The holiday season was mostly quiet for most local college athletes. However, semester number two is ready to gear up and players are looking to build up on a strong finish to the first half of the schedules.
Former Northview Knights headed into their respective winter breaks with some strong efforts.
At Olney Central College, Austin Akers led the Blue Knights to a 80-72 victory over Parkland, a team that had previously beaten OCC and came into the match-up on a six-game winning streak. However, on this night, Akers scored 20 of his 24 points in the second half to lead OCC to an 80-72 victory. Akers also contributed three rebounds and four assists. The win was a measure of revenge for the Blue Knights, who lost to Parkland 75-71 on November 2.
In the win that sent Olney Central into break with an 8-4 overall record, the Blue Knights hit 21-of-24 shots from the line in the second half. Former Terre Haute South standout, John Michael Jarvis, had nine points and nine steals.
The Blue Knights won eight-of-nine games heading into the break.
Four days earlier, the Blue Knights fell behind early and couldn't quite reach the summit in a furious rally that saw OCC fall 86-80. Olney trailed by as many as 20 points in the second half and cut the deficit to four with under 11 seconds to go, but couldn't get past Lincoln.
Akers struggled with his shot in the game, hitting just three-of-15 shots from the field, but still had four steals, five assists and three rebounds to go with eight points. Jarvis had 19 points in the loss.
Over the first 12 games, Akers has averaged 33 minutes per game and 13.7 ppg. He's leading the team in scoring and is second in 3-point shooting at 40.4 percent (23-of-57). The most impressive statistic is perhaps an assist/turnover ratio of 4-1 (4.8 assists per game to just 1.7 turnovers per contest. Jarvis is second on the team with a scoring average of 13.2 ppg. and the freshman leads the team in 3-point shooting at 40.5 percent (32-of-79).
Olney is back in action Wednesday (Jan.5) with a home game against New Creations Prep at 7:30 p.m. (CST).
At Danville Community College, Kirstin Kimball, a 6'0 sophomore from Northview High School, has averaged just under five points per game for the Lady Jaguars and is third on the team with 5.7 rebounds per contest and is grabbing almost two offensive rebounds per game.
In a Nov. 19 game against Triton College, Kimball had nine points and 13 rebounds.
Danville is back in action on Jan. 13 against Illinois Central College.
The Lincoln Christian University Red Lions and Northview grad, Josiah Brock defeated the Cougars of Kuyper College on Dec. 11 to head into the holiday break. Brock, a 6'5 senior, had 10 points for the Red Lions in the 76-66 victory.
The Red Lions are back on the court Friday when they take on Lindenwood University in Belleville, Ill.
At Hanover College, Terre Haute North graduate Molly Martin became the school's all-time leading scorer with a 16-point effort against Heidelberg University (Ohio) in the Trip Sports Las Vegas Hoopla Tourney on Dec. 21.
The 10-0 Panthers are off to the best start in school history after a 71-70 victory on Dec. 30 over Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
At Oakland City, Center Point resident and Shakamak High School graduate, Billy Newton, is a freshman along with Owen Valley grads, Jared Maners (Sr.), Mitch Stahl (So.) and Randall Lientz (Fr.).
Newton started and tallied four points and three rebounds in a 96-88 win against West Virginia-Parkersburg. Maners rang up 33 points and 11 assists on 13-of-22 shooting and Stahl had 32 points for the 8-7 Oaks.
In a narrow loss to Ohio University-Chillicothe, 63-62, Newton had 12 points and eight rebounds. On Dec. 12, Oakland City took on Indiana State University and, despite an 86-42 loss, Newton had 12 points and seven rebounds in 33 minutes.
Indoor track and field
Several Northview graduates are preparing for indoor track and field in the 2011 season with Shelby Sands and Kylee Thacker at Indiana State.
Thacker, a Sycamore sophomore, competed in the mile, 3,000 and 5,000 meters last season. Her personal best in the mile was 5:23, 10:30 in the 3,000 meters and 18:16 in the 5,000 meters.
Thacker is the Northview High School record holder in cross-country at the 4K distance (11:20) and in the 3,200 (11:20) in track. She was all-conference in cross-country for three years and in track for two years.
Sands is entering her first collegiate track season after competing in cross-country during the fall. She ran a 22:36 to place 38th in the Open Division at the Indiana Intercollegiates.
Sands opened her college track career by running the 1,000 meters and placing seventh at the Eastern Illinois Early Bird Meet with a time of 3:38.26.
Northview graduate Conor Strain is also entering his freshman season in track and field after a high school career in which he was All-Conference five times and was a three-time conference champion.
Former North Central High School standout, Shelby Higginbottom is also a freshman at ISU and got the indoor season started with the Sycamores by placing sixth in the 800 meters at the Eastern Illinois Early Bird Meet on Dec. 10. She ran a time of 2:21.52 for the Sycamores. Eastern Illinois' Erika Ramos won the event in 2:13.96. She also competed for the second-place ISU 4x400 relay team that ran a 3:54.80 to finish just behind University of Cincinnati's team that finished in 3:53.66.
In the long jump, Higginbottom was the runner-up with a leap of 17-5 ¼.
Shakamak graduate Drew Gambill is also a freshman at ISU and competed in the 1,000 meters in the meet where he placed fifth in 2:35.80 behind a winning time of 2:31.
The Sycamores' next meet is on Jan. 15, the lone home meet for ISU that begins at noon.
In the northern portion of the state, the Indiana Tech track and field team now includes former Knight, Samantha Solomon, who is a freshman with the NAIA Warriors.
Solomon got her first indoor meet out of the way before Christmas at Grand Valley State University in Michigan.
Solomon led the team with a fourth-place finish in the shot put with a heave of 36-2 ¼.
Solomon was a three-time conference champ at Northview and also a three-time sectional champion in the discus and a state qualifier. She was a three-time track MVP with the Knights.
Next up for the Warriors is a Jan. 21 meet back at Grand Valley State beginning at noon.
At the University of Southern Indiana, John Latta is hoping to follow a strong cross country season with a successful track and field season in the middle and long distance events.
Last season he competed in the mile, the 3,000 meters and the distance medley and he was 11th in the 3,000 meters at the conference championship meet. USI will travel to its first meet on Jan. 21 at the Gladstein Invitational in Bloomington.
Taylor University junior Adam Schroer, a Clay City graduate is coming off an appearance in the NAIA National Championship Meet and looks to bring that success to track season that begins on Feb. 5 at Marion's Indiana Wesleyan Invite.
Cole Schroer is a senior at the University of Southern Indiana and competes in the combined events. He finished seventh in the heptathlon at the GLVC Championships and helped the 4x100 relay team to a sixth-place and the 4x400 relay team to a seventh-place. He competed in seven different events during the indoor season in 2010.
At Division III Hanover, Northview graduate Andrea Thomas will begin her senior season, but a 2011 schedule was unavailable.