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KC Blue Angels Basketball Having a Stellar Season

Kaskaskia College Athletic Director and Blue Angels Basketball coach Shane Larson, recently expressed just how thankful he is to be a part of the KC Community and for the support he has received over the last few years as a coach. 

“It’s been excellent.  It’s been great,” Larson said.  “KC provided us, my family and I, a great opportunity, a great environment down here.  The support for athletics from the administration, the board, and the KC community has been great.”

In the three years Larson has been head coach, the Blue Angels have had the resources and guidance to significantly improve.  The recruiting process has brought in a very talented group of players to Kaskaskia College.  Larson hopes that in the coming week KC will rise into the top 25 of the Division 1 NJCAA rankings, and it would not be a surprise after their taking the game against Vincennes’ Trailblazers along with a win on Saturday’s upcoming match against Olney Central. 

He and his Blue Angels have made quite a mark this year, with a record of 22-2, with one of their two losses being to Vincennes earlier in the season.  However, the loss would be mended in the rematch game last Wednesday, this time on the Angels’ home court. 

This year the Blue Angels have been able to take away the first sweep of conference games unlike previous years. 

“The big games for us have been Wabash, SWIC, and winning at Lakeland,” Larson said.   

This year, the Blue Angels are in control and need not depend on other teams to lose to stay in contention. 

                A successful season needs a group of five or more individuals who work well not only alone but also with each other.  A successful season needs also a successful plan or strategy, a key if you will, and that key for the girls is speed.  Steals, blocked shots, rebounds, fast breaks, and layups are what define the Blue Angels’ winning strategy.  Larson stresses that the team is at their best when able to get across the court at a fast pace.  They do well enough taking the ball down the court and setting up a normal offense; however, their biggest bite is delivered with agility and speed in the fast break. 

                “Our strength over the last three years has been in the transition game.  I like to think that we’re the fastest team in the conference,” Larson said.  “I think if we can be focused and play our best game, there’s nobody on our schedule that we can’t beat down the stretch here.”

                The Blue Angels looked focused right from the tip off in Wednesday night’s rematch against the Trailblazers.  Although Vincennes is not in KC’s conference, each and every Angel had the fight and will to avenge their only loss of the season.  Speed was the key.  The Trailbrazers would not go down easily however, and the first half showcased many ups and downs for the Angels.  Just when the Angels would start to break away with a lead, Vincennes was there to fight back with a three point shot, which the team greatly relied on.  It would not be until the second half of the competition that KC could really stretch out the lead and blow their competition out of the water.  The majority of the Angel’s points came off of the fast break after a rebound or blocked shot.  Layups were a frequent occurrence, as well as the occasional field goal around the box.  Kierra Graves, who has been a tremendous guard and high scorer for the Blue Angels all season long, led her team with a solid 22 points, most of which came from fast break layups, drives, and four free throws.  Graves ranks fourth at the national level with 26.1 points per game.  Off the bench, Chelsea Stone followed up with 17 points of her own, and Makeba Elliott followed Stone with 13.  Other scorers for the Blue Angles included:  Zairra Harris scoring 10, Jessica Warren, who is ranked ninth in shots blocked, and Maronda Evans both scoring 8, and Morgan Hawkins and Hanna Bergkoeter both with 4.  All starters and bench players contributed to the 86-65 victory, which put the Blue Angels one win short of a 20 win season so far. 

There are a new cycle of nine conference games left on schedule, and we are all hoping that the Blue Angels keep doing what they are doing, and continue to be successful as the latter half of the season awaits them.

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