Posted on: March 4, 2020 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0

Waleed Alamleh
Sports Writer

The Moraine Valley Women’s Basketball team advanced to the semi-final of the NJCAA Regional Championship after a win on February 26. The Cyclones defeated the Kishwaukee Cougars 83 – 49 on Wednesday night, cruising to an easy 30+ point win.  
The team took a lead late in the first quarter and never looked back as they didn’t lose the lead for the rest of the game. A big part of that had to do with the scoring barrage from the Cyclones in the second quarter. Forward Chelsea Cross got it going during the 2nd as she really took control of the game; Cross ended up scoring 22 points for the entire game, which is especially amazing considering that she wasn’t even supposed to play. Cross had actually sprained her ankle in practice two days ago, and according to Head Coach Delwyn Jones, wasn’t supposed to even enter the game, but because the team got off to a slow start, the coaching staff turned to her to get the offense going. Coach Jones spoke about the importance of having a player like Cross, “She came in and stabilized us mentally. She made the defense have to guard her. When you have someone like her on your team, you have a good shot every game.” 
Cross was not the only Cyclone with a big night either, as Forwards Nicole Poole and Kirsten Kamholz both contributed in big ways to the game. Poole, a sophomore, had a monster double-double, scoring 14 points and with 20 rebounds. Poole, who is only 5’10”, was at a disadvantage height-wise with the Cougars center being listed at 6’2”, but that didn’t stop her from owning the glass and grabbing every rebound that came her way. This was a huge priority for Poole coming into the game. According to Coach Jones, “She actually told me about three or four games ago that she wanted to grab 20 rebounds in a game. It’s a huge milestone for her and she did it in a game where she didn’t even play a whole lot of minutes.”  This was a great opportunity for her to reach that accomplishment as coming into the game the Cougars dressed only five players. Knowing this, Poole made it a goal of hers to take it to them saying, “It was a little easier knowing that they only had five players because we could just out hustle them the entire game. Kamholz reciprocated this same mentality; she added 14 points by knocking down the three and taking it to the hole. Kamholz actually received the honor the Region IV player of the year this season by averaging 17 points per game and leading the Cyclones to their second consecutive season as the #1 seed in the region. Coach Jones added on to the layers of game that Kamholz has. “She’s a good shooter, and player at attacking the basket. She causes a lot of trouble up top defensively. She definitely earned it. She’s an incredible player.” 
This was just the first game of the Cyclones’ journey towards a National Championship, and now that it is playoff time, every moment means so much more. Both the players and Head Coach all have the same mentality for the rest of the season. Kamholz spoke about the mentality that they have to have coming into the playoffs saying, “Right now, it’s do or die; that’s all we can think about. Any game can be our last, so we have to give it 100% every second.” Poole added, “I definitely felt like today was different; like (Kamholz) said, it was due or die. It’s scary since this could end up being our last game so you just gotta go out there and play like it’s the last.” 
The team definitely has the right mindset to accomplish the goals they’re trying to reach. Since Moraine is the #1 seed for the regional bracket, they will be able to have home games all throughout the rest of the playoffs. The Cyclones will look to keep on improving on their impressive season this Saturday night at the FitRec Center where they will be looking forward to a matchup between the winner of Carl Sandburg vs. Lake County. 

Waleed Alamleh can be contacted at alamlehw@student.moareinvalley.edu.