Article by Jeremy Nelson
It is hard to believe, but the 2012-2013 men's and women's basketball season tips off tonight. The CCC men and women host Union College here at the Ed Pyle Sports Complex tonight at 5:30 and 7:30. This will be the second year in a row that the Tiger women and the Lady Warriors have opened up the season against each other. Last season, the Tigers defeated the Warriors 63-52. For some reason, the Tiger men and the Union men did not play the same day as the women. The Tiger men opened up the season a few days later with a 60-75 loss to Manhattan Christian College.
The CCC women's basketball team was 6-24 in Coach Robert Lancaster's inaugural season. The Tigers have 3 starters back off of last year's squad, but have to replace two mainstays in the middle in Samantha and Rachel Graves. The twins accounted for 16 points per game which was just under half of what the team averaged. Coach Lancaster had a great recruiting year and has brought in several key pieces to replace those he lost, and also bolster the positions in which he had players returning. Lancaster will be leaning heavily on senior Sarah Hawthorne and Junior Harley Pate for leadership among all the freshmen on the team.
The Tiger men are coming off of a 19-13 season, a second place finish in the MCAC regular season and their 5th trip in a row to the NCCAA Central Region Tournament. Last year's season ended with a loss to Oklahoma Wesleyan University in the first round of the NCCAA Regional hosted by Colorado Christian University. The Tigers lost two starters off of last year's team, the sharp shooting Randall Conley, and the hard working Konner Bergstrom. Coach Romero has strengthened his team with the recruits he has brought into the program. He will rely heavily on two-time All-American Christopher Jones in the post, who averaged 19.6 ppg and 9.8 rebounds, and 6'0 guard Kaelon Gary who scored 16.5 ppg, to do a bulk of the scoring this season.
CCC is hosting Union College tonight who they only played once last season. The only meeting was in Lincoln, Nebraska which the Tigers won 110-83. The Tigers had 4 players score in double figures in that game let by Chris Jones' 26 points and Kaelon Gary's 18. Coach Romero and his coaching staff believes that if this year's team sticks together and plays to their potential, they have a chance to make a big splash in the MCAC and in the post season.