GODFREY — One thing L&C coach Jaron Young knows for sure: His Trailblazers women’s basketball team has experience at the right spots.
And with off-season additions the Trailblazers’ lineup, he’s optimistic as the season gets under way.
“We’ve got some good returners,” said Young, whose Lewis and Clark Community College cagers were 18-8 last season. “And we picked up a really strong transfer.”
Calling Alexus Williams a strong transfer could be an understatement.
The 6-foot-1 Willliams transferred to L&C from Grambling State University where she averaged 13.1 points per game for the Tigers.
“She brings a lot to the table,” Young said of Williams, who hails from Whitehaven High School in Memphis, Tennessee. “She brings a real presence inside. She’s a strong rebounder and she sees the floor well.”
As a freshman last season at Grambling, Williams hauled down 75 rebounds, 37 of which were offensive boards.
The Trailblazers, who play host to Southwestern Illinois College of Belleville at 5:30 p.m. Friday, started the season with an 86-81 victory over Arkansas State Mid-South Saturday at L&C. In the opener, Williams scored 23 points in L&C’s win at the Riverbend Arena.
The Trailblazers play their first five games at Riverbend. Following Friday’s game against SWIC, they’ll face Lake Land of Mattoon at 2 p.m. on Nov. 17, the play host to Dyersburg State Nov. 20 and Jefferson Community College of Hillsboro, Missouri on Nov. 24.
The Trailblazers’ first road game will be Dec. 3 when they travel to West Memphis, Arkansas for a rematch with Arkansas State Mid-South.
Three returning starters add to Young’s optimism. Back are Joselyn Anderson, a 6-foot forward from Lincoln, Nebraska; Juantia Walton, a 5-8 guard from Memphis, and Desireee Jackson, also a 5-8 guard from Memphis.
Anderson averaged 8.4 ppg last season, Walton scored at a 7.4 ppg clip and Jackson averaged 2.7 ppg.
“We’ll rotate the fifth starter, for now,” Young said, “depending on the opponent and the game situation.”
Another returner is Aronna Clanton, a 5-4 guard from Alton High, who will see considerable action, according to Young. Other sophomores include Brayanta Conley, a 5-56 guard from Horn Lake, Mississippi; Angel Jones, a 5-9 forward from Murphysboro and Janesha Munson, a 6-0 forward from East St. Louis.
Freshmen include 5-10 forward Kenya Burnett from Alton High; Shaquira Cardine, a 5-8 forward from Byhalia, Mississippi; Clarese Hibbler-Johnson, a 5-6 guard from Murphysboro; 5-6 Shernika Spencer from Memphis, Tennessee; 6-foot Tialexus Stevenson from Byhalia, Mississippi and 6-3 Vinnie Winters from East St. Louis.
L&C averaged 70.1 ppg on offense and gave up and averaged of 63.1 ppg. The Trailblazers were among the nation’s top NJCAA Division II teams in blocked shots, averaging nearly four per game.
Young said he likes one particular style and thinks the team he’s assembled will be fully capable of putting it into practice.
“We’ll like to get up and down the floor,” Young said. “And we’ll be a pressing team hopefully getting points off the press. We’ll have length and athleticism.”
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