Pacer basketball teams in playoff hunt


Senior Brent Keyes drives to the basket against Centenary College.

Shane Ostroski and Erica Nealon, Sports Co-Editor and Asst. Sports Editor

The Marywood Men’s basketball team has surely seen its share of high and lows this season. The Pacers started off their 2011-12 campaign with a memorable trip to West Point, New York to take on Division 1 Army.

While the Pacers were over-matched in the contest, there were plenty of positives to take out of the experience. The team followed with a spirited Laurel Line Tournament performance as they knocked off Alvernia and lost in the Championship game to host Misericordia on a questionable call in the closing seconds.

The Pacers then took to the road for their first CSAC Conference game against Immaculata, which resulted in a 72-69 win in overtime. The team would then split their next two conference games, a loss at home to Keystone College, followed by a win at Baptist Bible.

The Pacers then improved their conference record to 3-1 with a blowout win over visiting Neumann University. Just when it seemed the Pacers were getting hot, the team was mired with a six-game losing streak.

The slide started with a 74-52 conference loss at Centenary. The Pacers then lost by 12 on the road at Hilbert College, which was followed by an 18 point loss at home in a rematch against Misericordia in their last game before Christmas break. After the break, three players left the team and injury struck Senior Matt Lepri.

An undermanned Pacer squad lost to both King’s College and Wilkes University in the inaugural Cross County Challenge, which was hosted by Marywood. Following the tournament, transfer Ryan Corrigan from Shippensburg University joined the team and Lepri came back from injury, but the Pacers still fell short losing to Rosemont.

The losing streak would come to an end with a dominating performance against Gwennyd-Mercy, in which the Pacers reached a high in points with 90 culminating in a 25 point win. The team followed that performance with a 2-point win on the road against Philadelphia Biblical.

Cabrini, ranked 10th nationally, put an end to the Pacers two-game win streak, with a 74-52 win. The Pacers then blew an 18 point lead in the first half to Centenary College, losing to the Cyclones by 16 at home. As of The Wood Word deadline, the Pacers are tied for fifth in the CSAC standings, with a 5-5 record.

“I feel the team is playing really well. We had a tough stretch where we were a little shorthanded and we lost six games in a row, but if the season ended today we would be in the playoffs and that was our goal at the beginning of the season”, said senior captain Brent Keyes.

As the Pacers enter the second half of CSAC play, the team will have a home court advantage with five out of the eight remaining games being played at the Mellow Center.

“There really are no excuses for us not to make the playoffs, especially with so many of our remaining games at home,” said senior Kirk Fallon.

The women’s basketball team has not only had success in the win column, thus far this season, but have also accomplished some individual milestones.

During Christmas break, the team headed to Orlando, Florida to participate in the Land of Magic Classic in Orlando, Florida. The Pacers had a strong showing handing Vasser College their first loss of the season. Two days later, the Pacers defeated Trine University, 57-51. During the game Marielle Thorsen became the latest Pacers to reach the 1,000 point plateau, joining Mariah Schaeffer, who accomplished the feat earlier this season.

For Allie Bruet, who runs the offense, playing alongside Thorsen and Schaeffer makes her job much easier.

“Without a doubt, playing alongside those two is a good thing,” said Bruet. “Marielle is a shooter, while Mariah is a driver. Having those two elements on the court at the same time makes us more versatile. We feed off each other. Even if one is playing well and the other isn’t playing well that night, we all feed off each other, making our offense successful.”

A week after the team returned from their trip to Disney, the Pacers traveled to Lycoming for a tough out of conference game. The Warriors snapped the Pacers four game win streak with a 66-62 victory.

Two days later, the team got back to their winning ways, defeating Notre Dame of Maryland University in convincing fashion. The pacers then took to the road beating Baptist Bible by a score of 69-45.

The Pacers extended their winning streak to three with an 80-44 victory on the road over Philadelphia Biblical University. The win not only kept the Pacers undefeated in the CSAC but also provided Head Coach Tara Macciocco with her 100th career win. “It was a really nice accomplishment to get, but I definitely could not have done this without my players. Getting the opportunity to coach Bruet, Thorsen and Schaeffer who were apart of at least sixty of those wins, that makes it special and it was nice sharing it with them. But if it wasn’t for my players, I wouldn’t have achieved this,” said Head Coach Tara Macciocco.

The Pacers suffered their first conference loss at Cabrini, losing 67-59. The team then returned home to play Neumann, keeping their perfect record (7-0) at the Mellow Center, with a 61-55 win.

The team currently sits at the top of the CSAC North standings with a 7-1 record and sport an impressive 12-4 record overall. This might be the year for the Pacers to win it all. Allie Bruet says the team is ready to finish the season strong, and take momentum into the playoffs.

“We know we can do it,” said Bruet. “We just have to take one game at a time and not overlook any team. Even though we are past the half way mark of the season, there is still much basketball to be played. If we stick together, like we have all season, we will be successful.”