Cougars pass Jeff Co Exam, 72-64
The weight of finals’ week for college students can be quite cumbersome and somewhat erratic, but with hard work, a positive end result is usually achieved. That was the case for the #5-ranked ICC women’s basketball team on Saturday afternoon, as they would bend, but not break in holding off Jefferson College 72-64 in Hillsboro, MO. The Cougars rode on the backs of Madison Faulkner (career high 20 points) and Kellyn Maynard (18 points) to head in to Christmas break with a 9-2 overall record.
ICC charged out to a 10-2 lead as Bailey Larsen converted an old-fashioned three-point play, followed by an Emma Henderson trey (assist Aubrey Magro), and two Maynard baskets (assists Magro). The teams played virtually even until the end of the quarter, and the Cougars were up 20-12.
Kathy Pinnock-Branford got in the giving mood, assisting on Larsen and Coates’ scores to start the 2nd stanza. Faulkner added six straight points (assist Coates, Henderson, Walker) capping a 10-0 run that had the Cougars flying like Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, and the Cougars took a commanding 30-12 lead. Jeff Co had two choices, roll over or fight, and they chose the second option, scoring on their next seven straight possessions to draw to within 39-34 at the half. While credit goes to the Vikings for finishing the half on a 22-9 run, it should be noted that ICC aided the hosts’ cause with four turnovers in the last three minutes of the half.
ICC kept their narrow lead thanks to two Henderson three-pointers and baskets by Maynard and Coates to hold a 49-43 lead early after the break. JC nailed a three to pull to within 49-46 at the end of the third period, but the Cougars responded with an 11-0 run to start the fourth period, including a great full court pass from Larsen to Coates for a layup, putting ICC up 60-46. Maynard, Coates, Sia Williams, and Larsen all scored during the run (with Larsen also dishing out two assists) to give ICC the cushion they needed for the stretch run. Jeff Co lingered until the final buzzer, but Coates, Faulkner and Maynard finished inside on nice feeds from Magro to help the Cougars get the win.
Bench scoring: ICC 30, JC 25
Free throws: 8-12, 67%
Faulkner (20pts, 4reb), Maynard (18pts, 3st), Coates (10pts, 5reb), Larsen (10pts, 3asts), Henderson (9pts, 3asts, 1 chg taken), Williams (5pts), Pinnock-Branford (7asts), Magro (5 asts), Walker (2asts).
The Cougars will complete finals on then head home for Christmas. They will return to action on Dec 28-30 in their own Cougar Holiday Tourney (37th annual) which features four teams ranked in the latest NJCAA Division II poll. All games will be played in Ramsey Gym on ICC’s East Peoria Campus (1 College Drive, East Peoria, IL).
December 28 Cougar Holiday Tournament games
12pm: Sauk Valley vs. #6 Kirkwood
2pm: South Suburban vs #10 Owens (OH)
4pm: #2 N. IA Area CC vs Kalamazoo Valley
6pm: McHenry County vs. #5 ICC
View the Tournament Bracket!