By Brodee Gillam
Those watching the Stars' men victory at home over Kalamazoo Valley CC, 92-66, on Jan. 31 may have felt like the team was completely different than the one they had seen for the past three months.
The team as a whole was confident and unselfish, passing up good shots for great shots, and being aggressive on both of the sides of the ball.
On offense, LCC finished the game with 12 made threes and 20 assists. The Stars shot 52 percent from the field. Defensively, they forced KVCC into uncomfortable shots, which led to the Cougars only shooting 33 percent from the field, and the Stars big men affected shots all game.
Head Coach Mike Ingram said the Stars have needed to pick up on their defense, but LCC is starting to get into a rhythm.
"We're just trying to get better defensively; we're trying to get better at playing harder consistently and we're trying to put 40 minutes (of good basketball) together." Ingram said. "We're shooting the ball a lot better … I thought (the KVCC game) was a complete game for us on both ends of the court."
Stars freshman Tony Trice had his best game of the season and almost messed around and got a triple-double in his seventh start. Trice scored 16 points on 12 shots, grabbed 10 rebounds and led the team with eight assists.
Trice, who was a crucial part of the Stars' ball movement, said as the starting point guard he has to keep his head up and be aware of his teammates at all times.
"It's really just exploring all your options," Trice said. "Knowing that, if I drive to the rack (and the defender) helps, of course my teammate on the left is going to be open; knowing where everyone is at and knowing what shots they are able to make."
Horford has come into his own over these past few games. He finished the win with 16 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Horford said even with his shot clicking on offense, he's still locked in on defense.
"I just try to hold myself accountable," Horford said. "I like to be vocal (to) let guys know what they're doing wrong, what I'm doing wrong and what we need to work on. I don't know, I've always liked defense, I take pride in it."
At the same time LCC's offense is starting to thrive, Ingram said he also has developed as the team's coach over this season, and he's starting to figure it out.
"I've got to get better with them and the way that I approach them to try and get them to play better," Ingram said. "I had to make some adjustments also to make sure I was being a better coach to these guys and I think I've kind of made that adjustment.
"Sometimes you just start thinking about winning so much that you get lost on what you need to be doing, and that's (to) teach guys how to play at this level, but also making sure that they are growing as a person, as a student, as a young man."