Wildcat Weekly: Penn College basketball teams open season Wednesday
Pennsylvania College of Technology men’s and women’s basketball teams open their seasons this week while the college’s wrestling team saw action in its second outing of the season on Saturday.
After a season during which he had just 10 players, Wildcats coach Ryan Callahan is blessed with a 19-player roster and he plans to use them all.
“We are deep. We are athletic. We are quick. We can shoot the ball. … We’re going to be playing in transition. I think it will be one of the more entertaining teams to watch anywhere. It will be very, very fast-paced. I’ve got some kids who can really go up and down and we’re going to highlight that,” the second-year coach said.
Key returnees from last season’s team are 6-foot-3 senior forward Thomas Ross and 5-8 senior guard Marquis Delgado. A year ago, Ross averaged 15.3 points and 9.6 rebounds per game while Delgado had averages of 13.2 points and five assists per game.
“Both, I think, are all-conference caliber-type players, if we’re a good enough team and we have the record to warrant having multiple kids on the all-conference team. Those are the top two that we’re really looking for something out of,” Callahan said.
Other probable starters in his team’s 7 p.m. season and home opener on Wednesday against Penn State DuBois are 6-4 sophomore center Ben Sosa, 6-2 senior guard Erik Eichinger, and either 6-2 freshman guard Ben Hoffman, 6-2 freshman guard Tyree Vidal, or 5-11 freshman guard Erik Perry.
Other top players are 6-2 freshman forward Jesse White and 5-11 freshman guard Shaekwon Grant-Wheeler.
“We’re a touch behind where I would like to be. … We have so many new guys, 16 who are new to the program, so there is an adjustment period of them getting to know me, getting to know college basketball, getting to know my coaching style; but I think we’re going to be just fine,” Callahan said. “I told them I’m not going to be too upset about execution right now. I’m looking for energy, effort, intensity, that kind of stuff, which we’ve been pretty good at. We’re probably at 85 percent where we need to be with that and once we master that we’ll start getting in on better execution and nailing everything down.”
With just one returning starter — senior Alicia Ross — first-year coach Lauren Healy knows she has her work cut out.
“We have a brand new team, with a variety of freshmen and first-time players who are sophomores and juniors. It will certainly be a rebuilding year, but things have been going really well. The numbers we have this year are much bigger than last season, so that gives us more depth to our bench,” Healy said.
Through her junior season, Ross, a 5-foot-8 guard, scored 1,105 points and, barring the unforeseen, she could eclipse former Wildcat Jamie Steer who graduated last spring as the program’s all-time leading scorer with 1,422 points.
In addition to Ross, other probable starters in the team’s 7 p.m. opener on Wednesday at Thiel College are 5-3 sophomore guard Maddie Wenk, 5-2 junior guard Gwendolyn Lavelle, 5-8 freshman forward Brittany Mitchell, and 5-9 freshman forward Natali Fargus.
Top players off the bench will be 5-10 sophomore forward Jane Herman, 5-3 freshman guard/forward Camaren Banks, and 5-7 sophomore guard Erin Shaffer.
“We will have a young team, but our motto is to continue to get better every day. The kind of progress I am looking for is to compete every day. At this point, we aren’t worried about the wins and the losses, we just want to work hard and compete during practices and games,” Healy said. “I think everyone brings something different to the team and the best way for us to be successful is to put all those pieces together. We have some really good shooters and speed on the court, which can give us an opportunity to capitalize on fast breaks and be disruptive on defense with our quickness.”
Penn College’s Dylan Otis at 285 went 4-0 while Cam Newman at 133 and 125 pounds, and Tanner Leid at 165 both went 3-1 in competition Saturday in the New York/Pennsylvania Duals.
In team competition, however, the Wildcats dropped all four of their matches, losing to New York University, 43-9, Nassau Community College, 43-10, Hunter College, 18-15 and St. Vincent, 36-24.
SCHEDULES, RECORDS and RESULTS
Overall record: 0-4
Saturday, Nov. 12 – New York/Pennsylvania Duals at Riverdale, N.Y., vs. New York University, L, 43-9; vs. Nassau Community College, L, 43-10; vs. Hunter College, L, 18-15; vs. St. Vincent, L, 36-24
Thursday, Nov. 17 – at Alfred State, 7 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 20 – at Lycoming College Tournament, 1 p.m.
Overall record: 0-0
Wednesday, Nov. 16 – host Penn State DuBois, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov. 22 – at Sarah Lawrence College, 7:30 p.m.
Overall record: 0-0
Wednesday, Nov. 16 – at Thiel College, 7 p.m.
Monday, Nov. 21 – at Westminster College, 7 p.m.