Sports Update // Highlander Basketball Season Off To Strong Start

The Highlanders women’s basketball team came out strong in their first game against Alfred State. Led by captains Elle Reed ‘17 and Hannah Manwaring ‘17, the Highlanders beat the Pioneers […]

The Highlanders women’s basketball team came out strong in their first game against Alfred State. Led by captains Elle Reed ‘17 and Hannah Manwaring ‘17, the Highlanders beat the Pioneers 76-56. “We focused on details, especially on defense, which is great to see in the first game of the season,” said Reed.

Defense seemed to be a point of emphasis for the Highlanders who tallied 11 steals, and controlled the glass with 43 total rebounds. “Defense has always been top priority, as coach always says ‘defense feeds our offense.’ We have to be able to get stops in order to get the ball back to score and run our offense,” said Manwaring. Manwaring contributed 12 rebounds of her own to the winning effort.

After defeating Alfred State, he Highlanders then traveled to Buffalo State to take on the Bengals. It was a tightly contested game which featured seven lead changes, but unfortunately the Highlanders were beaten by a score of 64-59. “We need to limit our turnovers,especially ones that are unforced,” said Manwaring.  “If we can cut the number of turnovers in half, we should put ourselves in a much better position to win.”

One of the most encouraging aspects the Highlanders took away from the defeat was the emergence of freshman guard, Cori Beck. In her first collegiate start, Beck put up 12 points, two assists, and six steals in her 36 minutes of play. Beck took a total of seven shots, all from three-point range, and managed to hit four of them. “I just felt like I fit into the team as soon as I got here…I was a little nervous before the game but that’s usual for me,” she said.“[I] felt a little pressure before the game because I was scared to mess up, but when I started playing I just zoned into what I needed to do, and didn’t worry about anything else.”.

According to Reed, this is not the end for them. She said, “We know that we work harder in practice than any team we play, which gives us confidence no matter what the outcome of the games are.” The Highlanders will look to bounce back against Pitt-Brad at home on Tuesday, November 29.

Additionally, Coach Corky McMullen made his coaching debut for the Houghton College Men’s Basketball team, at home against Alfred State; winning by a score of 85-74, and then going on to beat Wells College by a score of 85-75. McMullen has earned nothing but praise from his captains. Captain Jonathan Stowe ‘17 said “Coach’s motivation” was key to the men’s 2-0 start. Strowe continued, “We started both games bad for the first 10 minutes, but Coach reminded us to play defense and to relax and let us run our offense smoothly”.

Fellow captain Phil Pellegrino ‘17 agreed, “He is a positive vibe to have around all the time.”He stated, “He not only impacts our lives on the basketball court but also in the classroom and in life in general…he brings a lot of experience and I am enjoying learning from him every day at practice.”

Unfortunately, Hilbert College proved too much, and  the Highlanders,  fell to the Hawks 84-69. “Rebounding and turnovers are the keys to success for us. If we can control the glass and not turn the ball over, we will be successful,” guard Jordan Scott ‘17 said.. The Highlanders accumulated  18 turnovers  in the loss.

The women will play at home on Saturday, December 3 to play the State University of New York (SUNY) Canton at 2 p.m. The men will resume home play on Tuesday, December 6 against Grove City College at 7 p.m.

The opinions and views expressed in the Houghton Star do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of Houghton College or the Wesleyan Church (our sponsoring denomination).

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