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Youthful Eagles flying high atop conference standings

By Erich Pilcher
On February 6, 2018

Photo by Jeff Sigmund. No. 2 LJ Stansburry makes a break against two Warrior defenders.

For some collegiate basketball programs, a youthful team could be viewed as somewhat of a detriment. There are often growing pains, inconsistent play and perceived immaturity that could hurt a team at key points in the season. 

 One Kirkwood Community College team doesn’t follow that trend. The Kirkwood Men’s Basketball team is currently sitting atop the Iowa Community College Athletic Conference (ICCAC) with a 4-0 record and riding a seven-game winning streak. 

This is also good enough to have the Eagles ranked 11th nationally and within striking distance of cracking the top 10. 

During this winning streak they have defeated three ranked teams.  Recently Kirkwood defeated the Southwestern Community College Spartans at Johnson Hall on Jan. 27, 89-84. Southwestern defeated Kirkwood in last year’s Region XI final, following that the Spartans went on to win the National Championship. The win gave the Eagles a firm grasp on the conference lead, spotting them a two-game edge with a month left in the regular season.  

“The key to our current winning streak is our team is starting to buy into their roles for our team to be successful. We are always becoming a better practice team, so we have improved overall because we are having better practices.  I also believe the team is really starting to get on the court together,” said Head Men’s Basketball Coach Bryan Petersen. 

Kirkwood has had the luxury of having many contributors. Sophomore Chris King leads the team in points with 17 per game. Other key contributors include Freshman Douglas Wilson and Bailey Kale, as well as defensive stalwart Sophomore Ethan Meeker.

“The team chemistry is really coming on as of late.  We are starting to defend better as an overall team as well,” said Petersen.  

The string of defeated ranked foes has been a confidence builder. This includes upsetting then number 2 ranked Lincoln by 16 at home on Jan. 10 and drubbing then seventh ranked Iowa Central on the road by 22 on Jan. 13. 

“This built a lot of confidence with our group. We all felt we had the ability to be a good team, but that game helped our team see first-hand how good we could be when we played the right way and competed together,” stated Petersen. 

As the Eagles enter the final month of the season, there is still work to be done. Kirkwood has two games with arch-rival Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) and a showdown with Southwestern on the road. 

“The students can expect to see a competitive team that will compete every night. We will play hard and play fast.  We hope to see a lot more students at our upcoming games at Johnson Hall.  The students can provide a really big boost for our team,” added Petersen.

For more information about the team and stats log on to www.kirkwood.edu/athletics.

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