February 27, 2014 – Spartans’ Season Ends - After a successful first half of the season and rough section to start the conference season, the Spartans were starting to play like a conference contender until one night in early February. The Spartans were on the road at Oakton in a must win situation to keep pace with the leaders when tragedy struck and Zach Cooper went down. The final seven games of the season were never the same.
"We were playing really well going into Oakton that night,” said Coach Nosbisch. “We were playing really well in the first six minutes, and then our season took a sudden change. I will not call it a negative change because having Cooper still with us could never be categorized as a negative,” he continued. “But that event really put a lot of things into perspective and basketball just wasn’t that important anymore.”
The Spartans would limp into the playoffs with injuries occurring to Brock Ralphs, Raynard Judkins, and Ryan Ritchie over the final seven games. The Spartans would lose road games at Lake County, Moraine Valley, and McHenry while losing a home game to Waubonsee. They would win home games over McHenry and Morton, which prevented Morton from winning the title outright in the regular season finale.
“We played that regular season finale without Brock, Coop, and Ryan and Raynard was not at 100%, but our kids battled,” said Nosbisch. “Nick Nekola got his first start of the season that day, and he played well along with John Leigeber and all the other guys.”
The Spartans would receive the #6 seed for the Region IV playoffs and travel to Olive-Harvey who was the #3 seed and a 20 win team. The Spartans would go toe to toe with the Panthers for the first 30 minutes of the game before running out of gas as Olive-Harvey would pull away and eventually win 100-83 ending the season for the Spartans.
“We came to win, but without Cooper and all the injuries we had over the last three weeks, we just ran out of gas,” said Nosbisch. “I am so proud of our guys,” he continued. “We could have quit and just called it a season when everyone went down. But we didn’t. That is a testament to the guys in this program.”
The Spartans will say goodbye to four sophomores including First Team All-Conference performers Zach Cooper and Brock Ralphs as well as John Leigeber and student assistant coach Cullen Lange. “I can’t say enough about those four guys,” said Nosbisch. “They are great kids that not only played hard but represented this program as good students as well.”
The Spartans will now turn their focus to the recruiting class for next year. “We have nine freshmen and six of them played valuable minutes this year,” said Nosbisch. “With the combination of incoming freshmen we could be really special next year, but it will take a lot of work. We can’t wait to get started.”
February 25, 2014 – Region IV Tournament – The Spartans will open the quarterfinal round of the Region IV District A Tournament on Thursday, February 27. ECC, the #6 seed, will take on Olive-Harvey College, the #3 seed, in Chicago with tip-off at 7:15 p.m. This will be the first time that both teams have faced each other this year.
February 18, 2014 - Spirit Night! - The ECC Student Life Department, the Athletic Department and the Men's and Women's Basketball teams are proud sponsors of Spirit Night and Sophomore Night on Thursday, February 20, 2014. The Spartans will take on Prairie State College at 5:15 p.m. (women's game) and 7:00 p.m. (men's game) at the Spartan Events Center. There is no charge for admittance. For the fans, in addition to seeing exciting basketball games and the sophomore Spartan players recognized, there will be free food and giveaways. Come and cheer the Spartans on to a win!
February 7, 2014 – Make-Up Dates Announced – Both the January 28 McHenry County College and February 1 Morton College men’s basketball games were postponed due to bad weather. The make-up dates for both contests have been announced. ECC will play McHenry on Saturday, February 15 at Crystal Lake at 3:00 p.m. The Spartans will host Morton College on Saturday, February 22 at 3:00 p.m.
January 31, 2014 – Morton Game to be Rescheduled – Because of the expected snow, tomorrow’s game against Morton College at the Events Center has been cancelled. The game is to be rescheduled for a later date.
January 24, 2014 - Black Hawk Game Cancelled - Due to the anticipated bad weather conditions, tomorrow's 1:00 p.m. home game against Black Hawk College has been cancelled.
January 22, 2014 - Spartans Hang On at Waubonsee - The Spartans traveled to Waubonsee Community College last night, a place they haven’t won at in eight years, to take on the defending conference co-champion. Each team entered the game with a 1-2 conference record and both in need of a win to stay in the race.
After a slow start to the game, the Spartans switched defenses to try and create a tempo change. “We want to play fast and Waubonsee came out and took the air out of the ball,” said Coach Nosbisch. “We needed a change in tempo and switched to a man-to-man defense and it worked.”
The Spartans’ Jon Leigeber came off the bench to hit four three’s in the first half to spark ECC and give them a 36-27 halftime lead. “I found the gaps in their zone and my teammates reversed the ball quickly and I got open looks,” said Leigeber. “Once we hit some open shots the tempo changed in our favor.”
The second half would start the same way the first half ended with the Spartans controlling the tempo and taking a 16 point lead with 12 minutes remaining. However, the Chiefs would not go quietly. The Spartans would go 10 consecutive possessions without scoring allowing Waubonsee to close the gap. But Zach Cooper would hit a 15 foot jumper to give the Spartans a 53-50 lead. Waubonsee would miss a short jumper and Zach Harris (9 rebounds) would grab the rebound and get fouled. Harris would hit one of two free throws giving the Spartans a four point lead. Waubonsee hit a three-pointer and fouled Matt Chaltin with 14 seconds remaining. Chaltin would miss the front end of a 1-and-1 setting up Waubonsee with a chance to win the game.
However, the Spartan defense would put the clamps on preventing the Chiefs from even getting an attempt off and walked out a 54-53 winner.
“The last 12 minutes wasn’t pretty but we got the job done,” said Nosbisch. “At this time of the year it doesn’t matter what it looks like as long as it’s a win. And to come here and win is a difficult thing to do,” he continued. “Coach Heiss is a great coach, and they have such a deep history of winning here.”
The Spartans will return home Thursday night to host Moraine Valley Community College. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.
January 17, 2014 - Spartans Get First Conference Win - Last night, as the temperature dropped, one thing was heating up in Elgin. It was the combined shooting of the College of Lake County and Elgin Community College. The first half started with Lake County racing out to a 26-13 lead as Gabriel Ramirez hit three straight three-pointers in a span of 55 seconds to spark CLC. However, the Spartans would answer with their own spark in Brock Ralphs, and the Spartans would close the halftime gap to three.
“We didn’t lose focus and we weathered the storm,” said Coach Nosbisch. “It would have been easy to drop our heads and pout after starting the conference 0-2, but we continued to battle and slowly closed the gap by halftime.”
The Spartans would start the second half the same way it ended in the first; with hot shooting. With a combination of players including Brock Ralphs (32 points), Jon Leigeber (14 points), and Matt Chaltin (13 points), the Spartans would open up a 16 point lead before finishing the game with an 87-76 victory over the previously undefeated in conference Lancers.
“We needed to get this victory to stay in the race,” said Ralphs. “This was a must win situation especially with it being on our home court.”
The Spartans will now try to continue to climb the conference ladder with a road game Tuesday at Waubonsee Community College before hosting Moraine Valley on Thursday.
“We just need to focus on one game at a time right now,” said Nosbisch. “We can only take care of the games that we play in and can’t worry about what other teams are doing.”
November 19, 2013 - Spartans Tame #18 Kougars - Kishwaukee Community College came into the Events Center with a 4-1 record, a 23.5 average margin of victory and ranked 18th in the nation. The Spartans entered with a 3-3 record after completing its most challenging schedule to start the year off in recent years.
“We have taken on the challenge of a tough schedule to start this season off,” said Coach Nosbisch. “Kishwaukee is a very good team with an impressive start,” he continued, “but we have taken on Rend Lake, Lincoln Land, Carl Sandburg on the road, and ICC already. We were ready for another challenge.”
And the Spartans would do just that. After exchanging leads early with the Kougars the Spartans would erupt and eventually take a 57-38 halftime lead. After scoring the first five points of the second half they would hold their largest lead of the night (62-38) before Kishwaukee would make their run and close the gap to 77-71.
“We almost let them back in,” said guard John Moss after scoring 15 points in his first collegiate start. “Coach told us during a timeout that we just needed to relax and get back to what we had done in the first half.”
Brock Ralphs would lead the Spartans in scoring with 21 points while Moss chipped in 15, Moter Deng 13, Demitri Strickland 11, and Raynard Judkins 11.
“We got great play off our bench tonight when the starters got into foul trouble,” said Nosbisch. “In order for us to be successful we need our bench to play well every night.”
“That is a great win for our program,” said Ralphs. “Kishwaukee is a quality opponent,” he continued. “We really wanted to get that quality win and send a message.”
The Spartans will now take a week off and then return to the road with games at Harper College and Madison College. ECC is now 4-3 overall and 3-1 at home.
November 9, 2013 - Spartans Steal Road Win - The Spartans visited Carl Sandburg College on Saturday for their third road game out of the first four games to start the 2013-2014. It also happened to be the home opener for the Chargers but the Spartans had plans of spoiling the party.
The game would have 16 lead changes and five ties before the final horn would sound. When the final horn did sound the Spartans would have the final lead of the night and a 70-68 victory. “What a great game,” said Coach Nosbisch. “That almost felt like a playoff atmosphere with Sandburg having a big crowd and our fans traveled a great distance to see us.”
The Spartans would fall behind immediately 4-0 before running off 10 straight points to gain a 10-4 lead. The rest of the half would see each team go back and forth until the Chargers would take a 33-30 halftime lead.
Sandburg would eventually take their largest lead at 39-34 before the Spartans would begin their climb. After going back and forth the game would come down to the last minute. With one minute remaining and Sandburg holding a 66-65 lead with the ball, Juwan Hubbard missed a running 10 footer which was rebounded by Brock Ralphs. As the Spartans began their fast break they would turn it right back over to the Chargers with 52 seconds remaining.
After the inbounds, Raynard Judkins and Demitri Strickland would trap and Judkins would eventually make the steal and layup with 45 seconds remaining to put ECC back up 67-66. On the next Charger possession, Zach Ziemba would get fouled and hit both free throws to put Sandburg back up 68-67 with 28 seconds remaining.
The Spartans would come down the floor and find Demitri Strickland who would miss a 15 footer but Zach Cooper would clean up his miss and convert the field goal with 13 seconds remaining to put the Spartans back up 69-68. As the Chargers would come flying down the floor, an illegal screen would be called with seven seconds remaining to give the Spartans the ball back. After inbounding to Jake Thomas, he would convert one of two at the free throw line to put ECC up 70-68. Sandburg would miss a running 10 footer as time expired giving the Spartans the victory.
“What a great defensive play by Demitri and Raynard with 45 seconds to go,” said Nosbisch. “That steal and layup was without a doubt the play of the day.”
“We didn’t give up,” said Judkins. “Coach is always talking about playing all 40 minutes. To come in here and win against a very good basketball team on their home opener is huge.”
The Spartans were led in scoring by Jake Thomas with 20 points, followed by Zach Cooper with 14 points (16 rebounds) and Brock Ralphs with 10. Raynard Judkins finished with seven points, four assists, and seven steals.
“That was a big win for us,” said Cooper. “We just need to continue to focus on one game at a time and everything else will take care of itself.”
The Spartans return home Tuesday to host the College of DuPage. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.
October 8, 2013 – Spartan Jamboree – ECC will host its first annual Spartan Jamboree on Sunday, October 13 at the Events Center, Building J. The Jamboree will feature 12 teams from the Midwest area in scrimmages beginning at 10:00 a.m. and ending at approximately 5:30 p.m. The participants include ECC, Clinton Community College, Harper College, Indiana Dabney University, McHenry County College, Moraine Valley Community College, Oakton Community College, Prairie State College, Triton College, Truman College, Waubonsee Community College and Wright College.
Admission to the Jamboree will be $5 per person with a maximum of $20 per family. There will be a limited concession stand open selling snacks, popcorn and drinks at the Events Center.
September 25, 2013 – Spartans Compete in Alumni Games – The 2013-14 Spartans will get their season underway on Saturday, October 12 at 12:00 p.m. in the ECC Events Center, Building J with a scrimmage against Spartan alumni from past years’ men’s basketball teams. Admission is free for those fans who wish to watch the scrimmage.
April 9, 2013 - Post Season Honors - Freshman forward Zachary Cooper earned Region IV All-Region Second Team honors based on his valuable all-around performance throughout the basketball season. Cooper’s consistency in his contributions to the Spartans' efforts were apparent in his season’s stats; 11.7 points per game, a 53% field goal average, eight rebounds per game, and two blocks per game.
February 28, 2013 - Spartans Season Ends - The Spartans traveled to Morton College on Thursday night, a place they had visited just nine days prior, to take on the Panthers in their first round Region IV playoff game. In a complete turnaround from their first visit, ECC gave Morton all they could handle for 40 minutes.
In their last meeting (a 110-70 Morton victory), the Panthers had dictated the tempo from the start. It was the Spartans’ game plan to slow the tempo down and put themselves in a position to win the game in the final moments. That is exactly what happened. When the final horn sounded and the Spartans last shot hit the rim, ECC found itself on the losing end of a 70-67 defeat.
“We executed the game plan to perfection,” said sophomore Brandon Tyson, playing in his last game as a Spartan. “We looked like a completely different team tonight from nine days ago.”
The Spartans found themselves down one with 1:15 left in the game and headed to the line. After missing both free throws, the Panthers ran the shot clock down and hit a “3” to go up four points. ECC would race down the floor and Jonathan Leigeber (23 points) would answer with his own “3” to cut the lead back to 1. After fouling, the Panthers would hit both free throws to set up the last shot for the Spartans. ECC ran the play to perfection, but a shot to tie the game would bounce around and out, sending the Spartans home for good.
“What can I say about tonight’s performance?” said Coach Reed Nosbisch. “I am so proud of the kids. We had to travel to our conference co-champion’s place and obviously last week’s result here would intimidate anyone. But we didn’t back down. We took every punch that they threw, and we swung back harder.”
The loss ends the careers of sophomores Vytas Jaras, Kenny Hughes, Brandon Cork, Brandon Tyson, and Shyler Ralphs.
“Those five kids gave everything they had tonight,” said Nosbisch. “They gave everything they had for two years. They have played for a Region IV title and represented this school and program so well. Words could not describe how I feel about them.”
February 25, 2013 – Skyway Conference Honors – At the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference coaches’ meeting held yesterday, two ECC players received All-Conference awards.
Freshman forward Zach Cooper was named to the All-Conference First Team. Among the NJCAA Division II national stat leaders, he ranks 22nd in defensive rebounds (152) and 24th in blocks (47). Cooper averaged 11.7 points per game.
All-Conference Second Team honors were earned by freshman forward Brandon Tyson. Tyson averaged 13.4 points and 4 rebounds per game.
January 26, 2013 - Spartans Receive Verbal Commitment for 2030 - On Saturday afternoon, the Spartans hosted the Chargers from Carl Sandburg College in a non-conference battle. However, there were more important things going on at the Spartan Events Center than just a basketball game. The Spartans were hosting another visitor….the Erickson family.
About three years ago, assistant coach Scott Cork saw a documentary on the television show “HBO Real Sports”. In that documentary the audience met a young girl named Jaclyn, who was diagnosed with brain cancer at the age of 9. After hearing about her story, Northwestern University’s women’s lacrosse team adopted her which led to her father starting an organization called “Friends of Jaclyn.”
Immediately after seeing the show, Coach Cork signed the Spartans up for the program. Fast forward to Saturday and the introduction of the Spartans newest member….Matthew Erickson.
Matthew was born in December, 2011 with brain cancer. After four surgeries and five rounds of chemotherapy, Matthew is doing very well. The Erickson family signed up for “Friends of Jaclyn” and instantly a match was found…the Spartans of Elgin Community College.
This past Saturday, prior to their game with Sandburg, the Spartans made their newest friend Matthew a part of their family. A ceremony was held as the men’s basketball team “adopted” Matthew as its newest brother.
“I can’t say enough how tough Matthew is,” said Coach Reed Nosbisch. “I have now been around him for two hours, and I know he really doesn’t know what is going on, but he hasn’t stopped smiling.”
The ceremony included Matthew’s mom Sue telling the story of Matthew’s journey as well as gifts presented not only to Matthew, but his older brother and sister as well as his parents. Special donations were also presented to the family followed by cake and plenty of pictures.
“Many people have told me what a great thing it is we are doing for Matthew,” said Nosbisch. “What I tell them is ‘It’s not about what we are doing for him, it’s about what he is telling us….that no matter what the situation is, we must always continue to fight."
“We just want to help the family out,” continued Nosbisch. “If anyone wants to be impressed with someone, be impressed with Matthew and all the other people that have stepped up to help or make donations. Our program is more than just playing basketball. It’s about being a family and doing things for people in the community.”
Eventually the Spartans would play a basketball game that they would lose 71-57, but the day belonged to Matthew. “What a great day,” said sophomore Brandon Cork. “I can’t say enough about the Erickson family. I was moved by his story and know that we will do everything we can to help him out.”
“Part of my job as a coach is to help build young minds,” said Nosbisch. “Sometimes as coaches we forget those things and focus on winning and losing. Today, hopefully, my guys will walk out of here knowing how much other people need them.”
March 21, 2012 – Post Season Honors – Based on their rock solid performances during the regular season, two Spartans were selected to the Region IV Division II District B All-Region Team. Sophomore forward Corey Rau earned First Team honors and sophomore guard Mike Banks was selected to the Second Team. Rau averaged 13 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists per game while Banks averaged 13 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals a game.
Rau and Banks were also named to the Region IV DII District B All-Tournament Team. The Spartans had a three game run in the Region IV Tournament, advancing to the championship game but losing to Moraine Valley Community College 75-64. In those three games, Rau tallied 56 points, 22 rebounds, and 10 assists. Banks combined totals were 46 points, 9 rebounds, and 9 assists.
March 10, 2012 - Spartans Fall in Title Game - There is no doubt that Elgin Community College was playing its best basketball at the end of the season. The Spartans had won five out of their previous six games entering Saturday’s Region IV Championship basketball game and a berth in the NJCAA National Tournament on the line. However, their opponent, Moraine Valley Community College, entered the game on a 13 game winning streak. Who was the last team to defeat the Cyclones? ECC did on January 17 at Moraine Valley.
The Spartans and Cyclones came out hesitant as both teams struggled to score in the early minutes.
“I think if you watch any championship game, whether it’s a high school game, college game, or professional game, both teams come out tight because they both understand what is on the line,” said Coach Reed Nosbisch.
Momentum would change when the Cyclones put Mike O’Donnell into the game. The freshman would knock down 6 of 7 three point field goals in the first half and lead Moraine Valley into the half time locker room with a 44-28 lead.
“Our defense was good in the first half,” said Nosbisch. “We held their top two weapons down, and then this kid comes off the bench like Superman coming out of the telephone booth, and he knocked everything down. Some of those were with hands in his face.”
The Spartans would not quit. They would eventually cut the Cyclone lead down to eight with six minutes to go in the game.
“I never thought we didn’t have a chance today,” said Nosbisch. “The way our kids battle, I knew they wouldn’t quit, but the hole we dug ourselves was just too deep.”
The Spartans would eventually fall 75-64 sending the #19 team in the country on to Danville to compete with the final 16 teams in the NJCAA Division II championship tournament.
“I was asked if I was disappointed,” said Nosbisch. “Disappointed is not the word. There are 12 other teams in Region IV sitting at home today while we were still playing. As a matter of fact, there are only 32 teams that were playing for the right to go to Danville, and we were one of them,” he continued. “How can I say I am disappointed? We have great kids in this program and we just took a major step to building this program into a contender every year. Disappointed? I don’t think so.”
The Spartans will now need to replace six sophomores for next season, including starters Mike Banks and Corey Rau who were both named to the All-Tournament Team as well as Lance Vesper, Sean Meyer, Drew Simonini, and Shane Larkin.
“It was very emotional in the locker room afterwards,” said Nosbisch. “That is what makes these kids so special. They are a family. They have gone through so much together and have been a joy to coach. Most importantly they are good people as well as good students. They have represented ECC so well. We are going to miss them.”
March 4, 2012 - Spartans Shoot into Title Game - The Spartans entered their semi-final game Sunday using legendary hockey coach Herb Brooks famous quote “Great moments are born through great opportunities.” And that is exactly what the Spartans did, create a great moment.
ECC was able to pull off the upset of conference co-champion Waubonsee Community College tonight winning 82-73. The Spartans would trail only one time during the game (4-3) and never lose their composure throughout the 40 minutes.
“What can I say?” said Coach Reed Nosbisch. “I am so proud of these kids. They have worked so hard this year and deserve to be heading to the title game.”
The Spartans would get key contributions from several different guys during the 40 minutes that Nosbisch would call “nearly perfect.” For instance, with the clock running out to end the first half, Corey Rau found Brandon Tyson in the corner and Tyson would knock down a 3 to give the Spartans a 33-22 lead.
“The first half was like a heavyweight championship fight,” said Nosbisch. “Both teams got good looks in the first five minutes of the half and no one could score.”
The second half started out all Waubonsee as the Chiefs would outscore the Spartans 9-2 in the first three minutes to cut the lead to 35-31. However, the Spartans would answer with buckets by Mike Banks and Corey Rau. Then an old fashion 3-point play by Sean Meyer and a spinning turn around hook by Jason Morris would put the Spartans back up by nine (52-43).
“We didn’t lose our cool,” said Meyer (9 points). “We stayed focused and played each possession one at a time.”
The return of Mike Banks after a serious fall in Thursday night’s playoff opener was a huge boost for the Spartans. “What can you say about Mike’s toughness,” said Nosbisch. “He really controlled the offense tonight and shot the lights out.”
Banks would hit 4-5 from the 3-point line and 7-8 from the free throw line to finish the night with 21 points. Corey Rau would chip in 18 points and 11 rebounds as well.
“We just got contributions from everyone tonight,” said Nosbisch. “Shane hit two big 3’s, Morris hit free throws late, Banks hit shots, Rau was huge on the glass, Tyson hit a big 3, Cork hit a big 3, Vesper shut down their post player, Meyer had a critical conventional 3 point play, Simonini helped break the press, and I could go on all night,” said Nosbisch.
“What a great team effort,” said Meyer. “Everyone played their butts off. We didn’t want the season to end today, and now we have a shot at the title.”
The Spartans will enter the Region IV Championship game for the first time in five years. They have never won a Region IV title.
"Our kids understand that what we did today was special,” said Nosbisch. “It was a big step and hurdle for the program. However, we are not done by a long shot. We will enjoy this tonight, and then get back to work tomorrow.”
The Spartans will now travel back to Illinois Valley Community College next week to take on Moraine Valley Community College. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. The Spartans split with the Cyclones during the conference season.
“We appreciate all the fans who showed up today,” said Rau. “We hope we made them proud of us. We hope to make them more proud next week.”
March 16, 2011 - All-Region Team - Adding to their All-Conference Team honors, Spartans Marquis Lobdell and Johnny Paden were recently named to the Region IV All-Region Second Team for Division II District B.
March 1, 2011 - All-Conference Team - Three Spartans were recently named to the Illinois Skyway Collegiate All-Conference Team. Earning First Team honors was sophomore guard Johnny Paden. Paden, who is noted for his high energy on the court, averaged 7 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals per games.
Earning spots on the All-Conference Second Team where sophomore forward Marquis Lobdell and freshman guard Devin Powell. Lobdell, the go to guy for the Spartans, averaged 15 points and 8 rebounds per game. Powell, a solid all-around player, finished the season with an average of 9 points, 2 rebounds, and 3 assists per game.