Red Devil basketball

Tom Batters

The Eureka College men’s and women’s basketball teams won crucial games on Senior Day Saturday to vault into first place in the SLIAC conference and stay in the hunt to host the conference tournaments at the end of the season.

With two conference games remaining, the men’s team is alone in first place (11-3, one game ahead of Webster). The women’s team is tied with Westminster (12-2) in the conference, also with two games remaining.

Both teams beat Fontbonne on Saturday.

The top four teams qualify for the conference tournament (Feb. 23-25). Both Eureka teams have clinched a spot. Actually, there is a very, very slight chance that the men’s team could get bumped out if it loses its final two games, but that would involve several other teams having to lose, and then it would go to tie breakers.

In other words, both teams are very likely going to be playing in the postseason.

The top team gets to host the tournament. Both teams are still in contention to earn that top spot.

They finish their conference schedule at Westminster Saturday, and at MacMurray Feb. 21.

There are several scenarios on how the conference standings could end up, but the theme is the same for both teams: If they win both their remaining games, they have a pretty secure shot at the conference title and the right to host the tournament.

Women’s game

Senior forward Khassandrae Brown led all players with 25 points and 11 rebounds, helping the Red Devils overcome a four-point halftime deficit and earn an 82-80 victory over Fontbonne Saturday afternoon on Senior Day at the Reagan Center.

The decision marked Eureka’s 11th consecutive victory, matching the longest win streak in the 37-year history of the program.

Sophomore guard Caty Eeten scored 24 points.

Senior guard Sara Hamilton had a game-high seven assists, as Eureka took solid care of the basketball with a SLIAC season-low 12 turnovers.

Saturday marked the final regular season home game for seniors Brown, Lisa Byard, Hamilton, Elizabeth Greger and Lanie Viti. All five seniors were recognized during a pregame ceremony at center court.

Brown averaged 18.5 points and 13.5 rebounds in a pair of league victories to earn the SLIAC player of the week award (for the week of Jan. 30-Feb. 5).

Men’s game

Junior guard Jordan Kindred scored 17 points and distributed a career-high 10 assists to move into sixth place on Eureka’s all-time list, driving the Red Devils to an 86-71 win over Fontbonne Saturday.

Senior guard Austin Nicholas started and scored 14 points in his final regular season home game.

Junior forward Dustin Fritsch scored a game-high 21 points in the victory, as all five Eureka starters scored in double-figures for the third time this season.