One Vandalia Community High School alum just returned from nationals. In a few weeks, another will be there, helping defend a NCAA Division-I national title.
McKendree University freshman Eric Hobbie, a former Vandalia basketball player, scored 17 points as McKendree vanquished Texas Wesleyan University, 73-71, in the opening round of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics National Championships, which is being held in Kansas City, Mo.
Hobbie nailed 7-of-15 field goals, which included a 3-of-6 performance from beyond the arc. He completed the double-double with 10 boards.
Unfortunately for the McKendree Bearcats, their run into nationals did not last.
That is the bad news. The good news for the Bearcats is that their top three scores in their final game of the year, an 80-64 loss to Campbellsville University, will be back next year.
Their top scorer was Hobbie, who scored 20 points and pulled down 11 boards in the game.
With the loss, McKendree ended their season with a 27-7 mark. The Bearcats finished their American Midwest Conference slate with a 13-1 mark. They won the AMC regular-season title, as well as the tournament title.
It is the 12th time that McKendree has advanced to the second round of the NAIA Tournament.
Josie Earnest is not at nationals yet, but Omaha, Neb., is calling, and Vanderbilt University – the NCAA Division-I defending national champions in bowling – is more than willing to answer the call.
The Vandalia grad finished the regular season by taking second at the Music City Classic, which was held in Smyrna, Tenn. She averaged a 199.5 through the 11 games, which included the high game of the tournament. Earnest rolled a 269 and was honored for the high score of the tournament.
As a team, Vanderbilt finished second as well. The Commodores totaled 10,081 pins and missed the team title by only two pins. Central Missouri State University finished with 10,083 points to win the title. Vanderbilt will enter the nationals with a 77-25 mark.
The Greenville College Panthers finished their women’s basketball season with a loss to Trinity International University in the National Christian College Athletic Association North Central Regional. The Lady Panthers got six points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals from Vandalia grad Meredith Banal.
For the year, Banal, a junior guard, finished with 398 points and 92 rebounds, respective averages of 14.7 and 3.4 per game. In addition to leading her team in points scored, she also finished with a team-high 69 steals. Banal also had 33 assists this year. Banal nailed 156-of-332 field goals and 52-of-65 free throws this year. The 5-foot-6 guard also did some work from beyond the arc, hitting 34-of-88 treys.
Fellow Greenville player Susan Githinji, a South Central grad, had 74 points and 90 rebounds this year. Githinji, who appeared in all but one contest for Greenville, also had 20 steals and 10 assists. She drained 27 -of-59 field goals and 20-of-41 free throws. Greenville finished 18-9 overall and 12-4 in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Blake Doehring, a Vandalia grad and 5-10 freshman guard for Blackburn College, scored 165 points and pulled down 37 rebounds this year. In addition to his 6.9 points and 1.5 rebounds per game, he also had 33 assists and 13 steals. Doehring hit 58-of 160 field goals and 22 of 27 free throws. He finished with 27 treys. Blackburn finished the 2007-08 campaign with a 5-19 overall record and a 3-13 mark in the SLIAC.
Brownstown grad Aaron Lovett has been doing some middle relief work for the University of Kentucky Wildcats. Kentucky, now 18-0, is currently ranked fourth in the latest NCAA Division I poll. In the Wildcats’ 3-2 win over Purdue University, Lovett worked 1 2/3 innings and allowed two hits.
Vandalia grad Bryan Hobbie was 1-for-3 as his college baseball team, Greenville, downed University of Wisconsin-Platteville 9-8. Greenville is 1-1 early on.
Marcus Smalls and Trevor Summers, both Vandalia grads, have both logged time for the Lake Land College baseball team.
Smalls, who has played in six games, has three hits (two doubles, one triple) and one RBI. Summers has three hits and one RBI. Lake Land is 16-3.
Kaskaskia College’s Rueben Betts, a Mulberry Grove grad, appeared in five games this year. Betts finished the season with nine points, 12 rebounds, two assists and one steal. Kaskaskia College finished 23-8 overall and 10-6 in the Great Rivers Athletic Conference.
In the next three weeks, we will have a senior article featuring the athletes that finished their careers this winter. At the present time, we know of two seniors that will be featured. Vandalia grad Ryan Smith, a Blackburn College basketball player, and MacMurray College women’s basketball player Brianne Taylor, also a Vandalia grad, both finished their college careers this winter.
If there is anyone else that finished this winter, please forward me their names. In addition, I am looking for names of spring athletes. If anyone wants to add names to my growing list, email me ([email protected]).
I will need the name of the athlete, the former high school, the college/university they are attending and the sport they are playing. Please put ‘The Leader-Union’ in the subject line of the email.