photo: Anthony Caruthers
By Craig Phelps
Godfrey, IL- The Lewis and Clark Trailblazers (15-15) Men’s Basketball team did not have long to celebrate their sophomore night on Saturday, February 21. An overtime thriller against the Division II Forest Park Highlanders (12-14) was about to take place, with the ‘Blazers losing 93-92.
The Highlanders, coached by former Lewis and Clark assistant coach Milton Stith, were the victims of a 40 point blowout during a pre-season match up against the Trailblazers. This added a little extra fuel to the fire for the Highlanders and had the Trailblazers coming into the game a little over confident in their abilities.
“You respect everyone. I think that was the issue, we had a total lack of respect for them. What happens to the bully when you disrespect them? They come in and punch you in the mouth, and that’s what happened,” said a disappointed Deon Thomas after the game.
Just two players were crossed over into double digits for Lewis and Clark; Rico Peirrevilus set a career high 36 points while Joshua Freelove put 29 tallies up on the board himself. Beyond that, the Trailblazers were pretty quiet offensively.
“(There) can’t be nights like that where we just have two people scoring… We have to have the mindset that it takes the team to win games. It takes the entire team to win games,” said Peirrevilus, who was on a pair of crutches with his ankle iced down. The Lewis and Clark big man twisted his ankle earlier in the game but kept playing.
A disappointed Josh Freelove backed up his teammate’s thoughts.
“If we can’t play to our level of expectations, we lose. We have to take this as a lesson and play to a 100% of our level of expectation every time,” said Freelove.
A late whistle foul call after the buzzer had sounded put .05 seconds on the clock and the Highlanders to the line when they were down by just two points. The two made free-throws put Forest Park on top of the Trailblazers for good.
“I thought that the game was over before the foul was called, but we can’t leave the game into the (referee’s) hands. We should have taken this game over from the first half,” said Freelove.
While the Trailblazers one point over-time loss seems to be disheartening for the team, all eyes are forward heading into the Regional Tournament.
“It’s a win or game home situation so we have to leave it all on the floor every night from here on out,” said Peirrevilus, who appeared hungry for a win.
The Trailblazers made a trip to the National Tournament last year with a fourth place finish.
Check out an image gallery from the game taken by Bridge photographer Anthony Caruthers below.