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College report: Jelani Johnson contributing at Bellarmine

Waubonsie Valley grad Jelani Johnsis averaging 5.3 points per game as starter Bellarmine University. | Phocourtesy Bellarmine University

Waubonsie Valley grad Jelani Johnson is averaging 5.3 points per game as a starter at Bellarmine University. | Photo courtesy of Bellarmine University

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Updated: February 16, 2013 6:23AM



Waubonsie Valley graduate and Bellarmine University senior Jelani Johnson is doing two things he loves. One is playing basketball. The second is winning games.

After 11 games, Bellarmine boasts an overall record of 10-1. Not only that, but it is ranked fourth in the country among NCAA Division II teams.

“On the floor, I try to keep everyone energized and fired up,” Johnson said. “I am the guy that keeps the other team’s defense guessing. When they are shutting down our main scorers, I try to get them to concentrate on me. I set screens. Also, I want to go after every loose ball, make steals and grab rebounds.”

Johnson, who has started all 11 games and averages 23.5 minutes per game, has 58 points and 48 points. Besides his 5.3 points and 4.4 rebounds per game, he also has 22 assists, 10 steals and seven blocked shots. Johnson has drained 23-of-53 field goals and 6-of-11 free throws. He has six three-pointers.

“Our goal at the beginning of the season was to win the conference,” Johnson said. “We also want to host the regional, be one of the last four NCAA Division II teams still standing and eventually play for the national title.”

Bellarmine started the 2013 year by topping two Illinois-based teams, Quincy University and University of Illinois-Springfield. Both games were held in Louisville, Ky., at Knights Hall. In the 65-50 win over Quincy, Johnson had three points and two rebounds. Johnson started and played 16 minutes.

In the 81-52 win over UIS, Johnson finished with two points, five rebounds and two blocked shots. The starting forward played 20 minutes.

Eastern Illinois University’s Sean Wiggan (Waubonsie Valley) opened the indoor season by taking second in the 800-meter run at the Eastern Illinois-hosted Early Bird Open. The outing, which was unscored, was held at Lantz Fieldhouse in Charleston. Wiggan finished the race in 1:54.95. He was two-tenths of a second behind the winner, Southeast Missouri State sophomore Kameron Long. Wiggan was also a member of EIU’s winning distance medley relay, which finished in 10:34.61.

Monmouth College (3-10) earned its third win of the year by topping nonconference foe Blackburn College 84-57. Nick Marema (Oswego East), a Monmouth freshman, scored 14 points by hitting 6-of-9 field goals, including 2-for-4 from beyond the arc. He also had three assists, three steals and two rebounds. The starter played 25 minutes.

Fellow Monmouth players LaShawn Cargo (Metea Valley) and Raysean Parker (Metea Valley) also earned time in the game. Both emerged off the bench and each played eight minutes. Cargo finished with six points, while Parker finished with three.

Erica Jordan (Waubonsie Valley) had 13 points in Roosevelt’s 71-61 win over St. Francis. Jordan nailed 4-of-9 from the field and 4-of-4 from the charity stripe. She also had one trey. Jordan pulled down six boards and had two steals in her 22 minutes. Becky Williford (Waubonsie Valley) tallied two points, two rebounds, two assists and two steals for Roosevelt (16-4, 11-2).

St. Francis (12-7, 8-5) defeated Trinity Christian 76-59 for its most recent win. Starting center Mark Peters (Marmion) had 12 points, six rebounds and two assists. The Aurora resident hit 5-of-11 field goals and 2-of-2 free throws. The starter played 25 minutes.

Olivet Nazarene (15-3, 9-2) defeated St. Francis (101-89) and Trinity International (125-111) recently. Both Malory Adam (East Aurora) and Sandy Cabadas (East Aurora), Olivet Nazarene players, had their best games of their week against TIU. Adam, who started at forward and played 16 minutes, had 11 points, eight rebounds, six blocked shots and four steals. She hit 4-of-12 from the field, which included a 3-of-10 from beyond the arc. Adam led ONU in blocked shots and rebounds. Cabadas, who emerged off the bench, scored six points, pulled down four rebounds and doled out two assists in her 13 minutes.

Winthrop’s Samiya Wright (Oswego) has scored 158 points, pulled down 35 rebounds and doled out 30 assists in the first 16 games. Wright is averaging 9.9 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. Wright, who has played in all 16 games and made 15 starts, is averaging 33.6 minutes per game. She has hit 55-of-163 field goals and 25-of-32 free throws. The 5-foot-8 sophomore guard has hit 23 treys. Winthrop is 8-8 overall and 2-2 in the Big South Conference.

Alexis Nelson (West Aurora) scored three points as New Mexico State (9-6, 3-2) defeated Texas State University, 61-58. She played three minutes after emerging off the bench.

Beloit College (2-11, 1-7) defeated Illinois College 77-67 for its first Midwest Conference win of the year. Claire Bush (Yorkville) and Maddie Sychta (Batavia) each scored two points in the contest. Bush also pulled down a pair of boards. In Beloit’s 75-74 overtime loss to Carroll University, Bush finished with two points and four rebounds. With the win over IC, Beloit snapped its 10-game losing streak.

Wisconsin-Platteville’s Zac Steele (Waubonsie Valley) finished his season with two tackles (one solo). He played in two games. Wisconsin-Platteville finished 8-2 overall and 5-2 in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

New York University-Polytechnic junior Ryane Pappa (Waubonsie Valley) has played in five games this year. The guard, who averages 10.4 minutes per game, has six points and five rebounds, respective averages of 1.2 points and 1.0 rebounds. She also has two assists and two steals. She has scored her points on three field goals.



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