Men’s basketball shows promising young talents while women follow the lead of structured coaching strategy

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Danny Endicott

Meg Morrissey ’14 goes in for the shot against her opponents.

Tim Wirzburger, Crier Staff

Saint Anselm has long maintained a tradition of excellence in athletics, and two programs that have done very well in recent years are the Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams. The Men’s team has started the season strong, and their 5-1 record attests to that. The Women’s team is off to a solid 3-4 start, but is looking to be stronger down the stretch.

The Men’s team tipped off the season at the Saint Rose tournament with a decisive 101-84 victory over Concordia. They won a pair of important conference games against Merrimack and Franklin Pierce last week, and are sitting at third in the NE-10.

“I would contribute our early season success so far to our unselfishness as a team. We have a good group of guys who always put the team ahead of themselves, and are only concerned with getting the win,” said senior captain James Morse.

One of the major reasons the team has been able to put points on the board is the talent of the freshmen and their ability to fit into Coach Keith Dickson’s system.

“We are fortunate enough to have our incoming players embrace Coach Dickson’s philosophy team play and team goals,” said junior captain Dino Mallios. “The young guys all have a great basketball IQ, and know they play a significant role on this team. So far they have held up their end of the bargain.”

The team has been getting offense from sophomore Roy Mabrey who was fantastic in his freshman year, a guard who is averaging 19 points a game. Freshman forward Mike McCahey is not far behind with a stellar 17.5 points per game. However, the team is very deep and has been getting contributions throughout the lineup.

Coach Dickson is not worried about having a relatively young team. “We are extremely confident that our upperclassmen and especially our two captains, James Morse and Dino Mallios, will provide us with the proper leadership and direction needed for such a relatively inexperienced group,” said the coach.

Going forward, the boys look to having a successful season and continuing on into the playoffs.

“Our goals are the same as always – to become as good as we can be, and to be playing our best basketball at the end of the season,” said Dickson. “We have a proud tradition in Men’s Basketball at Saint Anselm and are used to competing for NE-10 Championships and NCAA berths – hopefully we can do that this year.”

Mallios and Morse both agreed- they don’t want to settle for anything less.

The Women’s team has also had some bright spots in their season so far. Junior Briana Jones has led the offense with 11.4 points a game, and the team has been getting production throughout their lineup. Their biggest problem so far has been the conference games, in which they are 0-4. However, they have many new girls on the team and an adjustment period is to be expected.

Like the Men’s team, the Women’s roster has many underclassmen, but that doesn’t discourage Coach DeAnn Craft in the least.

“Our approach is to take one game at a time. We want to be a more fully developed and competitive team in February than right now. With 7 new players to integrate into our offensive and defensive system, the key becomes the proper developmental time. Our league is predominately a senior led conference and we are considerably young in game experience, however, our upside is very promising,” said Coach Craft.

The Women’s team had great success in recent years under Coach Craft, who is entering her fourth season as head coach. The Hawks have had led the league in defense (fewest points allowed) in two of her three years here, and their defense was ranked #6 nationally last year. The girls certainly hope to find that success again to start winning conference games.

“To get back on the winning track, our team has to have everyone on the same page. As players, we have to trust the coaching staff and the plan they have for us,” said junior Captain Briana Jones. “Also, for the past two years our team has relied on team chemistry and really working the offense all the way through before looking for a shot.”

History has shown that it takes more than just talent to be successful. Any championship team must have a coach with a system that only works if its players believe in the system. For the lady Hawks, this is certainly true.

“We have a very talented team this year and we all know what we are capable of. We have to do a better job of sticking to our Coach’s game plan. She knows so much about the game, and we as a team are so talented, so together we have huge potential,” said sophomore captain Allie Jones.

The fact that the team is so young and is still putting wins together gives insight to the type of talent and quality of players that Craft has brought in to ensure that the Hawks will not only compete this year, but also be a force for years to come.

“Our goal right now is just basically to show everyone what kind of team we have the ability to be. I don’t think the people who come to our games or even our competitors have really seen our team play to our full potential,” added Captain Kierra Moore. When they do hit their stride and start showing the league how skilled they are, you can be sure that you won’t want to miss a game.