By Eric Yenma
Since the last Beacon, the SeaWolves basketball teams have taken to the court six times, combining for a four and two record. The Lady ‘Wolves started the home series winning a hard fought contest against the New Hampshire Technical Institute Lynx (72-69), taking the next two against Hampshire College and Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (86-24 and 82-48 respectively).
The men ‘Wolves have had mixed results dropping a highly anticipated loss to the NHTI lynx (80-62), winning easily against an outmanned Hampshire College (116-38) and suffering a beatdown (69-43) by the Panthers from Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (ACPHS).
Last weekend saw the Black Sheep of Hampshire College and the Panthers from Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (ACPHS) take to the Hutchinson Gym floor for Friday-evening and Saturday-afternoon games.
The weekend games started off wonderfully for both SeaWolves squads as they jumped out to early leads against the Hampshire College squads, cruising to lopsided victories. In a gesture of sportsmanship, SMCC Head Women’s Basketball Coach Katherine Bergeron decided to sit her starters for game. The move afforded her starters an extra day of rest while providing playing time for the second and third squads.
First-year SeaWolf Julianna Lafrenaye connected for a career-high 25 points on 58 percent shooting; fellow first-year players Morgan Rice and Lauryn Fagan combined for 31 points. Also making her presence felt on the court was junior guard Amanda Matos, who collected her first SMCC double-double: 11 points and 12 boards. Priscila Berdeja, also a first-year SeaWolf, picked the Black Sheep’s pockets for 10 steals and seven boards.
In the men’s game against Hampshire College, all of the SeaWolves hit the scorer’s book, helping to post a season-high score of 116. First-year forward Oumar Keita would drain the nets for 23. Keita would go 4-5 from 3-point territory and grab seven rebounds, making this his most productive game as a first-year SeaWolf.
Other SeaWolves who contributed significantly included junior forward Ryan Cloutier, who shot 6-9 from the field, hitting for 13 points. First-year forward Sean Bowering connected on two three-pointers, while fellow first-year forward Marcus Bailey tallied a season-high 11 points and seven rebounds.
The SeaWolves would shoot the basketball the best they have all season, hitting for 58.3 percent from the floor. In their losses to NHTI and ACPHS, the ‘Wolves would struggle shooting from the field, as they would hit for 29.9 percent and 27.3 percent respectively.
As a basketball fan, the NHTI men’s game was well worth the price of admission, as it pitted the best team in the YSCC, NHTI, against a young SeaWolves team. Both games were quite exciting because of the level of competition. Both NHTI squads like to push the ball up court in their offense sets; the men’s team averages 96 points per game. The women, while not averaging as much as the men, still looked to beat the SeaWolves’ defense down court.
The scheduling for the evening’s games would be flipped, as the first game pitted the men Lynx and SeaWolves against each other. The SeaWolves came out very hot, playing tight and tough defense. Both teams fired up their fair share of shots from the perimeter, trying to build a lead on the back of 3-point shots.
The first half was a back-and-forth game, as the SeaWolves had to fight for every point — the highlight of which was when SeaWolves forward Ryan Cloutier had a huge one-handed slam dunk, cutting NHTI’s lead to four, 28-24. The slam brought the entire crowd to their feet and inspired the ‘Wolves as they cut further into the Lynx lead; they trailed at half by 3 (33-30).
During the second half, the story of the game took a turn. NHTI looked very tough, scoring points in the paint, which both teams were struggling to do in the first half. SMCC started making some mental errors, which led to turnovers and easy points for the Lynx.
It wasn’t the prettiest second half for the SeaWolves, but don’t let the score line deceive you. This was a close game, and if a few plays had gone SMCC’s way, we would have been looking at a different final score. After 40 minutes of play, the men Lynx walked off of the floor in the Hutchinson Gym with an 18-point win (80-62).
The second game of the night was one of the most entertaining games of the year for the SMCC women’s team. NHTI came out incredibly physical, trying to out-muscle SMCC, but that didn’t intimidate them at all. The women played incredibly well, getting contributions from everyone on the team. It was a very back-and-forth game in the first half, with SMCC connecting on more of their shots.
SMCC was much more creative in executing their opportunities, as it seems they have adopted Philadelphia 76ers’ head coach Bret Brown’s mantra that “passing is king” — or “queen,” in the lady SeaWolves’ case.
The Lady SeaWolves held a 7-point halftime lead (22-15) and looked confident going into the locker room at half. The opening minutes of the second half saw NHTI mount a comeback, scoring the 4 consecutive points and cutting the SeaWolf lead to 5 (24-19). The lead changed multiple times in the third quarter, setting up a heart-pounding finale. Late in the second half the Lynx tied the game on a layup by Lynx Riselly Deoleo.
Each team was hitting clutch threes; however, mental errors by the SeaWolves opened the door for the Lynx to insure a thriller of an ending. With only 27 seconds left in the game and the Lynx up by one point (69-68) and thinking they had the game in the bag, SMCC had something else in mind.
With 16 seconds left on the clock, Jordan Farquharson rebounded a missed shot by Emily Keene, which was off of an inbound pass and hit for the go-ahead basket. The Lynx would get another rush at the basket, throwing up a handful of shots that never fell, the last of which the SeaWolves rebounded.
The Lynx would resort to fouling immediately after the inbound pass, eventually putting Emily Hogan on the line. Hogan would drain both free throws, insuring a 3-point win for the ‘Wolves (72-69). It was a very intense basketball game; the SeaWolves played hard and stood their ground. Hopefully the SMCC basketball fans will be able to catch more matchups like this during the winter/spring season and be on the upside of winning.
Top-left, Abigail Ramirez (#3) dives to get the ball in the hoop.
Bottom-left, Willie Brown (#12) and J’Quay Thurmond (#24) battle for the ball.
Right, Tyler Mickle (#20) shoots the ball as NHTI tries to stop him.
Photos by Cassie-Brianna Marceau