| Men and Women Split Homecoming Double-Header
Berea College’s men’s and women’s basketball teams took on Milligan College in a double-header as part of the recent Homecoming festivities.
Thomas Klimas goes up for a shot against Milligan in the Homecoming game.
The Lady Mountaineers took the court first. Early in the game, junior Stephanie Corry sustained an injury to her leg and had to be escorted from the floor, but returned to contribute 11 points. Throughout the first half, both teams battled for the ball and fought to put points on the board. By half-time, Berea trailed the Buffaloes 54-52.
With last year’s Homecoming loss fresh in their minds, the Lady Mountaineers upped their intensity in the second half to match Milligan’s aggression. The girls reached 100 points with more than four minutes left, at one point holding off Milligan by 20 points. Although Milligan dominated Berea in shooting percentage, free-throw attempts and three-pointers, Berea’s tenacity overpowered the Buffaloes, holding them to only 35 points in the second half. At the final buzzer, Berea was on top 105-89.
“I was pleased with our performance, especially the second half of the game,” said Coach Bunky Harkleroad. “We had a great energy level …. We also did a great job of taking care of the basketball. Scoring 105 points against a good team and only turning the ball over 11 times is noteworthy.”
Leading scorers for Berea were Rebecca May with 24, LaShondra Gray with 18 and Annbruce Madden with 17. Point guard De-An Watkins grabbed 12 rebounds, contributed 11 assists and committed zero turnovers.
Despite these stellar numbers and the team’s strong performance this season, Harkleroad is still looking for improvement. “We'll continue to work everyday on the things we consistently focus on,” he said. “We'll spend time passing, shooting, dribbling and looking for ways to execute our game plan against upcoming opponents. We have to do a better job of rebounding the basketball.”
After defeating the formidable UV-Wise on Wednesday night 90-80, the Lady Mountaineers move to 5-0 on the season. The team is now ranked first in their division in 3-point shots made, offensive rebounds per game and scoring offense per game.
After an intense and exciting performance by the women, the Berea College men’s team suffered their first loss of the season 60-80 to an aggressive squad from Milligan College. Though they lagged behind the Buffaloes throughout the game, the BC men were within three points at half time. However, in less than three minutes in the second half, the Tennessee team had stretched their lead to 12 points, and the Mountaineers were never able to catch up.
A large number of turnovers for both squads (30 total) revealed the intensity of the game, but Milligan shooters were able to hit a higher percentage of their baskets. Final stats revealed that the Buffaloes hit 50 percent of their field goals and 76 percent of free throws. The Mountaineers only hit an average of 37 percent of their field goal shots and 41 percent of free throws.
The Milligan men also beat out BC in rebounds, pulling down 43 to Berea’s 35. The game was hard-fought throughout both halves and there were 21 free throw attempts for Milligan and 17 for Berea.
Top scorers for the Mountaineers were junior Jordan Samuels with 18, senior Tomas Klimas with 14 and freshman Josh Mallory with 10. Senior Melvin Brown, who is averaging 17 points on the season, put nine points on the board.
Despite the final score, Coach John Mills was optimistic about the team’s efforts. “We had a number of steals … blocked shots and deflections; we crashed the offensive glass hard, but when you have a game of this caliber, playing against a team like Milligan, you have to score throughout the game …. We had opportunities, but we just didn’t score. We didn’t hit our free throws and that cost us.”
Last year the Mountaineers were victorious over the Buffaloes in the homecoming game. Mills reported that the rivals were especially tough this year because they returned with four of five starters and had five other returning players, plus several tall new ones. “That really added to their depth. With their experience, they really attacked us. That’s the type of game that we play, but we didn’t step up to the challenge.”
Mills complimented Brown and Klimas on “solid games” and sophomore Charles Wandera for playing “extremely hard.” He gave Mallory credit for his vitality. “It’s good to be able to go down the bench when you run into a lull and know that someone can come in and bring a lot of energy.”
As of press time, the team’s record was 2-1 with a victory over Kentucky Christian University on Nov. 14. The next opponent will be Centre College in the Sodexho/Pepsi Invitation Tournament in Seabury gymnasium, Friday, Nov. 17 at 8 p.m. They face Milligan College in an away game Tuesday, Nov. 21.