Switching to college hoops, After Joe Kittell took over the men’s basketball team, Mary went from a 9 win team to a 19 win team, just missing the Northern Sun Championships last year.
Tuesday night, both the men’s and women’s squads held a Marauder Madness, kickoff to the season with scrimmages, a dunk contest, and one fan even won a trip to Nebraska to watch the men take on the Cornhuskers in November. While the men’s team only has 2 returning starters, there’s a group of players that saw significant minutes or are coming off of a red-shirt year. They return all-Northern first team selection in forward Bryan Jefferson and want to use last year as a building block leading into a new season.
(Isaac Linquist, Sr. Center) “We had a great year last year in terms of turning the ship around. We’re excited to see if we can capitalize on that this year.”
(Joe Kittell, Head Coach) “People will say that’s an unexpected year for us, coming off a 9 win season the year before in our first year as a coaching staff. It set the tone for this year and for future years, so we’re really proud of how we ended. We return 6 seniors that were instrumental to that last year and so hopefully we can build off last year and keep it going.”
The men open their season against Lincoln University on November 11th.
Meanwhile, the women’s squad is coming off a 9-13 Northern Sun record. Of the 6 girls on the roster, 12 of them are in their first or second year. It creates a challenge, losing their leading scorer from last year, and starting season earlier, but ready for the tall task ahead.
(Hannah Larson, Sr. Guard) “Well obviously losing Brittany, that’s a lot of points for us right there. I think that just gives other girlds a chance to set up. We want to have a winning season this year and we’re really confident about the people we have returning and the people we have coming in. We really want to make the tournament at the end of the season and just grow as a team and be playing our best basketball at the end of the year.”
(Rick Neumann, Head Coach) “We play about 10 days earlier in a counting game than we have ever played before. We playing in a tournament in California and that’s already November 4th. It feels like a high school season in a lot of aspects, we only have 10-12 practices before that first game, so maybe not the greatest scheduling with such a new team, but we’re trying to go as quick as we can and we told our girls to fail fast, make mistakes and tryi to figure it out early, so we can prepared as possible when we start our season.”