As we go on in life things change. The weather, friends, teammates, death, a lot of things change. The true test of character is how you personally deal with that change. How you deal with it in front of others, and most importantly, inside yourself. Everyone has to deal with it, even teams, both Pioneers teams are doing it now. The women are reeling, three start losses with a team that seems to be in total disarray. It continued Tuesday when the Pioneers were defeated by Roberts Wesleyan 70-43 and it was another poor night from the field for Ashley Henderson and April Austin going a combined 6-21, and were the only Pioneers to score in double-figures. Offensively and defensively the Pioneers were not effective for any stretch of the game. As I have said before basketball is an interesting game, not much time inbetween games so you have to have a short memory. The Pioneers need to take those words very seriously, because if they continue the way they are, the slide will continue. The Mount Vernon of Nazarene Cougars are a fundamentally sound ballclub that has a star on the inside. Amanda Himes is averaging 17.4 points per game and is the heart and soul of this team. Very good in the post, but will not kill you from the outside. Very strong on the right block, and has a deadly baby hook shot. There are also two other Cougars in double-figures Sierra Fletcher (11.6) and Alexis Harkins (11.2). Himes will open up the outside if teams decide to double the post, and that is when this team can get dangerous. Now to the keys of the game.
PPU: 1. Henderson and Austin: Need, need, need, need, need, need, need to get these two going. They can not shoot poorly and expect to win games. 6-21 is not acceptable. They know that, and I know that they can get it done.
2. Slowdown Himes: Not going to stop her, just not going to happen. However, you need to slow her down. Double, triple team her. Peterkin might not play, in comes Terrica Jones who is back after missing the first semester, welcome back your gift is Amanda Himes.
3. Get open jumpers: The Pioneers offense has struggled and one of the main reasons is because they have not been able to get open looks. Penetration is the main way the Pioneers have gotten production, but teams have clogged the middle, time to find something new.
MVNU: 1. Exploit Jones: She hasn’t played in almost a year, you have to exploit that. And none better than feeding Himes early and often.
2. Transition Offense: Last year MVNU beat the Pioneers by running the floor, and since that game the Pioneers still have not been totally better in transition. Do it again.
3. Rebound: This has been the big bugaboo from the Pioneers this season. Beat them on the boards, beat them in the game.
Prediction: Tough to go on the road in the AMC and win, I think MVNU defends their home floor. 75-72
On the other side of the sex the PPU men seem that they are finally starting to get heathy. Leading scoring Jimmy Sherwood will return tonight and just in time. The Pioneers were able to shoot well at home against Cedarville and not miss Sherwood and Heatherington too much, but against Roberts, the size was too much to have almost 30 points per game in street clothes. However Kris Douse stepped up big, missing a 20 points 20 rebound game by just only a board. Last year the Pioneers were able to go into MVNU and get a huge road win against the Cougars. One thing that isnt in the box score is that their leader Brandon Short was injured in that game. This season Short is once again the leading scoring for this team with 14.5 per contest. He is the tick for this teams clock, they go as he goes. But he does have help, three others in double figures Robbie Taylor (12.8), Danil Zakhlebnyy (10.9), and Adam Grimm (10.4). So Short has options and has used them with a team high 80 assists this season. Now to the keys:
PPU: 1. Get Jimmy Started: Hasn’t played in a over a week and is coming off injury. I would like to see him get going, that way his confidence is up and can help this team out.
2. FREE THROWS: YOU CAN NOT LEAVE POINTS ON THE LINE, ITS CALLED THE CHARITY STRIPE FOR A REASON. MAKE YOUR FREE THROWS! Now that I got that out of my system. If the Pioneers make their FT’s Tuesday, they win, period.
3. Score 95: Thats self explanatory.
MVNU: 1. 3 point shooting: Pioneers love to use that 2-3 zone, leaves shooters open, need to knock down your shots.
2. Rebound: Pioneers are not the tallest team but they play like it at times, box out, clean the class and you can get a lot of second chance points.
Prediction: I think Sherwood sparks this team to an important road win. 95-89
Well thats all folks, remember what I said at the beginning, it is important. All games this weekend will be LIVE on the MSA Sports Network and 670 AM WPPJ. Stay in from the snow, and listen in to some great basketball action!