GODFREY – For Doug Stotler and his L&C Trailblazers, Saturday’s 92-72 victory over visiting Shawnee College was more than welcome - it was a little overdue.
“This was a really good win for us,” said Stotler, the Trailblazers’ coach. “They beat us earlier at their place. The difference was, we were competitive and we had a good game plan that the players executed.”
L&C jumped on the Saints early, then rolled to the District 16 victory at the River Bend Arena. The victory was the Trailblazers’ second against district competition and came in blowout fashion against a team that historically has given L&C problems.
L&C ran its overall record to 7-10 and to 2-8 in district action. Shawnee dropped to 9-9 overall and 3-7 in district.
Balanced scoring was the name of the game for L&C Saturday. The Trailblazers had six players in double figures, including three with 11 points each.
While Jalen Morgan led the way with 15 points, a 14-point effort from De’Laney Ortiz had Stotler encouraged.
Ortiz, a 6-foot sophomore guard from Beardstown, hadn’t played since Dec. 15 because of a torn hip labrum and was making his return to the lineup.
Also, Jehu Lafeuillee, a sophomore forward from Barbados, was making his return from an injury. He last played Jan. 5
“Having those two players back was very important,” Stotler said. “Two more bodies and in Ortiz case, more scoring as well.”
Ben Wright, Matija Radosevic and Dawson Berry each added 11 for the Trailblazers.
“Having more of a full lineup helped us get a rhythm,” Stotler said. “The way we played and the result against a good team is important.
“But I don’t want to get too carried away about this. There are a lot of things we need to work on, but it’s a step in the right direction and it’s a shot in the arm.”
L&C’s “step in the right direction” came at an opportune time in the schedule. A make-up game against Vincennes University is set for 7 p.m. Monday at the River Bend Arena.
Earlier in the season, Shawnee downed L&C 75-69 in Ullin. But Saturday, L&C raced out to a 49-27 halftime lead and never looked back.
The Trailblazers made 23-point shots, including eight in the first half. Morgan and Berry each had a pair of treys in the first half and Berry finished the game with three.
Shawnee had just two treys, both in the first half by Marquis Henry.
After the Trailblazers grabbed the big lead at halftime, there wasn’t much the Saints could do to climb back in it. Shawnee outscored L&C in the second half 45-43.
“(Shawnee) likes to penetrate the lane,” Stotler said. “We planned to stop their drivers. I thought we did a good job of guarding their dribblers and cutting down on that.”
Following Monday’s game against Vincennes, L&C will play Wednesday at Wabash Valley College in Mount Carmel, then will play host to Lincoln Trail of Robinson at 3 p.m. Feb. 2.
“You don’t get any breaks in this district,” Stotler said. “We’ll enjoy this one, but we don’t have long to think about it.”
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