Scots men and women basketball teams finish strong

Women’s basketball at Maryville College had a solid season. They finished as the better seed that was tied for third in the USA South Athletic Conference West Division. Coach Darrin Travillian’s team had a very high-octane offense, posting an average of 68.6 points a game.

The explosive offense was powered behind a full team effort that has been highlighted all season long from the active post play by players such as senior Kelley Wandell and phenomenal guard play from a big hat of strong players, including the constant presence of Klaire Varney.

Travillian’s team made their way into hosting the first round of the conference tournament after having an 18-7 season, with 11 of those wins in the conference play. Much akin to the men’s team, Travillian has a very young team. Two constant starters were freshmen Abbi Joseph and Courtney Carruthers.

One of the players Travillian believes to have improved the most throughout the team’s prolific season was number 45, junior Shelby Hix. He also commented on post player, junior Holland Jerrolds’ improvement in recent play for his squad.

“We saw Shelby Hix make tremendous strides as a scorer and defender. Holland is another player who has truly blossomed in the last month,” Travillian said. He is very satisfied with how the team finished the end of the regular season, having won the last three games that they played.

Freshman Felix Uadiale (number 14) streaks down the court hoping for the dish.

Photo by Savannah Stewart.

“I’m pleased with our stretch run. Obviously, we let a few opportunities slip through our fingertips,” Travillian said. “We started to really execute and share the ball at a much higher level over the past couple of weeks.”

Unfortunately, the men’s team has had a very different season despite having neared the end of the regular season with a string of wins. Coach Raul Placeres’ team had many close games in their season, but the team just had some trouble finishing games.

Despite the team’s current record, they could land a spot within the conference tournament. Efforts made by the team during February’s games are something that Coach Placeres can be proud of. The team worked hard to turn a backward season into something they can also be proud of, making their way back up to the third-place spot in conference before the season’s end.

Freshman Kevin Chong (number 1) looks for a teammate down the court.

Photo by Savannah Stewart.

“I’m extremely proud of how we have attacked the month of February,” Placeres said. “We have improved in every area of the game.” He is always looking on the bright side and hoping that all of the young players on his team will blossom with the experience they have received in the past months.

“With playing so many freshmen, their development was fast-forwarded more than the usual first-year player,” Placeres said.

Placeres and his staff are an extremely teamwork-focused unit. They base the play of the game around ball movement and how well they can get people to play together rather than isolating the few potential stars they see and playing them.

Lone Junior J.R. Sanders leads the court from his guard position.

Photo by Savannah Stewart.

“A lot of our players have improved,” Placeres said. “To say one player improved more than the next would be unfair. The team really improved in learning how to close out games.”

The ability to finish games is something that the coaching staff on the men’s Scots basketball team has been trying to instill in their team all season long — after losing nine close games after the four-minute mark media timeout. It’s also an issue that many fans had begun to notice, but Coach Placeres thinks that this group can really be special next season. They have already been turning around a rough season in the last month to end up in conference tournament play.  

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