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Blazers Return to Parkland for Quarterfinal

Article by: Pete Hayes, the Telegraph, phayes@thetelegraph.com

GODFREY — Six points may have cost the Lewis and Clark Community College women’s basketball team a home quarterfinal game in this week’s District M/Region 24 Tournament. But the Trailblazers head into the tourney with a thorough knowledge of their opponent.

L&C, which dropped a 56-50 decision at Parkland Saturday in its final regular-season game, will return to Champaign for a quarterfinal matchup against Parkland (16-13) at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in the NJCAA Division II playoffs.

“We know each other pretty well,” said L&C coach Jaron Young, whose team finished the regular season 16-9. “We match up pretty good against them. We’ll just have to come ready to play.”

Earlier in the season, L&C beat Parkland 69-54 in Godfrey.

After the dust settled on the regular season in Region 24 Saturday night, Illinois Central easily came away as the top seed. The Cougars, who have been ranked No. 1 in the NJCAA National Poll for a month, drew a first-round bye and await the Parkland-L&C winner at 1 p.m. Saturday at Danville Area College.

“Knowing the winner gets the No. 1 team in the nation doesn’t bother us and probably doesn’t bother (Parkland),” Young said. “We are focused on trying to beat Parkland.”

In other quarterfinal games Wednesday, No. 7 Danville (3-20) will play at No. 2 Lake Land (23-7) and No. 3 Lincoln Land (25-3) will play host to No. 6 John Wood College (15-14).

The semifinals and finals are set for Saturday and Sunday at Danville.

No. 1 Illinois Central is 29-1 and is riding a 29-game winning streak. The Cougars dropped their season opener to North Iowa Area College and haven’t tasted defeat since, but nearly did when L&C threw a 62-60 scare into them Feb. 16 at the River Bend Arena.

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