Written by and Media by Brian Ehresman[divide]
Spring semester classes began at Greenville last Wednesday, but SLIAC (St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) basketball action has been in full swing at GC the entire month of January. This past week, the Greenville College Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams competed in two conference games against Westminster College and Blackburn College. The men opened the week with a 114-97 victory against Westminster at home, before going on the road to defeat Blackburn 130-116. The women suffered a tough 63-55 loss to Westminster before earning a split for the week with a dominate 80-28 win over Blackburn.
The Greenville Men’s team, which leads the nation in scoring, used its up-tempo offense and high-pressure defense to break open a two point lead at halftime en route to a convincing 17 point victory over Westminster.
“Our style of play wears out opponents, so through the course of the game they start to make more and more mistakes. Since we are used to the up-tempo and frantic style, we know what to expect, and are able to take advantage of our opponents in the second half,” junior guard Michael Hohm said. Hohm had a team-high 21 points, five assists and five steals. Hohm is the SLIAC leader in steals, with a gap of over 20 steals between him and second place in the category. “I take a lot of pride in getting deflections and steals, and I have that mindset every day, in practice or games,” Hohm said.
Against Blackburn, the Panthers were forced to rally for the victory after being down by as many as 17 points in the first half. Greenville came out on fire to open the second half, turning a 57-69 deficit into an 87-77 lead just six minutes into the half. GC again used its pressing defense to force Blackburn into 32 turnovers. “We picked up our intensity and toughness, especially on the defensive end. It allowed us to gain momentum and sparked our offense,” Hohm said. Hohm again led in points with 29, including several acrobatic drives to the basket, and in steals with six. Junior Deandre Brown chipped in with 21 points.
The Greenville College Women’s team came into their matchup with Westminster tied with the Lady Blue Jays for second place in the SLIAC. After a back-and-forth first half, the Lady Panthers took a seven point lead into the fourth quarter. GC scored the first four points of the quarter to go up by 11, but was unable to overcome cold shooting and uncharacteristic turnovers and was outscored 21-2 the rest of the way to drop the game. Sophomore Laura Goodnight led in scoring with 15 points, while senior Missy Deal added 12.
The Lady Panthers bounced back in a big way before playing Blackburn, and defeated the Beavers 80-28. “We just knew going into the next game we had to put that loss (to Westminster) behind us and start playing more aggressive,” junior guard Taylor Paulin said. Paulin scored a game-high 14 points, including 11 in the first quarter as GC jumped out to a 31-8 lead. Deal added 11 points, while senior Coley Baker dished out five assists. Playing with such a large lead can cause a lack of focus at times for some teams, but Paulin said that was not going to happen for her team. “We never let up from beginning to end and we played every possession like it was a close game,” she said.
With the win, the Lady Panthers moved to 9-3 in the conference, tied for second place with Iowa Wesleyan. The GC men advanced 7-5 in the SLIAC, tied for 3rd place. The top four teams in the conference advance to the SLIAC tournament at the end of February.