IVCC men's and women's basketball season in full swing
The Illinois Valley Community College (IVCC) men’s and women’s basketball season is underway, and both teams have high expectations for the year.
The men’s side started its regular season Nov. 3 with a game against Moraine Valley Community College (MVCC) at the Triton Classic in River Grove. The Eagles won the game in convincing fashion, 99-67. The Eagles lost the second game of the tournament, falling 88-78 against Triton College. IVCC played its first home game of the year Nov. 7 against St. Ambrose University and recorded a 91-71 win. Then the Eagles dropped a close game against Lincoln College, falling 92-88.
IVCC has a young team this season, with only three players returning from last year. One of the key returning players for the Eagles is Keymonta Johnson. Last season, Johnson averaged 12 points and seven rebounds per game. Johnson started the season with two strong performances, in the first two games of the year. He recorded back-to-back double-doubles with 33 points and 16 rebounds against MVCC and 21 points and 10 rebounds against Triton.
The other two returning players for the men’s team are Isaiah Tubbs and Jalen Latham, who both graduated from LaSalle-Peru High School. Last year, Tubbs averaged seven points and nearly five rebounds a game, and Latham averaged three points and four rebounds per game.
One newcomer to watch is Julian Jones, who comes to IVCC from Decatur and played high school ball at Decatur Eisenhower High School. He was a key member of DEHS’s 3A Taylorville Regional title-winning team in 2016. In the regional title game, Jones scored 15 points.
Last year was one of the best seasons in recent memory for IVCC. The Eagles won the Arrowhead Conference title and qualified for the NJCAA Division II Region IV tournament. The team hopes to put together another successful year.
The women’s team opened its season Nov. 4 with an 81-74 win over Morton College. The Eagles dropped the next game, falling to MVCC 79-68. After the loss, IVCC bounced back and won back-to-back games. The first game was a 77-74 nail-biter over Waubonsee Community College. Then the Eagles knocked off Malcolm X College, 76-58. In the next game, Lincoln College ended IVCC’s winning streak, blowing the Eagles out 107-62.
IVCC will have a balanced mix of experienced and new players, with six players returning from last year’s team and six players joining the team. One key returning player is Daniela Pavlovich, who put up 29 points in the Eagles win over Morton College. Pavlovich showed that she is a deep threat during the win over Morton, with five 3-pointers.
Another player to watch is point guard Hunter Wright, who is also a strong shooter. Against Waubonsee, Wright scored 12 points and hit three 3-pointers.
One area the Eagles could be lacking coming into this season is rebounding. Last season, the team was ranked in the top 10 in the nation in rebounding but lost Hannah Wolfe, who averaged eight rebounds a game, and Hanna Bima averaged six rebounds a game. Freshman Lexi Marx and sophomore Cassidy Murphy will try to fill the gap in the post for IVCC this year.
The men’s and women’s seasons will run throughout the winter, with the final regular season game coming in late February.