The LLTC Lakers Men’s & Women’s Basketball Teams Bring Home Trophies
The Leech Lake Tribal College Laker basketball teams are proud to announce their participation and success in the Northern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (NIAC) Conference and the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) Tournament.
The Leech Lakers men’s team ranked second in the regular season with a 10-2 record. In first place was Sisseton-Wahpeton Tribal College with an 11-1 record. The Lakers faced conference rival Turtle Mountain Community College in the opening round of playoffs. The Lakers looked rusty early in the tournament, coming out shooting just 36% overall with 23% from the 3-point arc. The Lakers were locked in defensively for the entire game, creating havoc on the TMCC Mighty Mikinock’s shooting. TMCC shot 29% overall with 22% from the three-point range. LLTC won the game 77-53 and advanced to the 2nd round. The Lakers’ shooting was better during the second half of the game. They were led in scoring by Josh LaDuke who had 27 points. Kevin Hanks led the Lakers on the boards with 12, and Joe Strong had a solid 8.
Game 2 of the NIAC tournament was a battle from start to finish as the Lakers faced the Canadian Mennonite University Blazers, who came from north of the border. It was a three-point shoot-out as both teams combined made 27 three-pointers in the game. LLTC led CMU at halftime 38-37. After both teams made runs in the second half, the LLTC Lakers came out on top 86-83 and advanced to the NIAC Championship for the first time in Laker history. Josh LaDuke, Kevin Hanks, and Nate Howard combined for 73 of the Lakers’ 86 points.
The third day of the NIAC tournament was an exciting one for the LLTC Lakers, as they looked to capture their first championship in school history. Starting out hot early, the Lakers jumped out to a 51-37 lead and shot 50% in the first half. After a few runs by Providence University in the second half, the Lakers looked to finish them off. Every time players for the Providence Pilots made a shot, Lakers would turn around and made a big shot for LLTC. It was a great team win for the LLTC Lakers, as they outlasted the Pilots 95-81. Six Laker players were in double figures as they brought the NIAC Championship home to Leech Lake!
Leach Lake Lakers:
NIAC All-Conference: Kevin Hanks and Josh LaDuke
NIAC Honorable Mention All-Conference: Nate Howard
Coach of the Year: Brady Fairbanks
Interim President Pat Broker states, “There is tremendous pride and excitement that we all feel at our College and throughout our community in recognition of these talented and dedicated young men and women who love the sport of basketball! The fact that Coach Brady Fairbanks was named Coach of the Year adds to our pride as he is an excellent role model for our young people throughout our community. We are fortunate to have Coach Brady Fairbanks and Coach Tara Goodsky working with our players at Leech Lake Tribal College.”
The Lady Lakers finished out their tough season with a strong finish at the AIHEC Division 2 Championship. The six ladies started off the AIHEC tournament with a couple losses. Alyss Mountain, Averi Holthusen, Sunshyne Kingbird, Heather Strong, Sara Seki, and Candace Jacobs didn’t give up and fought their way down the bracket. They played Oglala Lakota College in the championship game. Averi Holthusen won “All-Tournament” player, and Candace Jacobs was recognized with a star quilt for achieving a 4.0 while being a student athlete.
Despite some lost games, there is still plenty to celebrate with these young women. The reality of being a student athlete, and a female one at that, comes with tremendous amount of challenges. These young women are mothers, caretakers of their family, while working and doing homework at the same time. The weight they carry on their shoulders is much to commemorate. They are role models throughout the college campus and community. They are on their own individual marches to greatness in pursuing their education, and come together as a team and family on the basketball court. In their recent AIHEC Championship, they showed just how great they can be.
NIAC All Conference – Averi Holthusen and Sunshyne Kingbird
NIAC Honorable Mention – Alyss Mountain
If you are interested in becoming a Laker and playing for LLTC in the upcoming 2018-2019 season, please contact either Brady Fairbanks, or Tara Goodsky at 218-335-4220.
The Leech Lake Tribal College is a two-year degree granting institution open to the public, but mainly serving the population of the Leech Lake Reservation. Approximately 10% of the student population is non-Native. Degree programs include Business Management, Early Childhood Education, Indigenous Leadership, Liberal Education, Liberal Education – STEM, Forest Ecology, Law Enforcement, and Integrated Residential Builder. The Leech Lake Tribal College was named the #1 Community College in the nation by WalletHub in their recent 2017 rankings. WalletHub’s analysts compared more than 700 community colleges across 14 key indicators of cost and quality and Leech Lake Tribal College came out on top.