Gearing up for new season
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The beginning of November marked the beginning of the basketball preseason for Westmont’s men’s and women’s teams. Coming into this new season both teams have a number of new faces and look towards the leadership of the veterans on their team.
Men’s basketball has already played three games, two of which were exhibitions. The other one was a win over Portland Bible College 110-74. Aside from the games this team has already played, Head Coach John Moore mentioned that “Our first priority is to live out Westmont’s motto, Christ first in all things.” With that, Coach Moore also explained a little bit about their “ten commandments of culture,” two of which are “be positive and play hard.”
Last season, these Warriors had a successful season, going 24-8 and making it to Nationals, where they fell to Dillard University in the first round. Looking to improve upon last season, Coach Moore has turned towards the leadership of Captain Olisa Nwachie and seniors Max Hudgens and Matt Ramon. From the new batch of players, Coach Moore talked about Jordan Spaschak, a junior transfer, who “has been a catalyst of our new guys.” Overall, Moore is very pleased with the “upside” of the first-year players and the sophomore leadership from Gyse Hulsebosch, Tristan Lloyd, and Kyle Scalmanini. Recently, Westmont was found to be in the top 25 men’s basketball teams in the NAIA. This team will face Bethesda on Tuesday in Murchison Gym.
Westmont’s women’s basketball team has started off the preseason with two exhibition game against two Division 1 basketball programs. While they did not come out on top, Coach Kristen Moore was pleased overall, saying, “Our team showed we could fight…We were ahead [against UC Berkley] with two minutes left in the first half and battled with them the entire 40 minutes.” Last year, Coach Moore coached her team to the Championship game in Nationals, where they lost to Freed-Hardeman University of Tennessee. Coming into this season, the team has a very new look as seven new players step onto the floor, including six first-years and one transfer.
“Our team has already come together as a group and team unity will be one of our strengths this year,” explained Coach Moore in regards to this change. The returning players include sophomore Lauren Tsuneishi, junior Maud Ranger, and senior Roberta Hays, to whom Coach Moore will look for leadership. Having a first-year-heavy team could potentially stir questions of experience, but Coach Moore answered, “The standard of excellence that we strive for in our program is not an easy process.” She went on to talk about how that brings out success in skill, but most importantly “maximize their God-given talents.”
These Warriors open up their first preseason game against Cal Lutheran this Tuesday at home.