Belleville Althoff High School Graduate Eldin Salmond (20) of Madison, Illinois, breaks away from Brough for a layup. Photos by S. Paige Allen, L&C photographerGODFREY – The Lewis and Clark Community College men’s basketball team started off the new year with a 77-70 win Wednesday, Jan. 7 against Olney Central College at home in the George C. Terry River Bend Arena.

Having home court advantage seems to be working for Head Coach Doug Stotler and his Trailblazers. They are 5-0 at home, 6-6 overall, and 4-2 against NJCAA D-I Region 24 opponents this season.

The Trailblazers currently are tied with John A. Logan for No. 3 in the region.

“We had a good crowd supporting us last night and the guys played competitively,” said Stotler. “It was a close game and we had to battle for it, but it was a win. That’s what counts.”

Burak Eslik, a 6-4 sophomore from Istanbul, Turkey, led the Trailblazers with 19 points.

Eldin Salmond, a 5-10 sophomore from Belleville Althoff, scored 11 points as did teammate JJ Cratit, a sophomore from Miami, Florida.

Brian DeGeare, a 6-8 center from Crystal City, Missouri, put 10 points on the board for the Trailblazers.
“We have a lot of talented and hard-working athletes on the team. This was a good win for us. Now we just have to keep the momentum going,” Stotler said.

Trailblazers Burak Eslik (24) goes up for two against Olney’s Tyler Brough. Photos by S. Paige Allen, L&C photographerThe next home game for the Trailblazers is this Saturday, Jan. 10 at 2 p.m. against regional rival Wabash Valley.

The Trailblazers are back on the road Jan. 14 playing at regional rival John A. Logan.

On Friday, Jan. 16, the Trailblazers will host Millikin Junior Varsity at 6 p.m. for a special McDonald’s Game Night. Workers from the McDonald’s in Alton, Godfrey and Bethalto get in free and will compete for prizes in half-time basketball competitions.

“We plan to have more local-sponsored game nights,” Stotler said. “We have great fans who come out to cheer on our Trailblazers teams, and the players really appreciate it. Some of our players’ families are too far away to come to the games, so having people in the community there in the stands means a lot to our players.”

For more information on Trailblazers athletics, contact Stotler at (618) 468-6200 or visit

To view, download and share free photos from last night’s game visit

CAPTION: Left: Trailblazers Burak Eslik (24) goes up for two against Olney’s Tyler Brough. 

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