Penn College Basketball Teams Open Wednesday

Published 11.13.2016

Wildcat Weekly

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.

Men’s Basketball
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,” the second-year coach said. "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.”

Key returnees from last season’s team are 6-foot-3 senior forward Thomas Ross, of Williamsport, and 5-8 senior guard Marquis Delgado, of Mansfield. 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, of Loyalsock Township; 6-2 senior guard Erik Eichinger, of Villanova; and either 6-2 freshman guard Ben Hoffman, of St. Marys; 6-2 freshman guard Tyree Vidal, of Williamsport; or 5-11 freshman guard Erik Perry, of Waldorf, Maryland.

Other top players are 6-2 freshman forward Jesse White, of Harrisburg, and 5-11 freshman guard Shaekwon Grant-Wheeler, of East Stroudsburg.

“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.

“A lot of what we’re going to do this year is based on being relentless, attacking the offensive glass, not stopping and just really going after it for 40 minutes, so that’s been a little bit of an adjustment for some of the guys having to play so hard for spurts. It’s a growth period, a growth process, but the guys have done a good job,” Callahan said.

“We had different goals coming in – bring in a big recruiting class, bring in the kind of athlete that we want; we have that. We’re not playing undermanned anymore, we have some horses, we have some guys who can go.

“We’re going to press for 40 minutes. I would not be shocked this year to see multiple games in the 100s … It’s a way of playing that will be different than most people out there. It was a conscious decision of, 'Hey, with the number of young guys, how do I get them in, how do I get them to play and be part of the system, part of my program,' and this is what I thought was the best way,” the coach said.

In a preseason poll of North Eastern Athletic Conference coaches, Penn College was ranked 12th among 14 teams. The rankings: 1. SUNY Poly, 2. Gallaudet University, 3. Morrisville State College, 4. Wells College, 5. Lancaster Bible College, 6. Penn State Berks, 7. Bryn Athyn College, 8. Keuka College, 9. Penn State Abington, 10. Cazenovia College, 11. Wilson College, 12. Penn College, 13. SUNY Cobleskill, 14. St. Elizabeth College.

Last season, the Wildcats were 3-21 overall and 3-15 in the conference.

Women’s Basketball
With just one returning starter – senior Alicia Ross, of Williamsport – first-year coach Lauren Healy knows she has her work cut out.

“We have a brand-new team, with a variety of freshman 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,” she 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, of South Williamsport, 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. Wednesday opener at Thiel College are 5-3 sophomore guard Maddie Wenk, of Biglerville; 5-2 junior guard Gwendolyn Lavelle, of Pocono Summit; 5-8 freshman forward Brittany Mitchell, of Louisville, Kentucky; and 5-9 freshman forward Natali Fargus, of Lock Haven.

Top players off the bench will be 5-10 sophomore forward Jane Herman, of Greencastle; 5-3 freshman guard/forward Camaren Banks, of Buffalo, New York; and 5-7 sophomore guard Erin Shaffer, of Liberty.

“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.

“I think the one improvement that we need is to be patient on offense and make sure that we stay organized because the team is not used to live games, so the more experience we get during games, the more confidence they will have on the court,” the coach said.

“The key to our team’s success this season will be to play good, solid defense, find the best opportunities to score, win the rebounding battle and take care of the ball,” Healy said, noting that she will employ a variety of offenses and push in transition, while relying mainly on a man-to-man with some zone and press defenses.

“My overall outlook is very positive and optimistic for the season! I truly think that we can get this program going in the right direction. This is going to be a very special year for us and I am excited to see how it all unfolds as we progress through the season. My team has a goal to make it to playoffs and we will continue to hold ourselves to a high standard to reach our goals,” she said.

Before coming to Penn College, Healy was assistant coach at Gettysburg College since 2011. She played at Bloomsburg University for two years before finishing her final two collegiate seasons at Gwynedd Mercy University. She was a two-year starter at both schools and was a two-time Pennsylvania Athletic Conference Honorable Mention selection at GM.

“I think I bring a variety of things to this program – excitement, energy, passion and dedication. My goal is to get the program back on its feet, because I believe that Penn College has so much potential to be great and to be a top contender in the NEAC.

“I am very passionate about my players’ academic success and reaching their individual and team goals. We want the women’s basketball team to transform into an elite program and we will treat it as such, by working hard on and off the court, holding each other accountable and treating each other with respect,” Healy said.

In a preseason poll of the North Eastern Athletic Conference coaches, Penn College was ranked 13th of 14 teams. The rankings: 1. SUNY Poly, 2. Morrisville State College, 3. Bryn Athyn College, 4. Wells College, 5. Lancaster Bible College, 6. SUNY Cobleskill, 7. St. Elizabeth College, 8. Gallaudet University, 9. Keuka College, 10. Penn State Abington, 11. Penn State Berks, 12. Cazenovia College, 13. Penn College, 14. Wilson College.

Last season, the Wildcats finished 3-19 overall and 3-17 in the conference.

Penn College’s Dylan Otis, of Towanda, at 285, went 4-0 while Cam Newman, of Leck Kill, at 133 and 125 pounds; and Tanner Leid, of New Holland, at 165; both went 3-1 in competition Saturday in the New York/Pennsylvania Duals, according to coach Schuyler Frey. 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.

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.
Sunday, Dec. 4 – host King’s College, noon
Saturday, Dec. 10 – home triangular with Ursinus College, 11 a.m., and Keystone College, 12:30 p.m.
(Idle until Jan. 7)

Men’s Basketball
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.
Saturday, Nov. 26 – at Penn State Lehigh Valley, 3 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 27 – at Alfred State, 3 p.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 30 – host Lancaster Bible College (NEAC), 7 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 3 – at Bryn Athyn College (NEAC), 3 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 4 – at Penn State Abington (NEAC), 2 p.m.
(Idle until Jan. 5 at Alvernia University)

Women’s Basketball
Overall record: 0-0
Wednesday, Nov. 16 – at Thiel College, 7 p.m.
Monday, Nov. 21 – at Westminster College, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov. 29 – at Elmira College, 6 p.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 30 – host Lancaster Bible College (NEAC), 5 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 3 – at Bryn Athyn College (NEAC), 1 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 4. – at Penn State Abington (NEAC), noon
Saturday, Dec. 10 – host Valley Forge, 4 p.m.
(Idle until Jan. 7 at Gallaudet University)

No. 13

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