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Kaskaskia Slips Past STLCC Again

December 12, 2011

Toraino Hellems  
Toraino Hellems paced the Archers' attack with 15 points
against Kaskaskia. He was one of five STLCC players in double
figures, but STLCC still dropped a  

The last time the St. Louis Community College men’s basketball saw Kaskaskia College, the Archers found themselves on the wrong end of an 87-80, overtime battle.

Sunday’s meeting between the two teams in the opener of the Rawlings Junior College Shootout didn’t require overtime, but the result was similar. The Archers fell 74-69.

The Archers jumped out to a 26-16 lead late in the first half, but were unable to maintain that advantage. The Blue Devils rallied to take a 30-28 lead into halftime and didn’t let up, outscoring the Archers 44-41 in the second half. STLCC had its last great chance when tying the game 54-54 midway through the second half, but was unable to complete the comeback.

Head coach Randy Albrecht cited the Archers’ significant size disadvantage as being a key factor in stunting an STLCC rally.

“We needed to get a lead where we could control the tempo of the game,” Albrecht said. “We have a hard time playing from behind and pressuring people, because when they’re so much bigger underneath, there’s so much pressure, and (Ryun) Davis and these other big men get in foul trouble.”

Foul trouble was certainly a theme for the Archers from their post players. Sophomore forward Kyle Rice (Kirkwood) collected his fourth foul only eight minutes into the second half, leaving Davis (McCluer North), who also picked up four fouls later in the game, as the Archers’ only post presence until the final minutes of the game. Combined with a 0-for-9 showing in second-half three-point attempts, the Archers were unable to mount a comeback against the Blue Devils.

Despite the loss, the Archers were able to continue an encouraging offensive trend they’ve developed since the opening of the season. Five different players scored at least 10 points, with sophomore guard Toraino Hellems (Oakville) leading the way with 15. Davis added 14.

The Archers are in the midst of what will likely prove to be their most difficult stretch of the season. Beginning with Wednesday’s loss to Mineral Area College, the Archers are playing four out of five games against NJCAA Division I opponents.

Though that makes for a more difficult regular season, Albrecht finds value in scheduling multiple quality opponents in short order.

“I think as long as we’re playing better as a team, correcting some of our problems, then it’s worth it,” Albrecht said. “When you play real people, you find out where you are.”

Game Notes

  • The Archers entered the game fifth in the nation in free-throw shooting at 72 percent, but only had 16 attempts from the line on Sunday, connecting on nine of them.
  • The Rawlings JUCO Shootout featured three of the top 10 winningest active coaches. Gene Bess, in his 42nd year at Three Rivers Community College, is the all-time wins leader in the NJCAA with a career record of 1,142-305. Bess and his Three Rivers team defeated Jay Harrington, who is fifth among active NJCAA coaches with 734 wins, and his Southwestern Illinois College Blue Storm during the shootout. Archers coach Randy Albrecht is ninth among active coaches in junior college victories with 697.
  • The Archers return to action Saturday (Dec. 17) at Southwestern Illinois College before closing out December at home Monday, Dec. 19, against Lincoln Land. The contest tips off at 7:30 p.m.