This Tuesday, the men’s and women’s basketball teams traveled to Mount Vernon, Ohio to take on the Cougars.Both teams were victorious and continued their strong starts to the season.
The women were led by Tyra Carver, a senior, and Gabby Williams, a junior, to a comfortable 72-53 victory.
Carver led Goshen with 20 points and Williams chipped in 13 along with 10 rebounds for a double-double. The women improved their record to 9-1 (2-0 in conference).
Unlike the women’s game, the men’s game came down to the wire, with the Leafs pulling out a narrow 74-72 victory.
The men were led by Dom Bolden, a senior, who scored 23 points and Austin Hayden, a first-year, who contributed 16 points.
The win over the Cougars, who were receiving votes in the NAIA, improved the men’s record to 9-0 (2-0 in conference).
Women’s head coach Stephanie Miller attributes her team’s early success to experience, depth, and strong shooting.
“There is no skill, no quick recruiting solution, and no X’s and O’s that can compare with experienced players who have been through the grind,” she said. “The strongest part of our team is that we don’t have any one or two people that stand out overall—we are well-rounded. If you stop one kid, there are 2 or 3 more that will get you.”
Keshia Ward, a senior, also discussed the team’s depth. “Our team is extremely talented and on any given day, one of us can step up and help carry the team,” she said. “Even if we’re not having our best game, we are very supportive of one another and find other ways to contribute to the success of the team.”
Ward and Carver have both enjoyed a strong season thus far.
Entering Tuesday, Carver was leading the team with 12.8 points per game and Ward was averaging 10.6 points per game and leading the team with 7.3 rebounds per game.
On the men’s side, despite suffering early injuries to projected starters Billy Geschke and Dominique Cartier, both juniors, the Leafs have enjoyed a fast start.
Head coach Neal Young attributes it to the team’s attitude.
“Our guys have done a great job of having a ‘next man up’ mentality. When you have a group of guys who focus on the positive as opposed to dwelling on the negative you have the chance to achieve success.”
Young continued, “Our two most consistent guys have been Trevor Commissaris [a senior] and Devin Heath-Granger [a sophomore].
He has been a consistent presence offensively and defensively all year. Devin has been huge for us in terms of setting the tone of unselfishness that I talked about earlier.”
Heath-Granger, who entered the game averaging over seven assists per game, which was tops in the NAIA, credits his teammates for his success. “They have knocked down shots and really shot my assists number through the roof. I’ve been able to get into the lane and find guys who have been hitting shots. It has also opened up scoring opportunities for me because teams are worried about my passing,” he said.
Looking forward, the men and women will host St. Francis this Saturday. The women’s game is scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m. and the men’s game at 3:00 p.m.