The weather is getting colder, but the court over at CCAC – Allegheny is just heating up.
It is no secret that basketball season is my favorite – I had an entire column about it last year around this time. This year is absolutely no exception.
This season started with an entire event to celebrate the two teams. Both the men’s and women’s teams hosted Basketball Madness in the student center gym to get students pumped up about their upcoming seasons.
The best shooters from both teams went head-to-head in a 3-point shooting contest, in which junior guard Michelle Burns took home the win.
Students were invited to partake in a shooting contest of their own in an attempt to win prizes.
Players also battled it out in a skills competition before showcasing their skills in a scrimmage at the end of the night.
Just a day prior to the madness, the River States Conference (RSC) released their Coaches’ Preseason Polls for both the men’s and women’s teams.
This year, the women’s team is ranked 7th out of the 13 teams in the RSC, while the men are seated at 9th, again out of 13 teams.
Both are predicted to finish fourth in the RSC East Division, the same spot both teams ended up in last season. Fourth in the RSC East is good enough to solidify the last spot in the conference playoffs, which is what both teams ended up doing at the end of last year.
The men’s team is starting fresh with only two starters returning from last year in Mark Shehady and Kyle Carrington, who averaged 7.8 and 11.1 points per game, respectively.
Head coach Joe Lewandowski added both depth and height to the roster, with 29 total players and a developing reserve team as additions in the offseason.
The women’s team returns more veterans in Burns, Tyra James, Bailey Mook, Ariana Sanders, and Carly Lutz.
Burns was named to the RSC Women’s Basketball Preseason All-Conference Team. James averaged 9.9 points per game and finished last season with a team-high 52 3-pointers.
The womens’ 19-player roster includes ten freshmen of their own, all from the surrounding area (except one from Texas).
The action is starting a lot earlier than normal, however, with the women’s team kicking off their season this Friday and Saturday and the Lawrence Tech Tip-off Classic.
The men’s team will play an exhibition game versus Chatham University on Sunday, but will not play again until November 5th when their preseason officially begins.