The Chadron State College basketball teams will play just one game this weekend, but it’s a long ways away. They visit the Westminster Griffins in Salt Lake City on Saturday night.
Both CSC coaches say having just a single game won’t be all bad. It will allow them to focus on a single opponent and perhaps help get some kinks ironed out.
Both sets of Eagles are 3-13 overall and 1-9 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, but the coaches are complimentary of their players’ work ethic and camaraderie, and believe brighter days are ahead.
CSC women’s mentor Janet Raymer said her team “still has a long ways to go,” but notes there were bright spots even as the Eagles lost a pair of heart-breakers at home last weekend by a total of three points.
“We competed hard and showed a lot of fight,” Raymer said. “Our two ‘bigs’ (centers Kendra Baucom and Savannah Weidauer) played their best games. We still need to become more consistent and reduce our turnovers. We’re forcing too many passes. We have a lot of opportunities remaining.”
Men’s coach Houston Reed also was had good things to say about his squad, despite the lopsided losses to open the New Year.
“We’re doing a lot of the right things,” he stated. “We’re working hard and looking for solutions. I’m trying to be the most positive guy in their (the players’) lives. I’m proud of our guys. We’re locked together in the locker room. Everybody is trying to do what we’re asking.”
Specifically, Reed cited the team’s only senior, Matt Reader, for “playing the best ball of his life.”
Reader scored 18 points and claimed 12 rebounds in the Eagles’ two games last weekend.
The Westminster women are 6-7 overall and 5-4 in the RMAC. Their top scorers are 5-8 junior Denise Gonzalez at 13.3 points a game and six-foot freshman Hunter Krebs at 12.6 points. Krebs is also the team’s top rebounder at 6.1 a game.
The Westminster men are 11-2 for the season and 7-2 in the conference after avenging one of their losses, a 65-64 setback to Colorado Mines at home on Dec. 30, by beating the Orediggers 78-73 in Golden on Saturday night.
The Griffins’ only other loss was to Western State 79-69 in overtime on Dec. 2.
Westminster features the conference’s top scorer who is also high on the national list. He’s 6-8 senior Dayon Goodman, a Salt Lake City native who is averaging 29.2 points while shooting 56.4 percent from the field, including 20 of 42 from three-point land and going 94-106 at the free throw stripe.
In addition, Goodman is averaging 8 rebounds a game. Teammates Quincy Bair and Sam Orchard, are averaging 10 points a game, but Goodman has been the team’s leading scorer in all but one game this winter.
Goodman’s season high is 39 points.
A year ago when the Griffins edged the Eagles 76-70 in overtime in Chadron, he tallied a team-high 22. However, the game’s leading scorer was CSC’s Vonsinh Sayaloune with 23, 18 of them on three-pointers.
CSC won last year’s women’s matchup, 79-76. Current seniors Kalli Feddersen and Leticia Rodriguez led the Eagles with 21 and 15 points, respectively.