WolfPack in regional final, but falls short

Williams named MVP of tournament despite loss to Rock Valley

Christina Gordon, Sports Editor

For the first time in four years, the Madison College women’s basketball team made it to the Region IV tournament championship game. 

Madison College came into the tournament as the No. 2 seed. 

“We would have liked to have the No. 1 seed, but we were excited for the No. 2 seed,” said Madison College head coach Lois Heeren

“Anytime that you get a by, and not have to play an extra game; because you never know what is going to happen with that extra game.  We knew that either way we would have to play Joliet, if they were the No. 2 or we were the No. 3.  At the end of the day you have to come ready to play and finish business,” Heeren said.

In a championship game that had three ties and a dozen lead changes, Madison wasn’t able to pull off the win, falling to Rock Valley College, 76-64, on Feb. 23.

The game was within four points going into the fourth quarter, but Madison wasn’t able to get enough offensive production to close the gap. 

“We played extremely well, only down by four going into the fourth quarter,” Heeren said. “Did we get a little bit tired?  Maybe. Mentally we got a little tired knowing that we had a lot of mistakes and turnovers going into that fourth quarter that were uncharacteristic of us.”

“I was excited, I was happy, I was pleased,” she added. “We competed for the entire weekend. We just came up a little bit short against Rock Valley.” 

Sophomore Aniah Williams led all scorers with 31 points, 22 of which came in the first half.  Fellow sophomore Lilly Dorman was the only other Madison College player to score in double-digits, having 11 of her own.  Freshman Olivia Marron had a team high 11 rebounds. 

“You always want to get first. But we did get a step closer, we got to the championship game, and it is kind of like the monkey off the back,” Heeren said. 

“If you’ve got to come in second, I guess you got to come in second.  We obviously wanted to win that championship game, I thought we were on the right path to do so. I’m just proud of how we competed.”

A day earlier Madison College was up against Joliet Junior College in the semifinal game and pulled off a thrilling 79-73 victory. 

“We were down early. Our student-athletes had a lot of resilience and persistence, and just a really strong will to win that game,” Heeren said. “It was a hard-fought game. We switched up a lot of things.  We kept throwing a lot of different schemes at them, something that they had not seen or were not ready for.  Our players bought into everything that we needed to do. It was really just a fun and exciting win.”

Against Joliet there were three ties and six lead changes.  Madison was able to pull ahead with a narrow margin, winning by six points. 

Once again Williams lead all-scorers with 28 points, eight rebounds, and three steals. Madison College also had two other players in double-digits, Marron had a career high 20 points while freshman Ceraya Morel had 10. 

Madison College had three players receive post season honors. Williams received First-Team All-Region IV honors, while Dorman and Marron received Second-Team All-Region IV honors. 

Williams and Marron both earned All-Region IV All-Tournament team honors. 

Williams also walked away with tournament MVP honors.  Williams averaged 29.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.5 steals, and 2.5 assists on the weekend. 

Madison College ended its season with a 17-11 overall record and a 8-6 conference record.