Penn College Basketball Coaches Reflect; Baseball Opens

Published 03.05.2016

Wildcat Weekly

With their campaigns recently ended, Pennsylvania College of Technology men’s and women’s basketball coaches took some time to reflect on their respective seasons while the baseball team got its season underway.

Men’s Basketball
“Obviously, record-wise (3-21 overall) it was a little disappointing,” first-year coach Ryan Callahan said. “In our first seven games, all of them were single-digit games and we ended up winning two of them. Then in the second half of the year, we hit a bit of a wall … we were down to as low as seven guys at one point and I think it really took a toll on some of our guys. … We weren’t physically able to compete … But the kids were great.”

Kevin Laurence-El, a senior from Milton, led the Wildcats in scoring with 439 points (18.3 average) and was named to the North Eastern Athletic Conference Third Team. He also averaged 6.2 rebounds per game.

Junior Thomas Ross, of Williamsport, scored 366 points (15.3 average) and topped the team with 231 rebounds (9.6 average) while junior Marquis Delgado, of Mansfield, scored 304 points (13.2 average) and led the team with 115 assists (five per game).

In addition, this past week it was announced that Ross was named to the United States Collegiate Athletic Association National All-Academic team. Honors are awarded to student-athletes of sophomore standing or higher with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher. Ross, an accounting major, was named a NEAC Scholar-Athlete in his sophomore year and a Penn State University Athletic Conference Winter/Spring All-Academic as a freshman.

Penn College averaged 72.3 points per game on offense and allowed 84.9, a differential of 12.6 that showed improvement over the previous season.

“We were far more competitive than a year ago. … We were in almost every game down to the wire,” Callahan said, noting the fact that his team gave up an average of 10 rebounds per game to its opposition, which also hurt.

Looking ahead, the coach said bringing in key recruits will help build the program.

“We already have four kids who have committed for next year and we’re hoping to double that. We have six kids coming back from this year’s team and, if we can add seven to eight going into next year, that would be really good,” Callahan said.

In postseason NEAC action, Lancaster Bible College improved to 27-0 overall in beating Morrisville State College, 97-71, in the title game and earning a berth in the NCAA Division III playoffs. In semifinal action, Lancaster Bible topped SUNY Poly, 75-57, and Morrisville State defeated Gallaudet University, 74-63.

Women’s Basketball
Going into the season, coach Matt Wilt knew that too few players on the roster would take a toll, and he was right as the Wildcats averaged just 60 points a game on offense and gave up an average of 78. They also were outrebounded by an average of 13.9 per game as they finished 3-19 overall.

“It was a big problem. Not enough players to scrimmage. It was just a tough situation,” Wilt said.

“I think overall, teams this year in the league were a lot better than last year. They were a lot more balanced with 13-14 players, and, when you’ve got six or seven players, that makes a big difference,” the coach said.

There were individual bright spots, however, as junior Alicia Ross, of Williamsport, led the team in scoring for the second season in a row with 468 points (21.3 average), went over 1,000 points for her career (she now has 1,105) and was named to the NEAC Third Team. Senior Jamie Steer, of South Williamsport, was tops in rebounds with 172 (8.2 per game) and second in scoring with 358 points (17 average). Steer closed out her career as the college’s leading women’s scorer with 1,422 points, including reaching the 30-point mark in games six times. Freshman Ebani Lewis, of Sunbury, snared 143 rebounds (8.4 per game).

This past week, Ross and Steer also were honored by the United States Collegiate Athletic Association – Ross as a First Team member and Steer as honorable mention. Ross becomes the first player in program history to be named to the USCAA First Team, following a season in which she became the first player in program history to be named All-North Eastern Athletic Conference. She also earned Second Team honors last season. Steer becomes the first player in program history to earn three All-American honors from the USCAA after earning Second Team honors in both her freshman and junior seasons.

“They were consistent, very consistent. You could depend on (Ross and Steer) to score. They were very good players all around. Jamie had a great career. It’s just too bad we couldn’t get them into the playoffs … just to see what it felt like and have a chance to do something,” said Wilt, whose teams in six years have gone 46-98.

“My assistant coach, Kevin Pletz, and I still are actively recruiting. … We are in contact with several girls who are interested in coming to Penn College,” Wilt added.

In end-of-the-season NEAC playoffs, SUNY Poly claimed the championship with a 69-65 win over Lancaster Bible College to advance to the NCAA Division III playoffs. In semifinals games, SUNY Poly beat Gallaudet University, 65-55, and Lancaster Bible stopped Morrisville State, 74-58.

Opening its season Saturday in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, against Mary Washington, ranked No. 18 in NCAA Division III, the Wildcats lost, 12-1. Penn College managed just four hits during the game as senior starting pitcher Luke Zamiskie, of Latrobe, took the loss. The Wildcats got their lone run when freshman Trevor Route, of Canton, singled to drive in Cole Weachock, of Pottsville, with two outs in the top of the second inning. Games continue through Thursday this week for Penn College and the weather forecast couldn’t be better with sunshine and high temperatures in the 60s and 70s.

Men’s Basketball
Final overall record: 3-21
Final NEAC record: 3-15

Women’s Basketball
Final overall record: 3-19
Final NEAC record: 3-17

Overall record: 0-1
Saturday, March 5 – vs. Mary Washington at Myrtle Beach, S.C., L, 12-1
Sunday, March 6 – vs. Mount Aloysius College at Myrtle Beach, S.C., 3 p.m.
Sunday, March 6 – vs. Penn State Allegheny at Myrtle Beach, S.C., 6 p.m.
Monday, March 7 – vs. Lehman College at Myrtle Beach, S.C., 11 a.m.
Tuesday, March 8 – vs. Muhlenberg College at Myrtle Beach, S.C. (2), 12:30 p.m.
Wednesday, March 9 – vs. Lehman College at Myrtle Beach, S.C., noon
Thursday, March 10 – vs. Swarthmore College at Myrtle Beach, S.C., noon
Tuesday, March 22 – host Wilkes University, 3 p.m.

Sunday, March 6 – vs. La Roche College at Myrtle Beach, S.C., 9:30 a.m.
Sunday, March 6 – vs. Penn State Berks at Myrtle Beach, S.C., 11:30 a.m.
Monday, March 7 – vs. Anna Maria College at Myrtle, Beach, S.C., 1:30 p.m.
Monday, March 7 – vs. Gwynedd Mercy University at Myrtle Beach, S.C., 5:30 p.m.
Tuesday, March 8 – vs. Emory & Henry College at Myrtle Beach, S.C., 3:30 p.m.
Wednesday, March 9 – vs. King’s College at Myrtle Beach, S.C., 1:30 p.m.
Wednesday, March 9 – vs. Wentworth College at Myrtle Beach, S.C., 5:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 10 – vs. Chatham College at Myrtle Beach, S.C., 5:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 31 – at Alfred State College (2), 3:30 p.m.

March 11-13 – Indoor Nationals at James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Va.

No. 29