Lady Skippers close season with 4th in NJCAA tournament

The Lady Skippers took fourth in the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II National Tournament, ending the season with a record of 32-3.

In addition to placing in the tournament, the Skippers claimed three championships this season: the Michigan Community College Athletic Association Eastern Conference and state championships, and the NJCAA District H championship.

At the tournaments, the Skippers beat Elgin Community College 71-64, and they proceeded to win the quarterfinal the next day against South Suburban College, 65-64. 

In the semifinal and third place games, Mesa Community College and Illinois Central College defeated the Skippers 64-54 and 70-51, respectively.

On March 26, the players and coaches gathered in the gym to celebrate and receive recognition for their achievements.

Athletic Director Dale Vos, Vice President of Student Services Pete Lacey and Coach Mike Groulx congratulated the Skippers at the rally.

“Ladies, thank you so much for the effort and the desire and the teamwork that you displayed. Not just in the last week, but throughout the entire season,” Vos said.

Vos encouraged the Skippers to remember their experiences as well as their individual losses and victories.

“Only you guys know how much work you put into it. Only you guys know the days that weren’t so great. And only you guys know the days that were really great, and that’s something that you guys, that you players and the three coaches will share forever.”

Groulx thanked the team and praised their development.

The goal for the year, he said, was to go to the national tournament; he believed that if they were good enough to do that, other challenges would fall into place.

“We went and played for the league championship. I told the girls, ‘Just get better tonight; win or lose you need to get better tonight—become a better basketball team.’ ”

This was the second year Groulx coached the Skippers to the national tournaments.

“We get down to Illinois and it’s a lot different this year,” he said. “Last year we were like a deer in headlights. This year we had a real swagger. I could tell. I was able to walk those halls knowing we were one of the best teams in the country there.”

Rachael Pittiglio

Sports Editor

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