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Skyhawks basketball stays undefeated

FLC women close out nonconference schedule 3-3
Ra'Shjon Martinez of Fort Lewis College, pictured playing defense against Northern New Mexico earlier this season, was one of several players who gave FLC a spark Saturday. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

The Fort Lewis College men's basketball team soared past Navajo Technical University 120-78 on Saturday. The Skyhawks capped off an undefeated nonconference schedule with a statement, tying for the fifth-most points in a single game in program history.

Fort Lewis is now 6-0 overall, keeping pace with No. 6/5 Black Hills State and No. 13/13 Colorado School of Mines for the top spot in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. The Skyhawks also matched the program’s record by starting 6-0, which FLC has done just twice before in 2019-20 and 1977-78. Navajo Tech fell to 0-5 overall.

“We started off sluggish tonight, but then our bench really stepped up,” said Fort Lewis College head coach Bob Pietrack. “We preach all the time in our program that we don't have starters or bench players, just an effective rotation.”

“Sekou Dembele, Trevor Trost, Obi Agbim, Ra'Shjon Martinez and Junior Garbrah, I am proud of all of these guys for stepping up tonight,” Pietrack said. “I believe we have challenged ourselves greatly with our nonconference schedule, but at the same time, we understand the gauntlet that awaits us. The RMAC schedule is a long and tough one filled with peaks and valleys, but we feel like we have the roster to weather it at a high level.”

Akuel Kot led all players with 26 points and tallied four rebounds, one assist and three steals as well. Kot was then named the RMAC’s offensive player of the week. In addition to his performance Saturday, Kot scored 34 points in FLC’s 99-85 win over Southeastern Oklahoma State University on Friday, shooting 11-15 from the floor, 6-9 from three and 6-7 at the free-throw line.

Rich Serrano led Navajo Tech with 25 points.

Dembele secured his first collegiate double-double with 15 points and 15 rebounds. Dembele also tied Kot to lead FLC with three steals.

Agbim scored 15 points and led the Skyhawks with five assists. Dunnell Stafford supplied 10 points, Trost scored 14 and Garbrah added 13.

The Skyhawks bench dominated Navajo Tech in both points off the bench, 66-27, and points in the paint, 56-24.

FLC will next return to Alamosa on Thursday to play Adams State in its RMAC opener. FLC will then play Western Colorado at home at 7 p.m. on Saturday after the women’s game.

FLC women to lose to Mesa, 78-61

Reaching the 20-point mark for the second-straight game, freshman Lanae Billy led the Skyhawks women’s basketball team in a 78-61 nonconference loss to Colorado Mesa University on Sunday.

“Lanae is a very gifted player. Her teammates have confidence in her and they are her biggest fans,” said head coach Taylor Harris. “That is what you love to see in a team.”

Billy's 20 points led the team, followed by 12 for sophomore Avery Evans. Junior Kelsey Sorenson contributed 10 points to go along with a team-high eight rebounds. Seniors Kaitlyn Bell and Alyssa Adams each had two blocks to lead the way.

FLC jumped out to a 12-lead with five points from both Billy and Sorenson. Mesa, however, went on a 12-2 run to lead 21-15 after the first quarter.

Mesa continued to pull away and led 45-28 at halftime. The teams were even in the third and fourth quarters as Mesa held on to win by 17.

Fort Lewis closed out its nonconference schedule 3-3 overall. FLC will begin its conference season at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Adams State and then host Western Colorado at 5 p.m. Saturday.