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Vols shoot down Shawnee in season opener

  • Marion native and John A. Logan College freshman Jackson Connor had three points for the Vols in the season opening win over Shawnee College Saturday.

    Marion native and John A. Logan College freshman Jackson Connor had three points for the Vols in the season opening win over Shawnee College Saturday.
    SPYDER DANN | mdann@dailyregister.com

 
By Spyder Dann mdann@dailyregister.com
updated: 1/23/2021 5:38 PM

Kyle Smithpeters emptied every bullet in the chamber, using all 11 players on his team, as John A. Logan College shot down Shawnee 88-64 Saturday in the season opener for both schools.
Logan, who took the court for the first time as the No. 1 ranked team in Division I of the NJCAA, was short handed four players, but still managed to finish with three players in double figures as Missouri transfer Mario McKinney and Alabama A&M transfer Cam Alford both had 21 points a piece. Romon Douglas-Watkins, the New Mexico Junior College transfer Smithpeters got Tuesday, tossed in 16 for the Vols.
Smithpeters, who enters his ninth season as head coach for JALC, said this game had little to do with his team being ranked No. 1 for the first time in school history and more about his guys being able to have fun.
"We have waited so long to play a game, I was just happy to see them smile," Smithpeters said. "The time they have put in, the effort and the patience they have showed. That's a lot to ask out of kids that are 18 to 20 years old. This is what they love and I'm glad they were able to share it with their teammates."
The Vols (1-0) finished with five other players in the scoring column as Isaiah Ervin netted nine points, while Xavier Ball added eight. Jamarion Sharp scored seven points, while Dawson Yates and Jackson Connor both tacked on three points.
Shawnee was led by 11 points from Christopher Ward, while Jaquan Tyus tossed in 10 points.
JALC led 39-25 at halftime, but from start to finish, Smithpeters was pleased with the body of work.
"We got a lot of stuff established and a lot of stuff we can work on," Smithpeters said. "I think that's what you want to see this time of the year and it's a different kind of season. These guys haven't played in 10 months. They were extremely excited, but there was also plenty of anxiety. A lot of the mistakes we made (Saturday), I think will come around and repair themselves as we get more games in.
"I told the guys, I'm really we didn't play a perfect game because then there is no room for improvement. We played this well and still have spots we know we can improve."

Spyder Dann covers prep and college sports for the Southern Illinois LOCAL Media Group. Follow him on Twitter: @spydieshooter.