All in With Allison – Reflection in the Backboard

Written By Allison Schubert, Sports Columnist

Well, I was dreading this – my favorite time of the athletic year is over.

Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams ended their seasons in the River States Conference (RSC) quarterfinals at IU Kokomo.

The women’s team – led by seniors Sam Weir and Kaitlyn Smith – has proven time and time again that it is resilient. Weir was back for her final semester of eligibility after sitting out the first semester and captain Smith was looking to lead the team to a playoff run in her final year in the green and gold.

Highlights of the year included the first victory over IU East that Point Park has had in four and a half years, Weir’s milestones of reaching 1,000 career points and setting the school record for most blocks by a player in their career, and a deep bench that gave head coach Tony Grenek a lot of versatility on the court.

By the end of the regular season, the Pioneers finished the season 13-15 overall and 9-8 in RSC play.

Personally, I thought the women would make a run until at least the semifinals, but a lack of sophomore Michelle Burns in the lineup due to injury and a weak offensive showing in the third quarter really hurt them.

I think they could have, and honestly should have, won at IU Kokomo, but we will have to hold on until next season to see how far they go.

Speaking of next season, the women will be without Weir and Smith, both of which have been such crucial players for the Pioneers. Smith was playing the best basketball of her career this season, setting a career-high 25 points and grabbing 100 total rebounds. Weir tied her career-high in points with 31 and had a total of 198 rebounds, just two shy of her total last season (reminder that she only played one semester this season).

The women are going to hurt without them, but new recruits and talented returners have me optimistic for the future. Burns will be the new Smith, leading the team on offense and being a morale booster for the underclassmen. Sophomore Carly Lutz will have to really step up and show her aggressiveness to step in to Weir’s shoes, but the potential is there.

The men’s team started this season with the addition of my old high school basketball coach Joe Lewandowski to the driver’s seat of the men’s program – an addition that I was ecstatic about. The only thing was that he was hired very close to the beginning of the season, making recruiting impossible.

The Pioneers did something that I never saw them do at my time at Point Park – competing. They were aggressive and fighting back against teams that they have not stood a chance against in the past. The games were exciting to watch!

The absolute highlight of the year for the men was a postseason appearance – their first since a semifinal run in the 2015-16 season. Although it ended in the quarterfinals for them this year, the fact that they even made it there made a statement.

Looking ahead at next year, I have no doubt that Lewandowski will stay. He was hired as an interim at the beginning of the seas on, but after their success this year, the only way he will be leaving is by his own accord.

On the bright side, should Lewandowski stay, he will actually have a chance to recruit and bring in some of his own players to add to the roster – a process he has already started.

I am really interested to see how Lewandowski fills tho holes left by the seven graduating seniors with practically every starter leaving the court.

Overall, I was not disappointed in the Pioneers this season, but hopefully next year, we can make it out of the quarterfinals.