January 23, 2014

JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – There aren’t too many junior college teams nationwide playing better basketball right now than John A. Logan College.

The Volunteers soared to their eighth consecutive win Monday afternoon in Carterville, throttling Lewis and Clark College, 96-64, in Region 24 play. The Godfrey-based school had won six of its last seven games prior to Monday’s beatdown.

The Trailblazers actually led Logan 21-20 with 10 minutes left to play in the first half, but that would be the last lead the visitors would enjoy. The Vols quickly got on track offensively as led by sophomore guards DeVaughn Johnson (14 points and eight rebounds) and Darien Walker (14 points and five rebounds) and outscored Lewis and Clark 29-6 over the next 10 minutes to take a commanding 49-27 lead into the break.

The rout continued long into the second half as the Vols pushed their advantage to 25 and then 30-plus points.

“The guys played hard,” said Logan head coach Kyle Smithpeters. “Being so early in the day, I was a little worried about how we would play. There was a lot of quick preparation for this game. And at the beginning of the game, I thought we were a little complacent, but about midway through the first half, we really turned up the intensity and the results showed.”

Smithpeters said his two freshman bigs (Russell Woods and Jordan Martin) have made huge strides offensively the last couple of weeks. Woods finished with 12 points and four rebounds. Martin checked in with 11 points and three rebounds.

“They’re getting mentored very well by our sophomore bigs, Jay Johnson (seven points and eight rebounds) and Kaylen Shane (four points and six rebounds),” Smithpeters said. “They’ve done a good job of talking to them on the floor during games and in practice. You can see it’s making a difference.”

For the game, Logan shot 50 percent from the field (30-of-60); was 6-of-16 from long range (38 percent); and 30-of-44 from the free-throw line (68 percent).

“A lot of it is just the shots we’re getting now,” Smithpeters said. “When you get the ball inside, teams have to worry about our big guys. Their guards are trying to double down on us and that just frees up our outside game. We’re sharing the basketball and really doing a good job of keeping the defense on tilt. Right now, we’re playing hard and having fun. And that’s a very good recipe for success.”

The Vols also outrebounded the Trailblazers 43-to-35.

Logan (10-5 overall) travels to Mattoon Wednesday to take on Lake Land College, which was in first place in the Great Rivers Athletic Conference going into Monday night’s game with Wabash Valley. The Vols are 4-1 in league play, one game out.

Lewis and Clark falls to 8-9 overall.