The Alice Lloyd Eagles are coming off an impressive year. Despite the COVID pandemic that caused a great deal of uncertainty during the season, the squad rose to the challenge. Although the team lost a tough game in the semi-finals of the NAIA River States Conference Tournament to the eventual champions, they still earned a bid to the NCCAA Men’s DI National Championship as the Mideast Regional representative. ALC made the most of their opportunity, as the squad promptly defeated the overall #2 seeded club. They would reach the Final Four, and finish with a sparkling 18-8 record.
In the process, Coach Scott Cornett was named NCCAA Mideast Region Coach of the Year. Additionally, senior guard Noah Young was named to the All-Tournament team at the national tournament, as well as being voted Third Team All-American by the NCCAA. He was also voted as a First Team All River States Conference selection by the NAIA.
Flash forward to 2021-22 and the good news is the Eagles have a well-stocked cupboard. Coach Cornett returns a wealth of experience as a COVID exception from last season allowed Young the opportunity to return for a fifth season of play. While the squad does lose hard working Chandler Stewart (who left to attend pharmacy school) everyone else who rated statistically is back, and expectations are the highest they have been in twenty -five years.
Not only do the Eagles return 83% of their offense, they return their leaders in every offensive category. Besides Young, (13.1ppg, 4.3apg), who led the team in scoring and led the RSC Conference in assists, Pippa Passes welcomes back starters Damon Tobler (10.9 ppg, 6.7 rpg), Will Philpot (8.5 ppg, 8.7 rpg: second in RSC), and Colyn Sturgill (6.1ppg, 5.6rpg). In addition, major contributors Bryce Slone (8.6 pts), Noah Caudill (6.6ppg, 4.7rpg), and Jared Strickland (8.1 pts) are back and a year stronger. Additionally, Cumecus Cates, Idris Akinyemi, Tyler May, Cam Worrix, and Brady Nelson also return. New faces include Ben Soumahoro , who has been raising eyebrows with his much-improved play, Blaine Keathley and Marquis Frazier
When asked about his squad, Cornett replied, “Last season was a big step forward for us as we made great improvement. Hopefully the confidence and experience we gained from 2021 will help us take even larger strides this season.”
The coach added, “Our conference is quite strong, but our main objective is to put ourselves in a position to make a deep run in the conference tournament and advance to the NAIA Nationals. To accomplish that goal, we must continue to improve our defense and bring our ‘A game’ on both ends of the floor.”
The Eagles open the 2021-22 season on Saturday, November 6th, when they host Campbellsville University- Harrodsburg. Tipoff is scheduled for 3:00pm.