LaGrange College seniors set for final ride
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
It’s their final go-around, and the four seniors on LaGrange College’s men’s basketball started their final season in style.
In LaGrange College’s 97-78 victory over visiting Huntingdon College, the seniors combined for 73 points in the first of 12 regular-season games.
Senior guard Ronald Youngblood led the way with 23 points while making five 3-pointers, Lincoln Anderson scored 20 points and pulled down 10 rebounds, Julian Cameron had 18 points, and Kyle Brown contributed 12 points.
All four men have been a part of the program since they were freshmen, and they’re looking to exit the stage with a successful season.
“We’ve been talking about this since freshman year, all of us playing together (for four seasons), and now we’re seniors, and we’re the leaders on the team, and we’re just out there doing it,” said Anderson, a LaGrange Academy graduate. “I’ve loved being a part of this group.”
The Panthers were 13-13 during the 2017-2018 season when the current seniors were freshmen, and the team rebounded to go 17-9 the following season.
Last season was a struggle, with the Panthers going 7-18 largely because of their inability to win close games.
Now, the seniors are looking to help the Panthers get things moving in the right direction, and Thursday’s game was a positive step.
“These guys have been through it all,” Wallace said. “They’ve had winning seasons, they’ve had a losing season. They’re trying their best to get back to being a championship-caliber basketball team.”
Among the seniors is Anderson, a 6-foot-7 post player who graduated from LaGrange Academy before staying at home to become a Panther.
Anderson has been a key contributor on the team since he was a freshman.
Andereson was second on the team in scoring with 13.6 points per game last season.
In Thursday’s game, Anderson was limited to four points in the first half, and he exploded for 16 points in the second half.
While happy to contribute, Anderson isn’t concerned with stats, as long as the team is successful.
“If the team is up, that’s the only thing I want,” Anderson said.
Youngblood, like Anderson, is coming off his best season as a college player.
Youngblood, who played sparingly his first two seasons, averaged 10.4 points per game last season.
Youngblood got his current season off to a blazing start with a 23-point outburst, and he was 8-of-12 from the field while making five 3-pointers.
Cameron, the Panthers’ leading scorer last season, also had a big night, making 7-of-10 shots from the field while scoring 18 points.
Cameron averaged a team-best 19.2 points per game last season, and he was named the Panthers’ most valuable player while making the all-conference team.
Brown was 6-of-11 from the field while scoring 12 points in Thursday’s game, and he had two steals, two rebounds, and two blocks.
Brown, who wasn’t a member of the varsity team his first two seasons at LaGrange College, got his chance last season and he averaged 9.8 points per game.
The Panthers won’t play as many games as they usually do, but at least there will be a season, and the players were thrilled to be on the court on Thursday night.
“Tonight was really special,” Anderson said. “It brought back a lot of feelings I’ve been missing mentally. I just enjoyed it 100 percent.”