Panthers’ Olson named USA South player of the week

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 23, 2016

By Kevin Eckleberry



LAGRANGE – The LaGrange College men’s basketball team closed the regular season with road wins over Huntingdon and Piedmont, and former LaGrange Granger Justyn Olson was a big reason why.

Olson averaged 32 points in the two wins, and each of those points were critical since both games were close.

In a 97-87 overtime win over Huntingdon, Olson was 12-of-19 from the field on the way to a career-high 36 points, and he also had six rebounds, six steals and three assists.

In Saturday’s 96-90 win over Piedmont, Olson made 9-of-15 attempts from the field and was 8-of-9 from the free-throw line, and he scored 28 points while grabbing six rebounds.

Olson’s big week didn’t go unnoticed.

Olson became the second LaGrange College player to be named the USA South player of the week this season, joining senior Mark Wagner, who earned that honor in November.

Olson has had a big junior season.

He started a bit slowly, scoring 11 or fewer points in four of his first five games, but he broke out for 29 points against Birmingham Southern on Dec. 2, and he’s been the team’s top scorer since then.

For the season, Olson leads the team with 16.5 points per game, and he’s also tops on the team with 54 steals and is among the team leaders with 4.4 rebounds a game.

Olson is one of two players, joining Wagner, who has started every game this season, and he has led the team in scoring eight times.

Olson, who helped LaGrange High win a region championship during his senior season in 2013, played at Central Georgia Tech in Macon as a freshman before transferring to LaGrange College.

As a sophomore he played in all 29 games and averaged 11.9 points per game in helping the Panthers win a second consecutive USA South tournament championship.

BEARDEN HONORED: LaGrange High graduate Sarah Bearden, a member of the LaGrange College cross-country team, has been named to the 2015 U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association NCAA Division III women’s All-Academic team.

To make the team, an athlete has to have a grade point average of 3.30 or better and place in the top 25 percent at the NCAA regional meet.

Bearden met both of those requirements, making her the first LaGrange College cross-country to secure that honor.

Bearden had an exceptional cross-country season last fall, and she was named the USA South runner of the year after winning the conference championship.

Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports