On Thursday, April 15, Mansfield’s ladies in red, Makayla Strutton and Danielle Lillie, signed their letter of intent to play basketball at Kankakee Community College in Kankakee, Illinois. The Lady Tigers will be trading in their current jerseys for those of the Lady Cavaliers and will be playing under former KCC athlete, Coach Casey Meister. “I am very excited to sign the Strutton/Lillie combo guards and had the pleasure of seeing them play in person with my current team,” expressed Coach Meister. “The two guards will bring intensity, competitiveness and push the program to play harder and faster. I want everyone on the team to be at their speed. The guards have a range of talents and will have the ability to play multiple positions making it difficult for our opponents to defend. After speaking with Coach Bryan, I instantly knew they would be a great fit by how they are coached and their mentality. The Kankakee Community College family welcomes the two guards and are looking forward to seeing them grow for the next two years!”
Strutton and Lillie couldn’t have asked for a better way to end their high school basketball careers. The Lady Tigers finished their season with a 22-7 overall record and found their way to the Elite 8 in the State Tournament. For the 2020-2021 season, Danielle netted a total of 248 points, 79 rebounds, 58 assists, 56 deflections, 81 steals, and 3 blocks, and also earned All-District, All-Region, and a spot on the All-State Tournament Team. “The most exciting thing about this next step is that I’m ready to play at the next level,” explained Lillie. “I always knew I could do this and experiencing it now is a blessing too. What I hope to achieve from this experience is to enhance my basketball career and to play at that level. I’m wanting to excel in my academics as well. Overall, I’m ready! This is going to be a great experience for me and Makayla!” Lady Tigers head basketball coach, Joshua Bryan went on to say, “Danielle gave me my first memorable moment as a Head Coach back in her freshman year. Down one to Magazine with 9 seconds on the clock, Danielle steals the ball and runs the length of the floor with two Lady Rattlers bumping her all the way down and makes the game-winning shot with no time left on the clock. Later that season, Danielle moved up to the senior high team and helps lead the Lady Tigers to their first and only win of the season against the Lady Pirates at Cedarville.”
Strutton ended her season with the Lady Tigers as All-District, All-State, and a 2A-4 All-Star nomination. She totaled 416 points, 130 rebounds, 93 assists, 102 deflections, 124 steals, and 3 charges. “I’m most excited about the new change Kankakee has to offer,” concluded Makayla. “It will be a big life change and a fun experience and I can’t wait for that. I’m hoping to achieve playing the most that I can while I’m there and possibly going to a bigger college afterward. I think moving somewhere bigger with a lot of different people will make me grow more as a person and I can’t wait for what life will be like in Illinois!” Coach Bryan, added, “This season, Makayla gave up a game to remember and a career first for me. She put together a triple-double performance in our win over rival Hackett with 25 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 steals. To top that off, she also scored 10 deflections.”
Makayla and Danielle, your community couldn’t be more proud of this success and we are looking forward to seeing all of the wonderful opportunities this journey will lead you to!