The men’s and women’s basketball teams started their official practices Oct. 1, and are prepping to have one of the best seasons yet.
The women’s team, coached by Jeff Jacobs, have 15 players who are jostling for a starting space. Jacobs said that even if one of the players get injured, there are players “competing like crazy in practice” to show him why they should be one of the five on the court.
“We have multiple young women who are big and long. They are making great strides to get better.”
This year, the Larks won’t rely on one person to put up numbers, but on team movement and plays.
“You cannot zero in on anyone on our team because someone else will pick it up,” Jacobs said, “We have five players that can shoot long-range threes, like NBA deep threes. When you can spread the floor like that, it creates opportunities for others.”
Unfortunately, the absence of Essence Tolsen, who now plays at Oklahoma Wesleyan University, will affect the team a great deal. Tolsen was averaging 13.3 points a game, was first in the conference for defensive rebounds (102) and total rebounds (122), and was third in blocks (8) and steals (10).
“One thing that Essence had was lots of aggression down low,” sophomore Paris Rawls said, “No one could handle her. We have great posts this year and they are great shooters as well, but they aren’t as aggressive as Essence.”
The men’s team, coached by Dustin Galyon, are coming off a season where they battled against a lot of teams, but just came up short.
According to sophomore Reese Nebel, the team’s has a balance that will benefit them in their starting line-up and subs.
“I think the main thing I’ve noticed so far is that we have more height in the post and I feel that we are quicker on the perimeter,” Nebel said, “I hope this means we can play some fast paced basketball and run up and down the court.”
Knowing that they’ll be able to shoot faster, they will rely on their quickness to put points on the board and put games away early.
“I think we have a special group of guys this year,” freshman Spencer Conway said, “I think we can do something special.”