The Wayne Stater

Wildcat basketball season cut short

St. Cloud and St. Paul ended the Wildcats’ season

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Photo by Adam Bentjen

Photo by Adam Bentjen

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DaQuan Samuel, Staff Writer

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The Wayne State men’s and women’s basketball teams both had their seasons cut short in the opening round of the NSIC Sanford Health Basketball Tournament.

The first round of the men’s tournament was held in St. Cloud, Minnesota, while the women’s tournament was held at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

The St. Cloud State Huskies defeated the men’s team 81-57 Wednesday evening to improve to 22-7 and end the ’Cats season at 14-17. Wayne State started out hot and took a 12-4 lead in the first five minutes of the contest.

“I think experience was the biggest factor,” said junior guard Kendall Jacks. “We had seven seniors this year to help lead the team and knowing what to expect was the key to a good start.”

St. Cloud went on to score the next 13 points to take a 17-12 lead and never lost it. With 6:13 left in the first half, the Huskies lead had grown to a 26-14 advantage.

The Wildcats battled back and cut the deficit to as little as six at 30-24 on a Tony Bonner jumper with 3:18 to play before halftime, but the Huskies closed the half strong and took a 39-28 lead at intermission.

“We had to start being the aggressor on both ends of the court,” Jacks said.

SCSU took a 14-point lead to start the second half at 44-30, WSC went on to score eight straight points and back-to-back baskets by Jacks got the Wildcats within six again at 44-38.

The Huskies scored the next seven points to take a double digit lead, which never fell below 10 points again as they went on to secure the 81-57 lead.

Junior Trevin Joseph scored 13 points for the Wildcats followed by Jordan Cornelius with 12 and Vance Janssen added in 11. WSC shot 43.6 percent from the field on 24 of 55, but were just 1 of 11 from the 3-point range and shot 8 for 9 at the free throw line.

Thursday morning Jacks was announced to the 2018 NSIC All-Conference Men’s Basketball Team by the league office in Burnsville, Minnesota, receiving Honorable Mention All-NSIC honors.

“It’s a good feeling to be recognized,” Jacks said. “It’s really a credit to my teammates, I wouldn’t get that kind of recognition without them.”

The 6-10 guard from Bettendorf, Iowa, who was a Second Team All-NSIC selection last season, led the Wildcats in scoring, rebounding and assists this season. Jacks averaged 13.7 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game shooting 50.5 percent from the field on 331 attempts and 79.4 percent at the free throw line on 97 attempts.

He scored double figures in 25 of 31 games this season and had eight games of 20 or more points and scored 28 points at Concordia-St. Paul on Dec. 1. Jacks started in all but two games in his three years in a Wildcat uniform and currently ranks 20th in career scoring with 1,128 points.

The women’s team was upset by the Concordia-St. Paul Golden Bears by a score of 80-70 in the NSIC Sanford Health Women’s Basketball Tournament quarterfinals Sunday afternoon.

The Wildcats end the season at 25-7 while Concordia- St. Paul advanced to the semifinals with a 13-17 record.

The ’Cats started the game slow and found themselves trailing 18-8 in the opening 5:30 of the contest. The Golden Bears extended their lead, making 10 of 18 shots in the opening quarter, and finished with a 25-15 lead going into the second.

“I went in kind of like any other game, I knew it was a big deal to be there, but I tried to remain calm and play the best that I could,” said senior Paige Ballinger.

After WSC made the first two baskets of the second quarter to get within six at 25-19, CSP scored the next eight points for a 33-19 lead. The Wildcats closed the half with a 12-4 run, using a Kacie O’Connor 3-pointer right before halftime to cut the Concordia-St. Paul lead to 39-33 at halftime.

CSP scored the first six points of the second half to increase the lead back to double digits at 45-33 with 8:05 to play in the third quarter. The Wildcats scored the next 13 points and took their first lead of the game at 46-45 on an Andrea Larson jumper with 3:30 to play in the third quarter.

“Our plan was to just shoot our shots and execute the plays and play our game,” Ballinger said. “We just kept punching away trying to get stops on defense and then execute on offense.”

After the Golden Bears regained the lead and were in front 51-47, WSC closed the third quarter with a Ballinger basket to trail by one point 53-52 entering the fourth quarter.

Ballinger scored a basket to open the fourth quarter and gave WSC its second lead of the game at 54-53. Following two straight CSP baskets, WSC used a layup from Maggie Schulte and a 3-pointer from Maggie Lowe to take a 59-57 lead.

The two teams exchanged baskets back and forth and a three-point play put the Golden Bears in front 66-63. The ’Cats got as close as two on a Larson 3-pointer with 46 seconds left in the game making the score 72-70.

The Golden Bears then secured the victory with eight straight free throws to clinch the upset win for Concordia-St. Paul.

“It’s been a long, hard four years but I wouldn’t trade it for anything, I’ve made amazing lifelong friends along the way and I couldn’t have done the things I’ve done without my teammates,” Ballinger said after the game.

Senior forward Maggie Schulte led Wayne State in scoring with 16 points followed by Ballinger with 15. Andrea Larson and Brittany Bongartz also hit double figures with 10 points each.

Wayne State-shot 45.2 percent from the field on 28 of 62 shooting as well as 3 of 10 from the 3-point line and 11 for 14 at the free throw line.

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Wildcat basketball season cut short