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Penn College Sports Teams Set for Seasons’ Second Half

After several weeks of inactivity during the semester break, Pennsylvania College of Technology men’s and women’s basketball and wrestling teams are set to get back into action.

Men’s Basketball
“With our record being what it is (1-9 overall, 1-2 Penn State University Athletic Conference), we’re not where we want to be, but right now we’re building for the future. … In over half of our games, we’ve started five freshmen and that’s not something that I thought that we were going to have to do,” said coach Chris Lemasters, who is in his second season.

The Wildcats return to action at 3 p.m. Saturday hosting Penn State Fayette in a conference game.

“Thinking I was going to have (some key) returning players, I loaded up the schedule with Lyco and Mansfield and Rochester (Mich.) College. So to throw five freshmen out on the court … that’s difficult to run them out there against squads like that, and all three of those squads, who are very good, are also primarily upperclassmen. It is a difficult adjustment, but hopefully something that pays off if we can keep the guys around for the future,” the coach continued.

Assessing the adjustment from high school to college ball, Lemasters said, “It’s the pace of the game. It’s the size of the players. … When you start out against Lycoming, their front line was 6-5, 6-7, 6-8. That’s a difficult adjustment to go from everybody on the court is about 6-foot tall and you may have one 6-foot-3 or 6-foot-4; to have that height inside and they actually know how to play basketball.”

The coach also said enforcement this season of the freedom-of-movement rule has hurt his guards’ ability to put pressure on opponents with a hands-on defense.

“It’s difficult because we are undersized at the guard position,” he said.

During the first half, “we tried to play an up-tempo style that was more free flow and that didn’t necessarily work, so we’re getting more back to a system that I grew up with, calling out sets each time down the floor.”

Thomas Ross, of Williamsport, leads the team in both scoring and rebounding so far with averages of 9.7 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.

Lemasters said he simply is looking for constant improvement from his players heading into the second half of the season and finding eight to 10 players on whom he can build for the future.

Women’s Basketball
Improved depth, with the recent addition of a couple of players, has coach Matt Wilt, in his fourth season, optimistic about the second half of his team’s season.

“We got off to a rough start (2-8 overall and 1-2 in the PSUAC). We played some real good teams. But I think we had five players in double figures the last game (Dec. 16, a 79-70 win over Central Penn College), so things are looking up,” Wilt said.

Point guard Alicia Ross, of Williamsport, joined the team just before the Central Penn game and sophomore Jamie Steer, of South Williamsport, last season’s leading scorer with 452 points, will be in uniform when the Wildcats hit the court Thursday at SUNY Morrisville.

The addition of Ross will allow Danielle Mowery, of Shamokin, to move to a more natural post position, according to the coach. Mowery is averaging 11 points per game and leads the team in scoring.

“It makes our bench deeper. The girls have been playing a lot of minutes. … We’re actually the deepest we’ve ever been. The key still is to rebound the basketball and not turn the ball over. We’ve got to cut down our turnovers (an average of 24 per game). A lot of our turnovers come late because, basically, they’re logging a lot of minutes and they’re tired. The addition of a couple of extra players is going to help a lot,” Wilt said.

Charesa Bova, of Beech Creek, tops the squad with a 7.8-rebound-per-game average.

“Everybody has been contributing and doing a good job and doing what they need to do, but we are excited about the second half,” Wilt said.

Wrestling
Despite an 0-5 overall team start, 0-1 in the PSUAC, coach Schuyler Frey, in his fourth season, said, “I think we wrestled well, especially with us having 11 freshmen. They’re still learning to adapt to college wrestling, but we’ve got a really good room full of guys who are working hard. We’ve got a lot of talent and I’m really hopeful that this next semester we’re going to see the guys coming around a little better.”

Addressing the adjustments grapplers face moving from the scholastic to collegiate level, Frey said, “The first thing is, in the neutral position, in high school seven of 10 guys you wrestle against, you can shoot straight in, get a leg and score on. Those other three guys who you couldn’t do that to in high school are now wrestling in college, so to beat those guys you’ve got to be good at hand-fighting, getting into position. And also, just the mentality of riding time and wrestling on the edge (of the mat), it’s so much different than high school and a lot of guys have problems with it.”

During a layoff that stretches back to Dec. 5, Frey said he encouraged his wrestlers to get back home and train with their high school or clubs to stay in shape.

The Wildcats are scheduled to return to action Saturday at Penn State Mont Alto in a quadrangular with Penn State Altoona, Gloucester County (N.J.) Community College and the host team, and Frey said the key the rest of the way will be for his freshmen to step it up to the next level and not to be tentative; to be aggressive and get after it. “If we’re able to get the guys to do that I think we’ll score a lot of points. The main thing right now is to get us ready for the postseason,” he said.

Freshmen on whom the coach is counting include Tanner Leid, of Terre Hill; Taylor Porter, of Milton; and Joe Champluvier, of Laceyville, all at 157 pounds; Mason Replogle, of New Enterprise, at 133; and Randy Janowitz, of Westminster, Md., at 141.

“We’ll be very busy in January and February, getting ready for March (and national eliminations),” Frey added.

SCHEDULE/RECORDS
Men’s Basketball
Overall record: 1-9
PSUAC record: 1-2
Saturday, Jan. 11 – host Penn State Fayette, 3 p.m.
Monday, Jan. 13 – host Berkeley (N.J.) College, 7 p.m.

Women’s Basketball
Overall record: 2-8
PSUAC record: 1-2
Thursday, Jan. 9 – at SUNY Morrisville, 1 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 11 – host Penn State Fayette, 1 p.m.
Monday, Jan. 13 – at Wells College, 7 p.m.

Wrestling
Overall record: 0-5
PSUAC record: 0-1
Saturday, Jan. 11 – quadrangular at Penn State Mont Alto vs. Penn State Mont Alto, noon; Penn State Altoona, 2 p.m.; and Gloucester County (N.J.) Community College, 4 p.m.
Wednesday, Jan. 15 – host Penn State Greater Allegheny, 7 p.m.

No. 21

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