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Two members of the Lakeland College men's basketball team, senior guards Kris Saiberlich (Fond du Lac) and Aaron Regal (Suring) were honored Tuesday as the Northern Athletics Conference announced its post-season awards.
Saiberlich was a first team All-NAC honoree while Regal received honorable mention recognition. The pair was key to the Muskies' storybook run in the 2008 NAC Tournament, helping the squad pull off three consecutive overtime wins to take the NAC tourney title, 82-77, over regular-season champion Aurora University this past Saturday.
This marks the fourth-straight season that Saiberlich has earned a spot on the all-conference team, capping off an incredible career. He finishes with 1,494 career points, good for No. 9 on Lakeland's career scoring list, and he finished with 324 3-pointers. His long-range shooting also landed him the fourth-highest total in the nation for 3-pointers made per game with 3.9, and he led the Muskies on offense with 18.0 ppg. Saiberlich also was one of the best free throw shooters in Lakeland history, as he graduates with the first, third and sixth best free throw percentages in a season.
"Kris had an unbelievable year," said head coach Kyle Brumett. "His numbers speak for themselves, considering where he finished in the national and school record books, and to win your last three games and win a conference championship makes it a pretty special career. To be the No. 1 option that every team that we played this year focused on defensively and still increase his point production is just really impressive. The thing about Kris that sets him apart from other kids is the fact that while he's not the quickest, most athletic guy, he was asked to guard the other team's best perimeter player almost every game. Not only were we counting on him to score and make plays, but also to defend. A team's leading scorer is not often asked to guard the other team's best player, but putting him in that position gave us the best chance to win."
Regal earned honorable mention all-NAC honors last season as well, and was an integral cog in the Muskies' offensive and defensive schemes. His pin-point accuracy from the free throw line and beyond the arc also earned him top spots in rankings this season, as he finished fourth in the nation behind Saiberlich with a 91.6 percent free throw average and was second in the NAC in 3-point accuracy at 45.5 percent. His free throw percentage this season is the second best in school history, behind Saiberlich.
"I wish I had been able to coach Aaron for a couple more years, because I think he could have gotten even better, and it would have made us a better team," Brumett said. "I think he really fit into our style of play, and it helped him showcase his talents better. I was hoping that he would be on the first or second team, and thought he was deserving of that, but that's not an easy thing to do when there are only 12 spots total. I think he should be proud of the fact that he was honorable mention two years in a row and had a great career."
To view the complete list of the 2008 men's basketball All-NAC awards, please click here.