Blue Knights season comes to an end
on a half court heave at the buzzer as
SWIC escapes, 104-101

 Olney Central College

made the trip to Rend Lake

College for a District 16

quarterfinal matchup.

The Blue Knights (21-9)

would face off with Southwestern

Illinois College (24-


The Blue Storm picked

up both wins earlier in the

season over the Blue


Southwestern knocked

off the Blue Knights in The

Dungeon on January 20th,

98-94, on a game that

slipped away from the


In the rematch, Southwestern

was able to pick up

the win at home, 96-84, on

February 27th.

The third meeting between

District 16’s #3 seeded

Blue Storm and #6 seed

Blue Knights capped off a

day full of basketball at

Rend Lake.

It was a nightmare start

for the Blue Knights as

Southwestern blitzed Olney

in the first two and a half

minutes of the game.

Jaalam Hill kickstarted a

10-3 run to start the game

with a shot inside the paint.

Javonte Perkins followed

that with a another bucket

at the rim off an Olney Central


The Blue Knights were

trying to slow down the uptempo

style of the Blue


Sophomore guard Erikas

Jakstys was able to halt the

quick 4-0 burst out of the

gate drawing contact on a

three point attempt to earn

three free tosses.

Kenny Roberson and

Destan Williams followed

that with Roberson converting

twice on slicing layings

and Williams scoring

at the rim.

Trailing 10-3 in the early

going, Olney would have to

turn to their freshman

guard and leading scorer on

the year, Josiah Wallace.

Wallace would find a way

to alter his body on a driving

laying to cut short the

10-3 run.

After Roberson again

found room inside, Wallace

would draw a foul, split the

free throws, and then knock

down a deeep two point

jumper cutting the gap

down to four.

Oliver Stephen would

find space for his lone field

goald on the game.

Roberson, on his way to a

23 point night, continued to

provide a difficult cover for

the Knights.

The Blue Knights would

continue to keep Southwestern

a little off balance

by putting pressure on the

defense drawing fouls ont

he higher seeded Blue


“Perkins and Hill were

limited in their action with

foul trouble,” Olney head

coach Mike Burris said

about the Knights ability to

get two of the better Blue

Storm players in foul trouble.

Javonte Perkins was

still able to play 31 minutes,

while Hill was limited to 18.

“We were not able to capitalize

on it. You have to give

their guys credit off the


One of those standout reserves

was five-foot-seven

Mt. Vernon, Illinois product,

Braden Fitzjerrells.

The small statured guard

brought a lift with his ability

to knock down shots and

run an offense at the point.

“They had guys step up in

the biggest game of the year

to this point, and they just

made plays,” Burris said.

The Blue Knights continued

to battle with the Blue

Storm during the first half.

Southwestern would get

buckets off the bench from

Fitzjerrells, Aumonie Armond,

and Bralyn James to

push the lead to 24-17 with

12:05 left in the first half.

Olney Central would lock

down and lean on Walalce

and Jakstys to claw their

way on top.

Wallace would knock in a

pair of free throws and then

a two point jumper.

Jakstsys would bury a

three pointer cutting the

gap down to 26-24.

Davion Warren, knocked

in his lone field goal of the

game to put the Blue

Knights ahead 27-26 with

10:08 left in the a three

pointer from the top of the

key.Destan Williams would

answer and put the Blue

Storm back on top just 23

seconds later.

Wallace would tie the

game at 29 before the Blue

Storm would explode on a

13-3 run.

Jordan notch would bury

a triple adn then break free

for a shot inside.

Warren would split a pair

of free tosses as Southwestern

began to roll offensively.

Fitzjerrells and Jakstys

would trade two point

jumpers, with the Blue

Storm holding a 36-32 lead.

Fitzjerrells would knock

in back-to-back triples to

power Southwestern Illinois

to a 42-32 lead with

5:05 remaining.

Again, Jakstys and Wallace

would lead the charge

back for Olney Central.

“We got down, and there

was no quit,” Olney’s Mike

Burris said of his team. The

Blue Knight head man was

proud of the effort his players

showed on the night.

Jakstys started the close

of the half with two free

throws. Wade Coomer

would follow a Roberson

hoop with a three pointer.

Josiah Wallace would hit

back-to-back shots in the

lane to draw the Knights

back within three at 2:27 of

the first half.

A near two minute scoreless

stretch would be ended

by Brayln James hitting a

jumper with 39 seconds left

to play.

The Blue Storm would

force an OCC turnover and

then covert on a layin with

five seconds left in the half

to take a 48-41 lead into the


“The first half, I thought

we got outplayed to the

50/50 balls,” said Burris of

the Blue Storm collecting

more loose balls in the first

half. “Their role players did

a tremendous job.”

The Blue Knights would

storm back to start the second

half as freshman center

Tyler Witz began to become

a force.

Witz went scoreless in the

first half and exploded in

the second.

The freshman powered

the Blue Knights with two

straight buckets to start the

second half.

Wallace would also break

free at the rim for a hoop

and the seven point deficit

at the half was slashed

down to one with 18:25 left

in the game.

Robersno and Jaalam

Hill would push back with a

6-0 run of their own as each

team would trade blows the

entire 20 minutes.

Wallace would knock

down a deep three pointer

and Witz would convert an

old fashion three point play

as the lead was cut down to


Roberson would continue

to be a thorn in the side of

the nights converting at the


Javonte Perkins, who was

limited in the first half due

to fouls, would begin to

catch fire in the second.

After hitting a pair of free

throws, Olney would continue

to play with the favored

Blue Storm. Nathan

Scott would hit a tough shot

inside as the lead SWIC

lead stayed at four.

Southwestern would

push a 5-0 run which Olney

countered with a 7-0 run.

Roberson and Perkins

would push the Blue Storm

ahead 74-65, their biggest

lead of the second half, with

8:35 left in the game.

“You have to credit our

guys coming back in the

second half and fighting

like they did,” Burris said

about his team. “Our guys

tried to fight and keep our

season alive.”

Olney would continue to

claw and fight their way


“Tyler had a great second

half,” Burris said of the big

man. “Tyler grew up and

was a man in the second

half and gave us an opportunity.”

Witz would convert a

shot inside off a nice find

from Wallace to cut the gap

to 76-71.

As the Knights continued

to fight back, Jakstys would

deliver a beautiful bounce

pass off a pick and roll to

lead Witz to an open layin.

Perkins would hit a shot

against the Blue Knights

zone that was mixed in during

the game to slow down

the Blue Storm.

Following Perkins

jumper, Witz answered

with an offensive rebound

stick back.

Wallace and Jakstys

would then again, take

charge for the Blue Knights

as time began to grow


“(Wallace) and (Jakstys)

were doing everything to

will us,” Burris said of the

guard duo.

Jakstys and Wallace converted

a pair of two point

hoops to cut the Southwestern

lead down to 82-79,

with 3:49 to play in the


Perkins would hit a shot

inside against the zone and

then bury a pair of free tosses

as the lead, again, went

to seven.

Jakstys would hit a big

three for the Blue Knights

to keep Southwestern from

getting too far ahead. 

 “We had guys make plays

all game long and accepted

every challenge,” said Burris

of the teams resolve to

come back.

Another one of those

players was Anfernee King

who stepped up and

knocked home a huge three

pointer with 57 seconds left

to play in the game cutting

the deficit to three.

After forcing a big missed

shot, the Blue Knights

Wade Coomer took a hard

drive to the rim and drew


The freshman would

knock both shots in with 11

seconds to play, cutting the

Blue Storm lead to one.

After Javonte Perkins hit

the first, and missed the

second free throw, Olney

had a shot to tie or win in


“I have said it all year,

Josiah Wallace is the best

player in the region,” Burris

said of the standout Blue

Knight freshman. “He had

37 tonight and he earned

every one.”

Coomer would rip down

the rebound off the free

throw miss and find Wallace.

The Marshall native

would drive and the ball

would bounce loose. Wallace

would pick the ball up

off a bounce and turn

around falling away just inside

the arc line and drain a

jumper to tie the game at

the horn, 89-89.

“Big players make big

plays in big games,” Burris


In teh extra session,the

Blue Knights would strike

first as Wallace knocked in

a layin for his 37th point.

Southwestern would answer

and surge ahead 98-

94 after Perkins hit a three

pointer with 1:56 remaining.

“They face guarded him

to try to take him away and

he kept finding ways to

make plays,” Burris said of


After the Blue Storm

went ahead 101-96 the

freshman drew the defense,

kicked a feed to Jakstys who

then drew another defender

and Wade Coomer drained

a huge three as the lead

dwindled to two.

“Wade has played good

down the stretch,” Burris

said of the freshman.

Olney got a missed shot

and had a chance, again, to

win or tie.

After Wallace shot was off

the mark, Tyler Witz ripped

away a rebound and was

fouled on his put back with

1.6 seconds to play.

“Tyler gets a big rebound

and hits two big free

throws,” said Burris of Witz.

Olney’s head coach was

proud of the big mans play.

After Witz knocked in the

free throws with 1.6 seconds,

Southwestern had a

shot to win the game.

Jaalam Hill received an

inbounds pass and took one

dribble and flung up a beyond

half court prayer.

The prayer was answered

as the shot banked in at the

buzzer as Southwestern

stunned the Blue Knights

with a beyond half court

game winning buzzer beater,


“A kid makes an unbelievable

play,” Burris said of the

Hill game winner. “At the

end of the day, it comes

down to making a play.

Sometimes you need a little


Southwestern held on to

pick up the overtime win,

104-101 to advance on the

semifinals today with a date

against John A. Logan.

“We gave everything we

had. I don’t know what tomorrow

would have held

for us, but we would have

figured it out. There wasn’t

a kid that didn’t give us

everythign he had tonight.

It was a great effort, proud

of our guys,” a devasted, but

proud, Mike Burris said.

“We will walk out with our

head up high, just disappointed

we didn’t come up

on the left side of the column


A crushing loss, but the

Blue Knights pushed the favored

Blue Storm to the

limit and had a chance to

pull off the upset.

“It was an emotional

locker room. All ten guys in

uniform, and they have

been all year, they have

been locked in and invested

in each, to our program,

and community. It is hard

to take,” Mike Burris said.

“Erikas and Roy are going

to be able to move on and

do good things. Our freshmen

were are going to sit

down and see what the best

move for each one. The

coaching staff is going to hit

the road and try to build off

the year that we had.”

The 21-10 Blue Knights,

put up a great year, and

Coach Burris wanted to

thank the fans for being a

part of the journey.

“We appreicate all the

fans,” said the Olney coach

of the support his team has

received all year.


Points: Josiah Wallace -

37, Erikas Jakstys - 23, Tyler

Witz - 17, Wade Coomer - 9,

Anfernee King - 7, Davion

Warren - 4, Nathan Scott -


Rebounds: Josiah Wallace

- 6, Tyler Witz - 6,

Nathan Scott - 5, Davion

Warren - 5, Wade Coomer -

4, Erikas Jakstys - 3, Anfernee

King - 2, Cooper Bybee

- 1. Assists: Erikas Jakstys -

4, Josiah Wallace - 3,

Davion Warren - 2, Wade

Coomer - 2, Nathan Scott -


Blocks: Josiah Wallace -

3, Nathan Scott - 2, Tyler

Witz - 1.

Steals: Erikas Jakstys - 1,

Anfernee King - 1, Josiah

Wallace - 1, Tyler Witz - 1.


Points: Javonte Perkins -

25, Kenny Roberson - 23,

Braden Fitzjerrells - 16,

Jaalam Hill - 13, Aumonie

Armond - 7, Jordan Notch -

7, Bralyn James - 6, Oliver

Stephen - 4, Destan

Williams - 3.

Rebounds: Oliver

Stephen - 7, Kenny Roberson

- 7, Aumonie Armond -

5, Jaalam Hill - 5, Trevor

Davis - 5, Javonte Perkins -

4, Destan Williams - 3, Bralyn

James - 2.

Assists: Braden Fitzjerrells

- 7, Destan Williams -

6, Oliver Stephen - 3, Bralyn

James - 1, Jaalam Hill -


Blocks: Aumonie Armond

- 1.

Steals: Destan Williams -

2, Jaalam Hill - 2, Tra Ron

Allen - 1, Braden Fitzjerrells

- 1, Aumonie Armond - 1,

Javonte Perkins - 1.