March 13, 2014
BENTON HARBOR, MI - The gymnasium at Lake Michigan College’s Flash Pep Rally was barely lit Wednesday due to weather-related power failure, but the crowd of students, staff, and community members were on fire for the women’s and men’s basketball teams.
For the first time in school history, the men’s and women’s basketball teams will both compete in the National NJCAA tournaments in the same year. Women’s Coach Jason Cooper recognized the power of the excitement from the fans and the players.
“We knocked out the electricity at the school today!”
Student Senate President Miranda Bachman, Vice President of Student Services Dr. Clint Gabbard, Men’s Coach Doug Schaffer, and President Dr. Bob Harrison also spoke at the rally.
“Athletics is a great laboratory for all the soft skills employers are looking for today,” said Gabbard.
Both Red Hawks teams won their regional conferences. The women are NJCAA District G Champions, winning the 12 West Regional Championship, and will go the NJCAA National Tournament in Overland Park, Kansas. This is their third consecutive appearance at nationals.
Several individual players were recognized by the conference. Lexi Hobbs was named Western Conference Player of the Year and Hobbs and DeYanna Styles were each named to the All-Region 12 1st Team and to the All-MCCAA team. Sabrina Trujillo and Kaitlyn Smith were named to the District G All-Tournament Team. Trujillo was also named to the Western Conference All-Freshman Team. Coach Cooper was named Western Conference Coach of the Year.
The men are NJCAA District 9 Champions, winning the 12 West Regional Championship to go to the NJCAA National Tournament in Danville, Illinois. This is the first time since 2005 that LMC’s men’s team has made it to the national tournament.
The Red Hawk’s Ken Coates was named NJCAA District 9 Most Valuable Player, and was named to the All-Region 12 1st Team, the All-MCCAA team, and the All-Western Conference 1st team. Alec Brown, Loren Johnson, and Roy Napier were given All-Western Conference Honorable Mentions. Johnson was also named to the MCCAA Western Conference all-defensive team.
Schaffer told the crowd, “What I’m most proud of is that all these women and men are even better people than they are basketball players.” He acknowledged the men’s “ups and downs” this season, but he said, “now we’re the only team in our conference left standing.”
The LMC Cheer Team and Rocky the Red Hawk led the crowd in chanting, “We are LMC” as the rally ended…and the power came back on in the gymnasium.