Slam-dunk start for hoops

Reagan Lee | Banner | Zach Pirog, junior criminal justice major, dunks the ball leading the Lancers to a win in California Baptist University’s opening game as a division I team.

New to Division-I basketball, both men and women’s basketball have both started their seasons, with men starting the year at a 2-4 record and women starting at a 1-5 record.

With early season struggles behind them, both teams look to turn their season around before conference games begin.

De’jon Davis, junior art major and power forward, said he believes the slow start of the season is all about learning from their mistakes and improving on them.

“(It is) a learning curve so far. We have a lot to work on and pieces to put to together,” Davis said. “Once we get all the pieces rolling we are going to be a fun team to watch.”

The biggest highlight of the men’s team to start off the year has been Milan Acquaah, sophomore undeclared major and guard, who was recently named to the All-Tournament team during CBU’s invitational tournament in Las Vegas during Thanksgiving break.

Women’s head coach Jarrod Olson said being in a new division is challenging but he is optimistic for a turn-—around.

“We are going to continue to work hard and focus on improving with each game,” Olson  said. “We are a young team and have a lot of room to grow. We want to be able to continue to grow and lay a solid foundation for CBU.”

Davis said he believes one way for the team to turn around these early-season struggles starts with practice.

“Every game is going to be a battle. We have to work harder for everything come game day,” Davis said. “We have to practice harder. These past two weeks we haven’t been able to practice (as much) due to our traveling, but we have a lot to look forward to down the line.”

The silver lining for the women’s season so far has been Brittany Thomas, junior psychology major and forward, who was recently named Western Athletic Conference Women’s Basketball Player of the Week, Nov. 29.

Jarrod Olson, said Thomas’s dominance to start the season has come from her coachability as a player.

“(Brittany) gives us a good inside presences, my hope is for her to become  the anchor for our defense,” Olson said. “She is coachable. She has a great attitude and (she is) a great teammate.”

The team’s next game will be Dec. 1 against Mississippi Valley State University with conference games set to begin Jan. 3 at home against New Mexico State University.

The women’s team’s next game will be at home against University of California Riverside, Dec. 6, followed by another home game against Fresno Pacific University Nov. 29.

Conference games will start off the new year and semester with a game Jan. 3 at New Mexico State.

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