BY BENJAMIN HADLOCK – SPORTS EDITOR
No better word sums up this past weekend.
It was a nightmare for Colonel faithful who were left in a state of bewilderment after witnessing the Football team squander away a conference championship and watching the Women’s Soccer team lose in the most heartbreaking fashion.
However, all hope is not lost.
With the fall sports season behind us, the over-stimulated students of 600 W Walnut can now turn their attention to Kentucky’s most heralded tradition—college basketball.
This sacred pastime is alive and well here in Danville as the Centre College Men’s Basketball team gears up for their 18th season under Coach Greg Mason.
Mason, who models his program on the principles of consistency and “getting better everyday” will have to make some serious adjustments to a lineup that doesn’t return two all-conference caliber players Blake Scinta and Tyler Wesely.
Scinta and Wesely were both standout players at Centre who each played the big-man position. Their games worked in tandem with one another, Wesely was known for his strong physique and stout defense, whereas Scinta made his impact through impressive offensive versatility and rebounding.
Coach Mason described them as,
“Great people, two of the best players I have had.”
While there impact will certainly be missed, the team now looks to form a new identity based not around the strength of their seniors, but the promise of their youth.
The new-look colonels roster consists of 8 freshmen that make up over half of the team. Despite this, Coach Mason praised the squad for being a “very connected team with good character.” Mason also mentioned that the style of play would inevitably shift toward a more perimeter-based game.
In terms of expectations for the season, Mason has a refreshingly honest approach. Rather than set lefty targets or point at dates further down the calendar, he only has one goal for his team—get better every day.
Mason understands that the youth on his team will require him to adopt a “more patient” coaching style and the process of shifting lineups could take months to form.
While this may indeed hold true, after Centre’s first contest, a 74-70 loss to Maryville (TN), Coach Mason has many reasons to feel optimistic about his young teams future.
In this contest, freshman scored a combined 49 of the 70 points for the Colonels, who were led by Freshman Perry Ayers of Bowling Green, Kentucky. His aggressive style of played earned him four trips to the line and a total of 17 points.
Along side Ayers was freshmen Jakob Spitzer whose playing time was limited due to foul trouble but went a perfect 4-4 from the floor. Freshmen Jacob Bates added 10 points as well to the total.
Needless to say, the talent on this team lies heavily in their youth, and this talent proved itself in the opening contest. However, in the words of Coach Mason when talking about his freshmen players,
“They don’t know what they don’t know.”
There is much more to learn for this young squad, but they can certainly feel confident in the way they played Wednesday night.
Moving forward, Coach Mason will look to keep the team motivated and he should have no problem doing so. Centre’s next game is at home against the in-state rival, Transylvania.
The two squads are set to meet, in Alumni Gymnasium at 7:30, November 21.