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Marion County College Report

Williams leads Kaskaskia
to 4th place at NJCAA nationals

The last three weeks of Whitney Williams' life have been very memorable.

Partly because of those three memorable weeks, the Centralia graduate will have an opportunity to play on for two more years.

That would have happened anyway, but now there are a few more four-year schools interested in Williams after she led the Kaskaskia Blue Angels to a fourth place finish in the NJCAA Tournament and was named as the Most Valuable Player of the NJCAA Division I Region 24 tourney. She was also named to the NJCAA Division I All-Tournament Team.

"That brought tears to my eyes," Williams of being honored as the MVP. "At nationals, I was very nervous. But, it was a great type of nervousness. It was the adrenaline type, not the butterfly type. Those girls at nationals were big and physical."

KC defeated Howard College (61-55) and Connors State College (74-60), before losing to Central Arizona College (89-54) and Chipola College (81-74). Central Arizona eventually won the NJCAA Division I Nationals. Connors State entered the contest with the third seed, while KC was ranked 11th in the country.

Williams had her best game against Connors State with 16 points on three field goals and 10 free throws. She completed an impressive double-double with 17 rebounds.

Williams had another double-double in KC's NJCAA opener against Howard, finishing with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Williams ended her junior college career by scoring 19 against Chipola College. The 5-foot-9 sophomore nailed 8-of-15 field goals and 3-of-4 free throws. Central Arizona managed to hold her to six points and eight rebounds.

Williams, who was one of 12 players named to the all-tournament team, helped KC finish 27-8 overall. They were 16-0 in the Great Rivers Athletic Conference. Williams finished the year with 474 points and 295 rebounds, respective averages of 13.5 and 8.4 per game. She also had 101 steals, 79 assists and 17 blocked shots. She hit 173-of-353 field goals and 123-of-169 free throws.

In the end, Williams led the team in points scored, points per game, rebounds, steals and blocked shots.

"I know that appearing in the NJCAA Division I Tournament will help me get recruited to a four-year school," she said. "Athletes that come to KC in the future will know that it is possible to make it to nationals."...

United States Air Force Academy senior Kim Kreke, a Salem grad, scored nine points in the final game of her collegiate career as the Falcons lost 84-41 to New Mexico in the first round of the of the Mountain West Conference Tournament. Kreke also had five rebounds and two steals. The USAF Lady Falcons finished with a 4-26 mark. They were 0-16 in the Mountain West. ...

Kristen Barrow , a Centralia grad and DePauw University player, recently finished her basketball season. Barrow played in 12 games and finished the year with four points and nine rebounds and averaged 3.3 minutes per game.

DePauw finished the year with a 22-6 overall record. They were 12-2 in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference. ...

Men's Basketball

Metro-East Lutheran grad Andy Wolff, a Centralia resident, finished his basketball season in the NAIA Elite Eight. The McKendree University sophomore played in each game and helped McKendree down Northwestern Oklahoma State (83-58) and Texas Wesleyan (87-75) in the first two rounds.

Wolff had his best game of nationals in McKendree’s 59-55 elimination loss to MidAmerica Nazarene University. Wolff finished with eight points, five rebounds and two steals in the loss. McKendree finished the year with a 30-6 overall record and a perfect 14-0 in the American Midwest Conference. ...

Golf

Salem graduate and McKendree ballstriker Miranda Gibson shot a 187 to place 15th overall at the Piedmont Spring Invitational on the Creek at Hard Labor layout in Rutledge, Ga. McKendree finished third with a tram stroke count of 740. Tennessee Wesleyan College won the outing with a 682. ...

Baseball

Kyle Walker, a Centralia grad and Coker College senior, was a perfect 4-for-4 with a walk in Coker's 19-4 decision over Paine College. Walker drove home five runs, scored twice and stole one base. Coker is 14-12 overall and 2-5 in the Conference Carolinas. ...

The McKendree University baseball team is 8-11 through 19 games. Centralia graduate Craig Session, a McKendree senior, has played in 15 games and started 14. He has eight hits (three doubles, one homer), 11 RBI, eight walks and four runs scored.

Odin grad Alex Young, a McKendree sophomore pitcher, is 1-2. Over his 14 2/3 innings of work, Young has allowed five earned runs on 19 hits. He has struck out 10 batters and walked four. ...

Former Centralia player Dayton Spears, a Kaskaskia sophomore, had a pair of multiple hit games within the past two weeks. In an 11-3 win over the McKendree University JV squad team, Spears was 2-for-4 with one homer, two runs scored and an RBI. In an 8-7 loss to Forest Park, Spears was 2-for-4 and drove home one run. KC is 15-6-1. ...

Softball

Amanda Brendel, a Salem grad and Southern Indiana softball player, was 3-for-3 with a double in USI's 3-2 win over Northern State. Brendel drove home one and scored one in the win. She also had a multiple-hit game against Dowling College, finishing 2-for-3 with a solo homer, two RBI and one run scored. Both contests took place at the NCAA Division II Rebel Spring Games in Kissimmee, Fla. USI is 7-15. ...

Kristin Barrow is also involved in softball at DePauw. Through the first 14 games, the former Centralia player has pitched eight innings allowing three earned runs on seven hits for a 2.62 earned run average. Barrow has fanned four hitters and walked four and has no wins, losses or saves. DePauw is 10-4 overall and 4-0 in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference. ...

Track

Salem grad Justin Helpingstine started his outdoor season at the University of Georgia Relays. The Eastern Illinois runner teamed with three other Panthers to finish third in the 3,200-meter relay with a time of 7-minutes, 43.90-seconds. Helpingstine also helped the EIU Panthers take fourth in the distance medley relay. The Panthers crossed the finish line in 10:16.04. The Georgia Relays were not scored. ...