LMC coach said “Have Fun”

LMC basketball Coach Patrick Daniel gives instructions to Danielle Shaffer before she enters the game against Lansing CC. LMC beat the Stars 82-62, advancing to the second round of the NJCAA District G Tournament.

LMC coach said “Have Fun”

By Tom O’Neill

            Lake Michigan College women’s basketball coach, Patrick Daniel, gave each of his players a card before their game with Lansing CC Tuesday. Inside were words of encouragement and how much he loved this team. I told them, “No matter what happens tonight, go out and have fun.”

            They followed the coach’s instruction, cruising to an 82-62 first round win in the NJCAA District G Tournament. They’ll face first place Muskegon, Friday, in Port Huron, a team they split with during the regular season.

            The Red Hawks used a tenacious defense allowing the visitors just four first quarter baskets and one three-pointer, building a 29-11 advantage. It didn’t get any better for the Stars in the second quarter as LMC players were all smiles, extending the lead, 49-24.

            Raasheedah Harris, who has played despite injuries over the last several games, had 13 first half points as the Hawks controlled the boards 20-8 and shot 63.6 percent from the field.

             Lansing regrouped during halftime, outscoring LMC 11-4 to start off the third quarter before Miriah Mireles’ three-pointer. “We relaxed a little bit defensively,” explained Daniel. Despite several LMC turnovers, Lansing gained just three points, 69-47.

            The fourth quarter looked similar, Lansing off to a 5-0 start before Harris scored and got the bonus. Emily Atsinger then dropped two at the line as did Harris.  The Hawks lost team leading scorer, Jade Mosier, with her fifth foul at 7:42 and had to adjust to full court pressure from the Stars. LMC would finish 11/15 at the foul line in the quarter.

Harris finished with 22 points and eight assists, the Hawks shooting 48.4 percent from the field and controlling the boards 50-26.  Harris said Daniel’s note told her he was her biggest fan and supported me. “I went out and played the way I knew I could. It was win or go home and I wasn’t ready to go home. He (Daniel) said to play with confidence and have fun.”

Mireles, who had her own cheering section from Hartford, finished with 18 points and seven rebounds. Freshman Emily Atsinger scored 17 points and Brooke Becker 12, pulling down eight rebounds.

“We were a little loose with the basketball in the second half,” noted Daniel. “We’ve got to do better taking care of the ball. We had fun tonight. One down, two to go.”

LMC (21-8) will tipoff Friday at 3 PM against Muskegon (22-6) at St. Clair County CC.   Muskegon beat the Hawks, 74-68, on their court. LMC returned the favor, winning 71-69 at the Hawk’s Nest. The JayHawks received a first-round bye in the District G Tournament, playing Eastern Conference winner, Macomb CC. Muskegon, ranked 18th nationally, beat the Monarchs, 65-51, winning the MCCAA Championship.

Men fall to Jackson

Jackson Community College defeated LMC 112-88 in the first round of the District 9 Tournament in Jackson. The Jets (18-11) will face Grand Rapids (21-9) Thursday at St. Clair CC in Port Huron. LMC finished 14-16 overall.

“We just couldn’t get the stops,” explained LMC Coach Jeremy Schaeffer. “They had 19 threes in the game. They got it rolling and we just couldn’t run them off the three-point line.” LMC trailed 51-46 at the half, but were outscored 61-42 in the second half.

Gavin Rassler had 25 points in his final game as a Red Hawk. Senior Deion Gatson added 18 while freshman Kharie Williams scored 15. The Jets placed six players in double figures led by DeVaughn Munson’s 24 points.

The Red Hawks were 10-8 in conference play, improving from last year’s 8-10. Their overall record increased by three wins over 2017. “We play in tough league and took on five ranked teams,” noted Schaeffer. With eight returning freshmen, Schaeffer says he’s got some work to do on the recruiting trail. “We’re going to continue to push ourselves to take on best.”