BENTON HARBOR — The Lake Michigan College women's basketball team was looking to end 2019 with a win over South Suburban College (Ill.) on Saturday.

It was a bumpy ride, but the Red Hawks emerged victorious with a 62-49 home win.

"We don't expect it to be easy," LMC women's coach Patrick Daniel said. "We have to grind games out and it starts with our defense. Holding a team to less than 50 gives us a chance to win."

South Suburban won the men's game of the doubleheader 85-71.

In the women's game, after a back-and-forth first quarter, the Red Hawks were able to find their groove on offense. Back-to-back Madison Bailey 3-pointers highlighted a 9-1 LMC run. The Red Hawks led by as many as 12 in the first half and took a 29-19 lead into halftime.

The Bulldogs refused to go quietly and used a 9-2 run to trim the Red Hawks' lead to 39-38 in the third quarter, but the Red Hawks responded. A Morgan Hughes 3-pointer capped a 19-6 LMC run to put the game away.

Hughes led all scorers with 19 points and Aymia Flowers had 15 while Delaney Basker added 12. Diamond Stallworth had 14 points to lead the Bulldogs while Precious Browning and Diamonique Wallace tallied 13 and 10 points, respectivel.

(Hughes) did not have a good first half but she turned it around in the second half," Daniel said. "She's coachable; instead of shooting a long 3-point shot, she stepped in and hit a few mid-range shots. The one 3-pointer she took, she made, and that was big for us. We didn't play well in the third quarter but we played really well and strong in the fourth quarter and came out with a great win to end 2019."

The Red Hawks are hoping to extend their win streak when conference play begins next week with a Saturday trip to Grand Rapids Community College.

"Tonight we played as a team," Daniel said. "I think they supported each other. We're excited about going into conference play. Those games are going to be tough but we like our chances based on where we are right now."

For a few minutes, the LMC men looked to be on their way to a blowout win. Three Andrew McGuirt triples and a Devan Nichols dunk gave the Red Hawks a 25-15 lead over the Bulldogs in the first half.

But South Suburban responded by ending the first half on a 32-9 scoring run to take control.

The Red Hawks struggled defensively against the Bulldogs, who led by as many as 24 points in the second half. SSC's size advantage caused problems for LMC inside. The Red Hawks were forced to take perimeter shots and ended up making 17 of 28 3-pointers on the night.

Devan Nichols had 21 points to lead the Red Hawks and Jordan Marble and Andrew McGuirt scored 18 and 15 points, respectively. Head coach Jeremy Schaeffer was impressed with Nichols, who started the game at point guard for the first time this season.

"He came out and scored and set guys up and really did the things you ask your primary guard to do," Schaeffer said. "That's a great sign for us moving forward for him to be able to jump into that role and do as well as he did tonight."

Tariq Deere led SSC with 27 points and Andre Dickerson scored 18 points, while Josh Falls added 12 points and 13 rebounds.

The Red Hawks hope to tale Saturday's teachable moments and apply them to conference play, which begins next week against Grand Rapids Community College.

"We have room for growth," Schaeffer said. "Our halfcourt defense is starting to jell but in order to get to our halfcourt defense, we have to limit our turnovers. Guys are learning how to play with each other.

"We have a ton of individual skill but it's about putting those skills together and being selfless enough to make the play for the team."

Lake Michigan College 62, South Suburban College 49

LMC (62)

Morgan Hughes 6 6-6 19, Aymia Flowers 7 0-3 15, Delaney Basker 6 0-2 12, LaChelle Knox 3 0-0 6, Madison Bailey 1 2-3 5, Elasia Craig 1 1-2 3, N'Josia Batiste 1 0-0 2. Totals 25 9-15 62.

SSC (49)

Diamond Stallworth 6 2-4 14, Precious Browning 4 5-6 13, Diamonique Wallace 4 2-4 10, Tiarra Woody 2 0-4 5, Tamia Wilbrun 1 1-2 4, Arianna Jones 1 1-2 3. Totals 18 11-22 49.

LMC`12`17`16`17`—`62

SSC`12`7`21`9`—`49

3-point goals -- LMC 3 (Flowers, Hughes, Bailey), SSC 2 (Woody, Wilbrun). Total fouls -- LMC 15, SSC 13. Fouled out -- LMC 1 (Bailey). Technical fouls -- LMC 1 (LaChelle Knox). Rebounds -- LMC 55 (Knox 17), SSC 49 (Stallworth 14, Wallace 10). Records: LMC 5-6.

South Suburban College 85, Lake Michigan College 71

SSC (85)

Tarik Deere 10 3-4 27, Andre Dickerson 5 6-6 18, Josh Falls 6 0-1 12, Courtney Carter 4 0-0 9, Austin Roland 4 0-0 9, Malcomb Bell 4 0-0 8, Darien Stewart 0 2-2 2. Totals: 33 11-13 85.

LMC (71)

Devan Nichols 8 1-3 21, Jordan Marble 6 1-3 18, Andrew McGuirt 5 0-0 15, Jamon Walker 3 1-2 9, Jonathan Bowman 1 1-1 3, Isaiah Brooks 1 0-0 3, Jaden Croom 1 0-0 2. Totals: 25 4-10 71.

Halftime — SSC 47, LMC 34. 3-point goals — LMC 17 (McGuirt 5, Marble 5, Nichols 4, Walker 2, Brooks), SSC 8 (Deere 4, Dickerson 2, Carter, Roland). Total fouls — LMC 12, SSC 12. Fouled out — None. Technical fouls — None. Records — LMC 1-10.

Contact: mharden@thehp.com, 932-0371, @HPMaxwellHarden