Area athletes claim college honors

JARED MACDONALD - [email protected]
Brent Bach - Bellarmine University Athletics

Several hailing from The Ledger Independent’s coverage area claimed high honors in their respective conferences.

Augusta graduate Brent Bach was named First Team All-Great Lakes Valley Conference and Peebles graduate Beau Justice was named the Gulf South Conference Player of the Year, while several from the area also claimed honors in the Mid-South Conference.

Bach, the all-time leading scorer at Augusta with 2,615 points, led Bellarmine University to a 25-2 regular season record with his team-high 15.8 points per game. The senior shoots 57 percent from the field and over 47 percent from beyond the arc. He also grabs 3.2 rebounds and dishes out 1.3 assists per game.

The former Panther claimed GLVC Player of the Week honors in January. The Knights picked up an 82-67 win over University of Indianapolis last Thursday behind Bach’s 26 points, extending Bellarmine’s home winning streak to 57 games.

Bellarmine is currently ranked fourth in the NCAA Division II National Association of Basketball Coaches’ Poll and the D2SIDA Poll, and kicked off the GLVC Tournament on Friday.

Justice scored 2,370 points for Peebles and still sits atop the Southern Hills Athletic Conference career scoring list.

He hasn’t stopped scoring since graduating in 2015, either.

The junior averages 20.7 points per game for Valdosta State University, while shooting over 48 percent from the field and nearly 43 percent from 3-point range. His 20.7 points per game are the third-most in the GSC, his field goal percentage is 10th-most and his 3-point percentage is the second-highest. He averages three triples a game, the second-most in the league. Justice also is second in the GSC and 10th in the nation in free throw percentage, knocking down 90.1 percent of his shots from the charity stripe. He adds 3.8 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game.

Justice, who transferred to Valdosta State from West Liberty University in West Virginia, became only the third Blazer to hit the 1,000 point mark in less than two full seasons by notching 16 points in a 68-67 win over University of Montevallo on Feb. 14.

The Blazers are currently 26-3 and ranked 14th in the NCAA Division II NABC Poll and the D2SIDA poll. They’re scheduled to play Delta State University in the GSC Tournament semifinals on Saturday at 6 p.m. They beat Delta State on Jan. 7, 81-69.

Former Mason County coach Kelly Wells was named the MSC Coach of the Year for the second time in his career. Wells, who claimed the state title with the Royals in 2003, helped University of Pikeville to its third Mid-South Conference regular season title in five seasons after going 11-3 in conference play. The Bears moved to 28-3 overall with a win over Shawnee State in the MSC Tournament on Friday and will take on Campbellsville at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Fleming County graduate Troy Steward grabbed First Team MSC honors. Steward averaged 15.7 points, four rebounds and 2.1 assists per game through 29 games as Georgetown College posted a 24-5 overall record. The Tigers beat Cumberland, 85-82, in the MSC Tournament on Friday to earn a berth in Saturday’s semifinals. Steward is fifth in the conference in points per game, 10th in field goal percentage at 44.6 percent and 10th in 3-piont percentage at 38.4 percent.

Bracken County grad Bailey Cummins also picked up First Team honors as Shawnee State is currently ranked the No. 1 team in the NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll. Cummins averages 13.1 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game. She fires nearly 49 percent from the field and 43 percent from beyond the arc. Her 13.1 points per game puts her at eighth in the conference in scoring and her 4.4 assists are second-most in the MSC, while her 3-point percentage is the best in the conference.

The Bears moved to 28-3 with a 111-49 win over Life University in the MSC Tournament on Thursday. They’ll continue tournament play on Saturday against Cumberland.

Brent Bach Bach Bellarmine University Athletics


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