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Cobras Basketball season comes to an end

Sports Writer

Published: Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 22:03

image Cobras Basketball Dominique Wells, Gerardo Jimenez

Photo by Gerardo Jimenez/Prospectus News

Parkland College Men’s Basketball Forward, Dominique Wells, attempts a lay-up in the game against Illinois Central College, in East Peoria, on Feb. 23, 2013.

As the Men’s Basketball regular season for Parkland comes to a close, fans remember a season of ups and downs.

The season started strong with the team winning the Lake Land Laker Classic, a tournament involving good Division I junior colleges.  Parkland went on to win the tournament by an average spread of 17 points.

This tournament sparked the Cobras, who went on to have an excellent first half of basketball, finishing with nine wins and three losses. They looked like a top team going into the most rigorous part of the schedule in January and February.

January was a real test for this team as the struggles started early. Parkland ended with a record of four wins and five losses and started off winless in conference.

February would be a defining month for this team, as the last full month of the season began.  The Cobras ended the month with four wins and three losses and helped the players gain more confidence that the dreams of getting to the National Tournament could still become a reality.

The season may have had a tough mid-section, but that can happen during the transition to a new sysetem and is a hurdle for any program when a new coach takes the reigns.

Assistant Coach Coleco Buie shared his view of the coaching change. He has worked for both Nate Mast, the former men’s basketball coach, and Anthony Figueroa, the current head coach.

“Both coaches are very smart individuals, I’ve learned a lot from both of them so far.  They both have different styles.  With Nate, everything was Kansas stuff,” Buie said.

“Figueroa is one of those guys who takes a little bit from here and a little bit from there and incorporates it all into his system.  I learned a lot from both and I’m happy to see Nate off doing his thing.”

“As far as the players, both are very talented groups. Last year I thought we were a little bit bigger and stronger and this year, we’re smaller and quicker, so the talent is there,” Buie continued.

The season has been a growing time for players as a team and individually.

“I’m growing as a player by learning how to communicate on the court, whether its offense or defense that is what is making me better,” freshman Lance Magee explained. “Practice and getting games under my belt gives me confidence to play at a high level, which also helps me as well.”

The season has had its ups and downs, but throughout the players have gained chemistry and confidence and plan to show that in the postseason.

The Region 24 Tournament is on the minds of these Cobra players as the first step to Nationals and the last go-around for the five sophomores that play on this team.

One sophomore who stands out is Dominique Walls, a transfer this season from Lewis & Clark College. He is getting situated to this new system like everyone else, but his road is a little different. Walls was never coached by Mast and is one player that stands out because of his ability to learn and learn quickly.

Walls is a player who believes in his team and thinks the sky is the limit for them.  His expectations for this team are to do one thing; win a National Championship.

“I expect it to be tough and filled with good teams,” Walls said. “I expect that we will have a long road to the championship, but we definitely can make it to Nationals. We have a team that can go all the way and even win it.”

The goal from the beginning for a team with this much talent is a trip to Danville and the National Tournament, where only the best junior colleges compete. Parkland’s plan is to not only reach this site, but challenge the teams that are talented enough to make it there.

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