(Neb.)-CSC Teams Open RMAC Play At Home This Weekend
Both Chadron State College basketball teams will be seeking their first victories of the season this weekend when they open their Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference schedules at home against a pair of Colorado teams.
Colorado Mesa, located at Grand Junction, will visit Friday night, while Western State, which is in Gunnison, will be the opponent Saturday night. The women’s games will open the action at 6 o’clock, followed by the men’s contests at about 8,
Both Chadron State teams are young but promising. Both have just one senior on the roster, but have numerous talented players who seem to be developing as they gain experience and become more familiar with their teammates and the style the coaches want them to play.
The CSC women are 0-3 against strong competition. Junior forward Kattie Ranta has been both the scoring and rebounding leader during the early games. She is averaging 16 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore guard Dallas Shaw is next on the scoring chart at 14 points a game.
The other starters for coach Tim Connealy in all three games have been freshmen Hattie Guzman and Jazmine Lopez at the guards and 6-3 junior Greer Babbe at center.
The Eagles got a shot in the arm while playing in a tournament in Denver the second week of November, when sophomore Kate Simonson made her initial appearance of the season after overcoming some leg injuries. Simonson tallied 14 points during her debut.
Connealy said another guard, junior transfer Lisa Durden, appears to be nearly fully recovered from a concussion that has caused her to miss the first three games.
The CSC men are 0-4 after also playing some rugged non-conference foes. Transfer Zac Bargen is averaging 15.8 points and 6.3 rebounds to lead the Eagles in both categories. Freshman point guard Justyn Anderson is next in scoring at 10 points a game.
Three more Eagles, transfer Grant Stone, junior David Downey and senior Josh Hatcher, are averaging between 6.8 and 8.5 points a game.
Kyle Vinich, a part-time starter last year as a true freshman, joined the team over the weekend after being given a week off following the football season. Coach Brent Bargen said he believes the 6-foot-4 Vinich will give the Eagles a more physical presence in the middle and help with the rebounding.
CSC has been out-rebounded 8.5 a game through the first four games.
Bargen added that he was surprised last week, when junior Tim McDavid decided to leave the team, saying he had lost his desire to play. The coach noted that he tried to persuade the Scottsbluff native to remain with the team, but without success.
Both Colorado Mesa teams have their seasons off to a good start.
The Mesa women are 4-0 and the Mavericks’ men are 3-1.
One of the Lady Mavs’ wins was a 69-47 decision over Montana State-Billings, which won 79-64 when it played the Eagles in Chadron on Nov. 11.
The Mesa leaders include Kesley Sigl, a 6-foot senior who was selected as the RMAC’s Preseason Player of the Year by the coaches. She averaged 18.3 points and 6.3 rebounds last season and has averaged 14.8 points and 7.3 rebounds so far this season.
The Lady Mavs also include sisters Sharaya and Katrina Selsor, who are averaging 14.3 and 13.8 points, respectively. Katrina also is averaging 8.3 rebounds and has 12 steals. She a 6-1 senior while Sharaya is a 5-9 junior.
The Mesa men opened their season by beating Fresno Pacific 82-81 in overtime and losing to Dixie State of Utah 77-65. But last weekend, the Mavericks overwhelmed Northern New Mexico 84-51 and avenged the earlier loss by topping Dixie State 80-61 during a tournament in Grand Junction.
Colton Burgon, a 6-8 senior, leads coach Jim Heaps’s club with averages of 15.5 points and 7.3 rebounds. He’s also blocked nine shots.
Also scoring in double figures are 6-4 senior Jeff Hart at 12.8 points and 6-5 sophomore Mike Melillo at 12 points even.
Melillo is not afraid to shoot 3-pointers. He’s 6 of 23 from behind the arc this season. The Mavericks have an almost 11 per game rebounding bulge over their foes.
The Western State teams are off to a rather slow start this winter. The Lady Mountaineers are 0-4 and have been outscored by an average of 67 to 43.8 points while the Western men are 1-3, but they’ve played two Division I opponents.
The Western women have a new coach. Van Girard moved to Gunnison in June after winning 302 games during 24 years as the head coach at California State-Dominguez.
The team’s top scorer so far is 5-10 sophomore Jade McIntosh, who is shooting 45 percent from the field and has made 17 of 18 free throws while averaging 15 points a game. None of her teammates are averaging more than 5.0.
The Lady Mountaineers’ losses have been to Central Washington, Seattle Pacific, Emporia State and Cal Baptist, all by at least 16 points.
There’s something unique about the Western State men’s team. The roster includes both Charles Joseph and Joseph Charles.
But aside from the reversal in names, there’s not much similarity between the two. Charles Joseph is a 6-8, 300-pound center and Joseph Charles is a 5-11, 175-pound guard.
Joseph, the center, was on the team last year and led the Mountaineers when they played in Chadron in February by scoring 19 points and grabbing 12 rebounds, although the Eagles won the game 83-58. So far this season, he’s averaging 12.0 points and 7.0 rebounds.
Charles, the guard, transferred to Western from Northeastern Junior College at Sterling, and is averaging 14.3 points.
The team’s leading scorer is Terrence Boyd, who is averaging 15.3 points a game. Travis Shepherd, the team’s leading 3-point threat (11-25), is close behind at 13 points a game.
The Mountaineers opened the season against Wyoming and the Air Force Academy and lost by scores of 62-42 and102-68, respectively. Since then, they have edged Northern New Mexico 70-68 and lost to Panhandle State of Oklahoma 91-88, despite 27 points by Boyd, 19 by Shepherd, 15 by Joseph and 11 by Charles.
After this weekend, neither CSC basketball team will play at home again until Jan. 4.
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