Both ENC basketball teams’ seasons came to a bitter end as they suffered losses in the semifinal round of the Commonwealth Coast Conference. Both teams fought valiantly until the end but were unable to gain any traction in their attempt to overcome double-digit leads.
The women’s basketball team was bested by University of New England’s Nor’easters 75-59 on Thursday night. The Lady Lions had no answer for UNE center Alicia Brown as she dominated against ENC scoring a game-high 33 points and tallying ten rebounds. Stopping Brown was the primary focus for ENC on the defensive end in preparation for the semifinal game.
“She is a big girl, and she uses her size well at 6’4, blocking shots and grabbing offensive rebounds. Keeping her and her teammates out of the paint were what we hoped to do against them,” said junior guard Shelby Holmes about how ENC could have won this game.
Brown and the rest of UNE had their way in the paint scoring more than half of their points in the paint with 42 points near the rim. Coupled with their ability to score at the rim was their ability to control the paint defensively. UNE recorded eight blocks and out-rebounded ENC by nine.
ENC didn’t help their chances at victory with 18 turnovers that turned into 24 points for the Nor’easters. Going into the game limiting turnovers was a priority on offense along with doing the little things.
“Coach Sacha always emphasizes the little details that make the difference between winning and losing—boxing out, limiting careless turnovers, making your free throws—when we do those things we are hard to beat.”
Unfortunately, the Lady Lions could not do any of the little things that led them to 18 victories, the most the team has accumulated under Coach Sacha Santimano. Despite the loss, the team has next year to look forward to as three of their top five scorers from this season will return in 2018.
The Men’s Basketball capped their first season under Coach Polsgrove with a tough loss against Endicott 88-64. The team had hopes of beating Endicott this time around as Endicott had beaten them twice already, and it is usually difficult to beat the same team three times in a row. Endicott was able to execute their game plan as they scored the most points a team has scored against ENC in conference play.
“We wanted to try and keep it a low-scoring game in the mid-60s and cut down on their three-pointers. We knew that they were going to take a lot, but we tried to run them off the line as best as we could,” said senior Corey Doran.
ENC executed their game plan pitching in 66 points, but Endicott wasn’t aware of the memo to keep this as a low scoring contest. With the help of Endicott forward Daquan Sampson, the Gulls were able to make 13 of their 30 three-point attempts, with Sampson pitching in five of his own from beyond the arc.
Christian Lynch’s February scoring binge ended as he scored 17 points on 6-15 shooting. In the previous six games he played in February, Lynch was averaging 26.5 points on a scorching 59% from the field. Lynch finishes his career with 1,062 points, 42 more than his older brother Eric Lynch.
The ENC Basketball season ended abruptly or both teams, but the future looks bright for both teams with the women retaining most of their key players and the men having another year under new head coach Scott Polsgrove. The Lions of ENC Basketball will return in the fall of 2017.