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TMC hoops already on to next season

TMC Basketball: Mustangs’ men’s and women’s teams decline bids to NCCAA tourney; on recruiting trail

Posted: March 6, 2010 10:58 p.m.
Updated: March 7, 2010 4:55 a.m.
 
After rough seasons that saw The Master's College's men's and women's basketball teams fall short of national-tournament aspirations, both squads are already gearing up for next year.

Both teams fell in the quarterfinals of their respective Golden State Athletic Conference's postseason tournaments - the men's team lost 80-56 at Azusa Pacific on March 1, and the women's team fell 81-56 to Biola in La Mirada on March 3.

And while both earned invitations to the National Christian College Athletic Association's postseason, they declined their bids due to various reasons.

TMC men's head coach Chuck Martin said after running through the conference gauntlet, there were two factors that played heavily on the team's move to not play in the NCCAA Tournament.

One of the reasons was the toll of playing in the GSAC, which featured several ranked teams, including TMC (18-13, 11-9), and the nation's No. 1 team in Concordia.

Martin said the team's achievements were many, but coming up short in GSAC play made it hard to inspire another cross-country trip.

The second obstacle was more of a practical concern.

"It was a two-fold decision, but the long and short of it was that we didn't have the money," Martin said, explaining the thousands of dollars that would have been necessary to add the trip on the schedule.

Martin said the program would be better served by using its time, energy and resources to begin preparing for the upcoming season.

TMC women's head coach Dan Waldeck said he hoped to use similar disappointment to fuel his team in the offseason.

"We believe that the NAIA (National Athletic Intercollegiate Association) is where we want to be, and so that's where we set our focus," Waldeck said. "And so if we don't reach that, we let that be a motivator for next year."

Both coaches have already garnered commitments from players that should be able to make an immediate impact.

Martin has received a commitment from Paul Brown, a 6-foot-8-inch transfer from Jamaica who plans to enroll as a sophomore next year.

Brown will be relied on to help replace the production of graduating seniors Raphael Harris and Thomas Millar, who were frontcourt leaders for the Mustangs.

He'll contend for minutes with Everett Bryson and Richard LaFleur, who will both be seniors next year.

Point guard Joey Fuca, whose numbers have increased every year, will continue to be heavily relied upon as well, as he enters his senior season.

Freshman Leif Karlberg is also likely to play a bigger role in the backcourt next year with the departures of seniors Dean Hadley, a 6-foot-6-inch shooting guard who led the team in scoring, and Roy Walker, a senior guard that was a defensive specialist.

On the women's side, Waldeck will have a tough time replacing talented seniors Annie Gillespie and Jenna Reed.

Gillespie is the school's all-time leader in 3-point field goal percentage (.397) and is in the top-10 in several other categories including points (1,208), field goals made (408), field goal percentage (.493) and scoring average (13.3).

Reed increased her scoring average every year and became a major part of the program's success.

Taking up the charge will be point guard Erica Inge, who is a junior this year and one of the team's leading scorers, as well as freshman Lena Rivera, who contributed key minutes for the Mustangs (16-13, 11-9).

Waldeck said he still has about six weeks left on the recruiting trail, but he's already picked up a few additions for next season.

Saugus senior Kaylynn Martin is headed to TMC next year. The Centurions' point guard and team captain led her team in scoring at 13.2 points per game.

Already committed to joining Martin is Theresa Brown, a 6-foot-1-inch junior from Lane Community College in Oregon, who leads the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges in rebounding and is a top-ten scorer in the conference, according to Waldeck.

"She's very physical and a great rebounder and scorer," Waldeck said.

Zoe Scott, a senior from University High School in Spokane, Wash., and Lindsey Levanen from Elma High School in Vancouver,Wash. are the latest high school additions from TMC's northwestern pipeline.

Levanen is a 6-foot guard who tore her anterior cruciate ligament prior to her senior season, but signed a commitment to TMC after winning MVP of her high school's league as a junior, Waldeck said.


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