South Suburban sweeps past Cyclones
This round goes to South Suburban College.
Although they don’t share a conference home with Moraine Valley College, the Bulldogs have long been a main rival for the Cyclones. Geography has certainly played a role in creating that situation, as SSC sits closer to Moraine than any of the latter’s fellow members of the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference.
Adding more heat to the matchups, at least in recent seasons, has been the national rankings achieved by the men’s and women’s basketball programs at both schools. The Bulldogs men, in fact, spent a brief time atop the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II poll this season.
SSC brought the No. 7 ranking with it into the Jan. 18 contest against Moraine, and the host Bulldogs lived up to their billing as they made off with a 66-59 victory.
Behind strong outings from Kyle Ward (25 points, five rebounds, three assists), Des’nique Harris (20 points, eight rebounds) and Stagg alumnus Brett Kaiser (eight points, five rebounds), the Cyclones never allowed SSC to run away and hide. The Bulldogs shot just 39 percent from the floor, and that lack of marksmanship prevented them from holding more than a 33-32 lead at intermission.
Moraine, which had concluded the half on a 19-9 run, jumped ahead soon after play resumed but couldn’t maintain an edge. It was in front 47-41 midway through the session, but then SSC outscored the Cyclones 21-12 over the next several minutes to move ahead for good.
Aiding the winners’ cause greatly was a 17-of-20 performance at the foul line.
Two more losses followed for Moraine (5-16) last week, as McHenry (86-73) and Elgin (72-69) colleges doled out ISCC setbacks on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively.
Ward (16 points, seven assists, four rebounds), Paul Ostruskevicius (14 points, four rebounds), Harris (12 points, eight rebounds), Kaiser (eight points, seven rebounds) and Denton Wallace (eight points) led the way for the Cyclones versus the Scots, while Johnte Shannon powered Moraine with a season-high 35 points opposite the Spartans. Shannon complemented his scoring with five rebounds, five assists and three steals.
Also chipping in on Thursday were Ward (18 points, eight rebounds, six assists, four steals) and Harris (six points, 11 rebounds).
The female Cyclones’ loss to South Suburban was even more gut-wrenching than the men’s had been. Moraine’s women’s own bout of cold shooting cost them against the Bulldogs, and the South Holland crew squeezed out a 77-76 triumph on Jan. 18.
The two teams engaged in a low-scoring contest through the first 12 minutes of the opening half and were locked in an 8-all tie. But SSC’s offense finally awakened and pulled into a double-digit advantage, and the Cyclones only got as close as 40-29 by halftime when Moraine’s Ashley Cunningham beat the buzzer with a shot.
SSC threatened to blow the game open with a 10-3 surge at the start of the second half, but three consecutive 3-point baskets from Katie McGann engineered an 11-0 run and brought the Cyclones back into the chase. Another 10-0 blitz then lifted Moraine into a 62-57 lead, an edge that was maintained until the late going.
SSC prevailed by sinking a putback at the buzzer. The outcome overshadowed McGann’s 32-point exhibition, which included 24 points in the second half. Eight of her buckets were 3-pointers.
Also in double figures for the Cyclones was Stagg grad Maggie Yandel, who scored 16 points.
Unlike Moraine’s men, the women bounced back in their ensuing contest and notched a win. McHenry College was no match for the Cyclones, who rolled to an 88-36 victory last Tuesday.
McGann paced Moraine with 18 points, which included five more 3s. That gave her 21 baskets in 41 long-range tries over a four-game stretch. Jamilla Jones (15 points, 20 rebounds), Amber Hunter (13 points, seven rebounds) and Nicole Maloney (three 3-pointers) were other contributors for the Cyclones, who were ahead 51-13 after 20 minutes.
Moraine chalked up another ISCC win on Thursday by beating Elgin 60-53. The Cyclones prospered despite shooting just 19 percent in the first half and totaling only 21 points.
Fortunately for Moraine, its defense was staunch and the Spartans’ halftime lead stood at just four points. With two McGann 3s and some key steals spurring them, the Cyclones finally overtook Elgin at 36-32 and never again fell in arrears.
Jones once again registered a double-double with 13 points and 16 rebounds, while Nariman Jaber posted one of her own by finishing with 10 points, 11 rebounds and nine blocks. Yandel (18 points, six rebounds, five steals) and McGann (nine points) also made their presences felt.