By Benjamin Wideman / Director of Media Relations and Sports Information
Courtney Clavers is concluding her basketball playing days on her biggest stage yet — the national championship tournament.
The 6-foot senior forward/center and her Silver Lake College teammates earned a bid on Feb. 24 to the United States Collegiate Athletic Association’s 2016 Basketball National Championships, which run March 1-5 in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, just south of Pittsburgh.
It’s the Lakers’ first appearance at the national championships in two decades. Silver Lake College (21-5) is seeded No. 4 in the eight-team Division 1 field and will play No. 5 seed University of Maine-Fort Kent (19-5) at noon on March 2.
“It’s a great way to end your basketball career — going to nationals,” said Clavers, a former Brillion High School standout. “To go from playing at the state tournament in high school to playing at nationals in college, that’s a pretty big accomplishment.”
As a sophomore at Brillion High School, Clavers’ Lions came up short in the state semifinals. The following two years, her Lions were ousted in sectional competition. So getting one last chance to return to a postseason tournament — especially on a national stage — means everything to Clavers.
“With nationals, we’re representing the entire community, as well as our school,” Clavers said. “It’s just really exciting.”
As a regular starter, Clavers averaged 8.0 points and 5.0 rebounds per game this season. She shot 50.3 percent from the field, which ranks 10th nationally in the USCAA.
Eleven times this season she scored in double digits — including a season-high 20 points in a 101-94 victory over host Robert Morris-Peoria (Ill.) on Jan. 17. And twice this season she pulled down 10 rebounds in a game.
“Courtney has been playing very well, especially in the last several games,” Silver Lake College head coach Mike Flentje said. “She’s very consistent and her shooting is among the best in the USCAA. We’re looking for her to have a solid showing at nationals.”
Many parents, family members and friends of Silver Lake College players will be traveling to Pennsylvania to support the Lakers. Among them are Clavers’ parents, Cyril and Betsy; her brother, Spencer; and her grandparents, Bob and Bev Loofboro, all of whom live in Brillion.
“It means a lot to me that they’re all able to come,” Clavers said. “It’ll be my last games as a college basketball player, so we’ll try as hard as we can.”
Clavers also was named a USCAA Academic All-American this season. She’s majoring in Early Childhood-Early Childhood Special Education/Middle Childhood-Middle Childhood Special Education, with an emphasis in cognitive and learning disabilities. She’s scheduled to graduate in December and then student teach in spring 2017.