One of the beauties of conference play in college sports is the fact that every game is important. Win one and you’re in good shape. Lose, and you quickly find yourself in a tough spot. Salt Lake Community College basketball experienced this as they faced North Idaho College on Thursday and College of Southern Idaho on Saturday in Scenic West Athletic Conference (SWAC) action.
The contest against NIC would be particularly crucial for the Lady Bruins. Though SLCC entered Thursday atop the conference with a 4-1 record, North Idaho was just a game behind at 3-2. A victory would give SLCC a two game cushion in the standings, while a loss would allow the Cardinals to pull into a tie for the league’s best record. Unfortunately for SLCC, the standings were even when the final buzzer sounded as this battle went to the Cardinals, 70-64. Haley Holmstead led the Bruins in scoring once again, putting up 20.
Fourth in the SWAC standings coming into Thursday, the Cardinal men were looking to steal one from the Bruins. They did exactly that, beating SLCC 72-59. The 59 Bruin points was a big departure from the 95 that they put up last weekend against Snow. Alfonzo Hubbard did his usual thing, scoring 22 points, but his steady sidekicks Patrick McCollum and Given Kalipinde managed just 13 points combined.
Saturday was slightly brighter as the Bruins traveled from Coeur d’Alene to Twin Falls to face the College of Southern Idaho Golden Eagles. In a contest that went down to the wire, Jami Mokofisi sealed the deal at the foul line, and the Lady Bruins found themselves atop the scoreboard, 60-58. Holmstead led again, scoring 26 points. Mokofisi contributed a double-double, and Alli Blake put up 13 points, 7 assists and 6 boards.
The woes continued for the men though. Even after a Jordan Bernardo 3-pointer with time winding down in the first half, SLCC found themselves losing by 14 despite strong play from Hubbard and McCollum. Things just got worse in the second frame as CSI dominated from the charity stripe, winning 97-71.
Following their win, the Lady Bruins are tied with North Idaho atop the SWAC, while the men trail Southern Idaho by two games with eight conference contests to play.
Moving from the hardwood to the diamond, Bruin baseball and softball will see their first pitches of the spring on Jan. 28 in Las Vegas. Before the season started in September, SLCC infielder Scott Manning said, “We expect to compete for the region title and hopefully move on to the regional tournament.”
As for the softball team, outfielder Kylee Bufton has equally high hopes. “We are a really fast team and we will look to use that…when we pull it all together we are hard to beat,” she said. Under coach Mary Kay Amicone, players like Krystin Jachim, Savannah Webster and Becky Simonsen will be anchoring the Bruins this season, according to Bufton. She said that NIC, CSI, and College of Southern Nevada are some of the teams that will look to give SLCC trouble when conference play starts in February.
*Due to the games being on the road, statistical information was taken from the sports websites of North Idaho College, College of Southern Idaho and slccbruins.com.
BRUINS AT HOME:
Jan. 28: Basketball vs. USU/CEU at LAC Arena. Women tip-off at 5:30 p.m. followed by men immediately after.
Jan. 29: Basketball vs. Colorado Northwestern Community College. Women tip-off at 3:00 p.m. followed by men immediately after.