Pioneer Basketball Gears Up For Winter Season

by Abby Ferguson

The winter season is fast approaching and both the Transylvania men’s and women’s basketball teams are preparing for the upcoming season. Since both teams had successful seasons last year, they are banking on the fact that this year will be even more successful.

“Preseason No. 1 in conference is a nice gesture from the league coaches but we all know that postseason rankings mean a lot more than preseason,” Men’s Head Coach Brian Lane said. “(We are also) No. 28 nationally in the NCAA preseason poll.”

Although conference player of the year Jackie Distler graduated from the Pioneers’ squad last year, the women’s team believes they have returning strength in other players.

“We do return a trio of talented guards in seniors Brittany Henderlight and Ashley Pait with the help of junior Olivia Akridge,” said Head Coach Greg Todd. “Junior forward Holly Milburn is expecting to do big things this year as well.”

The team is looking forward to what the players can do on the court.

Todd believes, “If we can stay healthy and continue to improve, we can battle toward the top of the Heartland Conference.”

For the men, they know that this year is just like every other year in that they will be in the running for the top spot in the conference.

Coach Lane knows that non-conference play is just as important for the men as conference play.

He explained, “We have a grueling non-conference schedule that hopefully will get us ready for conference play.”

Like the women, the men are looking to their upperclassmen to lead the team.

“We really put a major emphasis on our upperclassmen leading our team. Blake [McCowan], Tim [Tierney], and Matthew [Parton] are all seniors that have played a lot of ‘big’ games for us,” said Lane.

The men believe these players, along with several others, will step up and play some valuable minutes.

The Men are also looking forward to their first-year class.

Lane stated, “We have a really deep class of quality (first-years) that have made our practices more and more competitive.”

Lane has a lot of faith is his young guys. He sees them as a way of getting back into the national top-20 rankings.

“How quickly our young guys figure out how hard they have to play defensively, the sooner we can see ourselves back in the top 20,” he said.   

Coach Lane believes, “The Transy community will once again see a group of guys playing very unselfish and working extremely hard.”


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