did have some bright spots,” Lewis coach Roger Karns said. “Kara and Montana swam very well, while Shannon also put in her usual strong performance.”
Treacy earned wins in the 1,000-yard freestyle (10:48.23) and 500 free (5:21.66) while Sullivan won the 200 free (1:57.67) and 100 free (54.94). Clasby touched the wall first in the 200 individual medley (2:15.07) and in the 100 breaststroke (1:09.71).