Dante Hoppa and Calvin Songster are two seniors on Coach Randy Lambert’s team here at MC. In his final season as the Scots’ head basketball coach, he has put his trust into his go-to players. When the team needs a spark on offense, he has a tendency to lean towards them.
While doing that, he has lead them towards making history: Hoppa has eclipsed 500 career rebounds and is also 30 points shy of 1,000 career points. On the other hand, Songster recorded over 1,000 points and is trying to lead his team the rest of the way.
When I asked Hoppa how it feels to be in the history books for both 500 rebounds and 1,000 points he said, “None of it would have been possible without my coaches putting me in the right positions, and my teammates being as unselfish as they are. As nice it is to have those accomplishments, however, my focus is on team goals like another conference championship and NCAA tournament appearance.”
Songster had a similar response when I asked him about his mark in history, “Being a part of Maryville College’s list of 1,000-point-scorers is an honor and a privilege I am very thankful for. It was a goal for me before my freshman season had even begun to reach this milestone, and it is very fulfilling to reach! Of course, it makes scoring easier when you have great and talented teammates that open the floor up for you.”
Both seniors were thinking the same when asked about their intel on the season so far. Both agreed that this season has been slow and not what they envisioned coming into the season ranked #22 in the polls.
Hoppa added, “We have won 9 out of our last 11 and hope to continue trending in the right direction before tournament time begins. Our biggest surprises have been the plays of our freshmen, Nick Clifton and JP McGhee.”
Clifton was inserted into the starting lineup due to the loss of Senior Colt Nokes. Clifton has added energy and size to the lineup and has contributed back to back double digits rebound games.
Coming down the home stretch of the season, conference play is at its peak. The seniors still have the same vision and goals set in place as they know the season is not completely over with yet. Songster is still striving to raise another banner and win the conference tournament has not changed. But, at the beginning of the season our eyes were on what we could accomplish in the NCAA tournament.
Our struggles in the beginning of the year have changed those goals, and 100 percent of our focus is on winning the conference tournament.
According to mcsports.com/sports, the Scots are 10-6 with a winning percentage of .625 going 6-3 in conference play. They are averaging 76.9 points per game, shooting 43.0 percent from the field, and 35.8 percent from behind the arc.