By Matt Levins The Hawk Eye
The team will rely on athleticism, uptempo game this season.
KEOKUK — If you like fast-paced, uptempo basketball, then the Southeastern Community College women's basketball team is going to be right up your alley.
With just two sophomores back from last year's 17-14 team which lost in the quarterfinals of the Region XI Tournament, the Blackhawks are small, quick and inexperienced.
The Blackhawks have just two players with an 5-foot-10 or taller, but all eight players on the roster can play all five positions on the court.
Head coach Jerry Jerome is hoping all of that adds up to yet another winning season and a deep run in the Region XI Tournament come March.
"We're going to be small. This is going to be a little different team than what we are used to," Jerome said. "I only brought two girls back this year. Some years you bring back four or five and some years you bring back one or two. These are good kids. They are practicing hard and doing what we ask of them."
Leading the way for the Blackhawks are sophomores Shaniya Caldwell and Destiny Trujillo. Caldwell, a 5-foot-9 guard, averaged 8.1 points and 6.4 rebounds last season while shooting 47.2 percent from the field. She also had 62 assists, 62 steals and 17 blocks. Trujillo, a 5-9 guard, averaged 7.3 points and 3.2 rebounds while shooting 34.6 percent from the field and 29.8 percent from 3-point range. She also had 22 assists and 19 steals.
As Caldwell and Trujillo go, so go the Blackhawks.
SCC AT A GLANCE
Sophomores — Shaniya Caldwell, 5-9, G. Destiny Trujillo, so., G. Freshmen — Sasha Saccheus, 5-8, G. D'Shanna Schuster, 5-6, G. Emma Knipe, 5-8, G. Kianna McWhite, 5-9, G. Tori Lasley, 6-0, F. Aryn Kindig, 5-10, F.
Head coach — Jerry Jerome (12th season). Assistant coaches — Frank Almon, Kelby Homeister, Sci Hickenbottom.
Nov. 5 — vs. Culver-Stockton JV, 6 p.m. Nov. 8 — vs. Kansas City (Kansas) at Kirkwood Classic, 5 p.m. Nov. 9 — vs. John Wood at Kirkwood Classic, 1 p.m. Nov. 11 — at Carl Sandburg College, 5:30 p.m. Nov. 15-16 — at State Fair Classic, TBA. Nov. 19 — vs. State Fair, 6 p.m. Nov. 22 — at Lewis and Clark, 6 p.m. Nov. 23 — vs. Black Hawk College, 1 p.m. Dec. 4 — vs. Kirkwood, 6 p.m. Dec. 7 — at Iowa Central, 1 p.m. Dec. 10 — vs. Carl Sandburg College, 6 p.m. Dec. 12 — at Culver-Stockton JV, 6:30 p.m. Dec. 16 — at Black Hawk College, 6 p.m. Jan. 8 — vs. DMACC, 6 p.m. Jan. 11 — vs. Iowa Lakes, 1 p.m. Jan. 13 — vs. Marshalltown, 6 p.m. Jan. 15 — at Ellsworth, 5:30 p.m. Jan. 18 — at Little Priest Tribal College, 1 p.m. Jan. 19 — at NIACC, 1 p.m. Jan. 25 — vs. NIACC, 1 p.m. Jan. 29 — at Southwestern, 5:30 p.m. Feb. 1 — vs. Ellsworth, 1 p.m. Feb. 5 — at DMACC, 5:30 p.m. Feb. 8 — vs. Southwestern, 1 p.m. Feb. 15 — at Iowa Lakes, 1 p.m. Feb. 19 — vs. Iowa Central, 5:30 p.m. Feb. 22 — at Marshalltown, 2 p.m. Feb. 26 — at Kirkwood, 5:30 p.m. Feb. 29 — vs. Little Priest Tribal College, 1 p.m.
"They are both doing a really good job of being leaders, taking out young kids under their arms and showing them what college life is all about and how to be successful," Jerome said. "Shaniya will score anywhere from eight to 13 points a night. She is quick and fast. We will lean on her quite a bit. Destiny is a one or two guard who can shoot the three-ball. She is in really good shape and ready to go."
Tori Lasley and Aryn Kindig are the only players on the roster with any height. Lasley, a 6-foot player on the SCC volleyball team, has experience in the post, as does the 5-10 Kindig, a graduate of Keokuk High School. They will see plenty of time in the post, but also can play other positions.
"We've always had some bigger kids if we wanted to slow the game down," Jerome said. "Aryn Kindig is a nice player who played posted in high school and Tori just got on campus after playing volleyball. She is a good athlete who will really helps us."
Jerome also brought in three players from Alaska who will have an immediate impact for the Blackhawks. Sasha Saccheus and Kianna McWhite played on the Alaska state championship team, while D'Shanna Schuster played for the team which was the state runner-up.
"There is a lot of talent up in Alaska right now. Teams are really starting to recruit Alaska right now. We are very fortunate to get all three of them down here," Jerome said. "D'Shanna is a good, strong, hard-nosed player. She is going to do a lot of the dirty work for us and she is a very good shooter. Sasha is a very good shooter who has a very high basketball IQ. She can play all five positions and guard the posts. Kianna is strong, physical and fast. She is very athletic and can play multiple positions."
Emma Knipe, a West Hancock recruit, can also play multiple positions.
"She is a wonderful addition," Jerome said. "She played post in high school, but she can also step out and play guard. All of our kids are versatile and can play all five positions."
Jerome expects the Blackhawks to press, play tough man-to-man defense, run the floor and create open shots in transition. Either way, they will be fun to watch.
"I like where we're at going into the first game. The girls are working very hard and are very competitive," Jerome said. "We want to press and run, but we have to run under control. We have to take care of the ball. We are going to play aggressive and hard on the defensive end. If we shoot the ball well, we are going to do well. If we don't shoot the ball well, we are going to struggle. Our goal is to get into the top four in the conference and try to get a home game in the postseason."