- Women blow past HSU
| Michael Bauer sports editor |
The 10th-ranked Pittsburg State women’s basketball team recovered from its first loss of the season by blowing out Henderson State 77-50 in Arkadelphia, Ark., on Monday, Dec. 1.
Pitt State (8-1) outscored the Reddies 35-12 in the first half and spent the entire game in front.
Senior Lizzy Jeronimus led the Gorillas in scoring with 23 points (10 in the first half) while junior Kylie Gafford had 14 and senior Morgan Westhoff and freshman Elena Flott each scored nine a piece.
The Reddies fell to 2-5 for the season.
Aungelique Sledge put up 24 points for Henderson State while Annie Thomas had eight.
Pitt State, still hurting after its first loss of the season to Rockhurst (72-62) just two days earlier at the Thanksgiving Classic in Springfield, Mo., started the game putting up eight points before Henderson State was able to get its first basket.
Gafford scored a layup and the Gorillas were then ahead by 10 points with 14:04 left in the first half.
The Reddies managed to cut the lead to 20-9 after a three-point play by Makyndra Simmons.
A steal by Jeronimus resulted in a 3-pointer by Westhoff to make it 25-9.
Sophomore Paige Lungwitz’s third steal of the night soon resulted in her going 2-0 from the line with 6:00 to go in the half and another lay up by Gafford ended the first half.
The Gorillas went 28-60 from the field (46.7 percent) while the Reddies shot just 17-60 for a 28.3 percentage.
Pittsburg State shot 18 of 24 from the free throw line. Henderson State went 12 of 14.
Jeronimus was perfect from the stripe, going 4-4. Gafford was also perfect from the line, shooting 2-2 and senior Hailey Roderique was 3-4. Freshman Mikaela Burgess and Lungwitz were also perfect from the line, going 2-2.
PSU out-rebounded Henderson State 34-22 on defensive boards and 12-10 on offense.
Flott had four offensive rebounds and three on defense while Burgess had three on offense and four on defense. Gafford had six total rebounds, all of them on defense and Lungwitz had all four of her rebounds on defense as well.
The Gorillas led by as much as 61-24 in the second half.
Coming out of the locker room, the Gorillas raced to a 5-0 run within the first minute of the second half after lay-ups by Jeronimus and Gafford and a free throw.
Then, Henderson State did likewise, making the score 40-17 early in the second half.
Henderson State had a much better second half showing, being only outscored 42-38.
Prior to the Gorillas’ game against HSU and Rockhurst, PSU defeated seventh-ranked Drury University 78-73 in the Thanksgiving Classic. Before that, Pitt State enjoyed consecutive wins over Minnesota-Duluth (81-50), William Jewell (89-51) and Truman State (102-45).
The Gorillas are joined by the Emporia State Hornets as the only MIAA schools ranked in the top 10 national polls. ESU is currently ranked second in the country.
Pitt State will next play its home opener against the Northwest Missouri State Bearcats on Saturday, Dec. 6 at John Lance Arena.
- Bogina qualifies for National Championships
| Michael Bauer sports editor |
This week junior Austin Bogina will be competing in the 2014 NCAA Division II Cross Country National Championships in Louisville, Ky.
Bogina, from Arma, is the lone PSU cross country runner to qualify as an individual for the national championships after placing 13th at the Central Regional on Saturday, Nov. 22, in Wayne, Neb. He finished the 10-kilometer race in 31:55.40.
As a team, the Gorilla men finished sixth while the women were eighth.
This will mark the first time Bogina has run at the national championships.
Bogina, who won the 2010 Kansas cross country state championship for Arma-Northeast, will be the second consecutive PSU runner to compete at nationals. Last year, Adam Volkert finished seventh at the national championships.
- PSU decimates Newman
| Cameron Molina reporter |
Playing in its first home game of the season at John Lance Arena on Tuesday, Dec. 2, against Newman University, the Pittsburg State Gorilla men’s basketball team got its first win over the Jets, 82-66.
After winning the tipoff, Newman enforced its presence by pushing the pace. Reggie Baker of Newman found an opening on PSU’s baseline and started the Jets off with a back-door bucket. Junior guard Javis Flynn slowed down PSU’s offense and passed the ball to sophomore guard and Pittsburg’s leading scorer Josiah Gustafson. After a few intricate cuts and movements, Flynn found junior Lamine Dieng on right block, then Dieng muscled his way in for the team’s first score.
After some stingy defensive possessions by PSU, a staggered screen was set at the top of the key for Gustafson on offense, who scored with a layup with 18:50 left in the first half. PSU continued its dominance on defense by forcing Newman’s James Pegues (three points, two steals) into his second foul, both within the first three minutes of the game. PSU drove down court and immediately started a flurry of passes. The ball ended up in Flynn’s hands again, who was able to make a play. This time, sophomore forward Trevor Gregory (nine points, five rebounds) contributed with a strong finish off the glass and added to Flynn’s collection of assists.
The dynamics of the game shifted in the Gorillas’ favor after a vicious baseline jam by senior Devon Branch. Dieng accepted a pass from Flynn during PSU’s next possession and hammered down a two-handed jam that helped PSU on a 10-2 run.
PSU continued its methodical offensive approach by feeding the ball down low to Dieng and taking what the defense gave them. Along with the offense, PSU’s defensive pressure increased and forced Newman into its first shot-clock violation with 14:15 remaining.
Not only was the Gorillas’ starting lineup effective, but their bench was as well, as Pittsburg recorded 21 points from its reserves. Freshman guard Dakota Jones led PSU’s bench players with 12 points and hit a 3-pointer with 13:13 remaining in the first half to extend Pittsburg’s lead to 11. PSU continued its onslaught of defense by forcing Newman to shoot 21 percent from the field in the first half, including 15 percent from outside the arc (2-13). PSU would go into halftime with a 15-point lead, 35-20. Dieng had scored 12 of his 18 total points in the first half.
Newman attempted to find an answer later in the second half by chucking up outside shots, but it was to no avail as the Jets finished 7-25 from behind the arc. Gustafson, after a slow start, increased his scoring total, leading PSU in second-half scoring with 12 and finished with 14. PSU advances to 3-4 on the season, after facing two top-25 teams so far.
“Josiah is a prototypical college athlete, as he has dedicated himself year-round,” head coach Kevin Muff said. “Not only getting into the gym or in the weight room, but studying film and finding ways he can help this team. He has taken a lot more of a scorer’s role this year. He is probably one of the more enjoyable guys I have had the ability to coach.”
Pittsburg State’s next game is against Northwest Missouri University (5-1) on Dec. 6 at home. The Bearcats ‘ lone loss of the season was to Minnesota State Moorhead (75-66) at the start of the season.
- Finishing ‘Like true Gorillas’
| Charles A. Ault reporter |
The Pitt State Gorillas men’s and women’s cross country teams made the journey to Wayne State College in Wayne, Neb., on Saturday, Nov. 22, to compete in the DII Central Championships.
First to score in the men’s race for Pitt State was junior Austin Bogina with a time of 31:55.40, placing him 13th overall. It was enough to advance him to the DII National Championship as an individual.
“Austin did a great job, he actually led the race for a couple miles and then fell back a ways and had to recover a bit because he started very fast He did well to fight back and secure an individual qualifying spot,” said Russ Jewett, head coach.
Next to finish was PSU’s consistent second runner, junior Connor Stark in 34th place with a time of 32:49.60. Not far behind Stark, filling a void left by usual No. 3 runner freshman Alex Conn, was sophomore Andrew Rodgers in 38th with a time of 33:03.80.
“(Conn) had a problem and had to drop out of the race,” Jewett said. “It was disappointing, obviously, but all of the other guys raced really, really well and picked up the slack for that occurrence.”
Ren Bean finished fourth for the Gorillas and 44th overall with a time of 33:17.10 and shortly behind Bean was senior Talon Thompson in 59th place. Thompson was the last, but not the least, Gorilla to cross the finish line with a time of 33:37.50.
“I was really proud of Talon. It might have been his best race ever in a Pitt cross country uniform,” Jewett said. “It was a 10,000 meter race and he’s not done very well at all in the 10k so I was really proud of him particularly and all the guys really.”
The men scored 186 points and finished in sixth place out of 22 teams. Pitt State placed above conference rivals Fort Hays State and Northwest Missouri State University.
“We were not all that far out of qualifying for nationals,” Jewett said. “We were sixth and the top four teams qualified. I was proud of our guys.”
In the women’s division junior Hannah DeVries did not let the flu get the better of her as she was the first Gorilla to finish the race in 15th place overall with a time of 22:20.42.
“She’s not going to make excuses, she wasn’t feeling the greatest but she fought through it,” Jewett said. “Sometimes you don’t control everything about your destiny unfortunately. Sometimes you’re dealt the hand of cards and just have to play them the best you can I think Hannah did that, she’s a strong individual.”
DeVries was followed in by senior Alex Moase in 43rd place with a time of 23:11.57. Freshman Katren Rienbolt finished in 47th place with a time of 23:26.98 and the final Gorillas to complete the race were freshman Paige Denton in 55th with a time of 23:35.88 and sophomore Paige White in 70th with a time of 23:56.36.
The PSU women took eighth place out of 29 teams.
“We fought really hard there were very good teams from the north end of the region. It was not a year that we had a realistic shot at qualifying for nationals but our ladies really gave it everything they had, as if we did have a chance, I’m proud of them,” Jewett said.
With the exception of Austin Bogina, who will compete in the DII National Championship on Dec. 6, in Louisville, Kentucky, this was the last meet for the Gorillas of the season.
“This year both teams worked their tails off and were all really connected to one another, had great team chemistry and really were true Gorillas in the way they conducted themselves, prepared and competed,” said Jewett.
- Playoff run ends in Minnesota
| Michael Bauer sports editor |
Senior quarterback Anthony Abenoja dropped back on the Gorillas’ first play in overtime and threw to the end zone where freshman running back Michael Rose was standing for a potential game-winning touchdown.
Instead, Minnesota State linebacker Tyler Henderson picked off Abenoja’s pass to ice the game and end the Gorillas’ season with a 24-21 overtime loss to the Mavericks in the second round of the NCAA Division II playoffs on Saturday, Nov. 29, in Mankato, Minn.
“It was two very evenly matched teams,” said Tim Beck, head coach, in his post game interview with KKOW. “They play a very physical style of football. Our guys rose to the occasion and played physical with them as well.”
The loss marked the end of Pitt State’s 20-game road winning streak. PSU’s season ends with an 11-2 record along with the co-MIAA conference championship that was won last month.
The Gorillas came back from an early seven-point deficit to take a 10-7 halftime lead after a field goal by senior kicker Connor Frazell and senior wide receiver Gavin Lutman’s 27-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter.
The Mavericks went back in front with a 34-yard touchdown pass by quarterback Ricky Lloyd to wide receiver Dorian Buford in the third quarter and a 2-yard run by Lloyd made it 21-13, MSU early in the fourth quarter.
Lutman’s 59-yard pass from Abenoja, along with the 2-point conversion, tied the score at 21 with 12:17 left in the game.
Frazell’s 47-yard field goal attempt with 2:41 in regulation was no good and senior cornerback De’Vante Bausby picked off Lloyd’s pass at the PSU 4-yard line with 37 seconds remaining to force overtime.
MSU was allowed only a field goal on its first possession in overtime by Alden Haffar from 29 yards out and the Mavericks’ defense made the game winning play.
“I thought that once we got it into overtime, we were going to get them,” Beck said. “We held them to a field goal, again, in overtime. We were aggressive with our play call. We knew we were going to try to score right now. Obviously, we would like to have that one back, but it’s not like we were laying up. We were going for it.”
Abenoja went 15 of 28 for 248 yards and three interceptions. Lloyd threw 13 completions of 25 for 214 yards and one interception.
Senior safety Keeston Terry had 15 tackles while Bausby and senior linebacker Tyler Disney finished with 11 apiece for the Gorillas.
Junior running back Jamal Tyler was the leading rusher for PSU with five rushes for 39 yards. Junior running back Jeff Seybold Jr. returned from his injury absence to put up six carries for 29 yards.
Lloyd had 19 carries for 91 yards for MSU while running back Connor Thomas chalked up 22 carries for 70 yards.
The Mavericks had 187 rushing yards while the Gorillas only compiled 97.
Minnesota State was 6-18 on third down conversions. Pitt State could only go 2-12.
It was the second time this season that PSU had to face the top-ranked school in the country on the road. The MSU improved to 12-0 and will play host to the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs (13-0) in the third round.
The Gorillas were the last MIAA school eliminated from the playoffs after Northwest Missouri State fell to the Bulldogs, 25-21 in the first round.
- Routed out
Gorillas share MIAA title
| Michael Bauer sports editor |
With the conference championship and a spot in the playoffs on the line, the Pittsburg State Gorillas needed a win against the Central Oklahoma Bronchos Saturday, Nov. 15, to close out the regular season in Edmond, Okla.
That need was met.
The Pitt State football team (10-1) claimed a share of the MIAA conference title by blowing out Central Oklahoma (8-3), 41-14 on Saturday, allowing the team to advance to the NCAA Division II national playoffs.
With the win, Pitt State will share the conference title with Northwest Missouri State. Both teams finished with the same record.
“We want them to enjoy it,” said Tim Beck, head coach. “This is the first time that everybody has played everybody in the conference. There’s a lot of good teams and for our kids to rise up after losing some players from last year was great. Great leadership by our seniors.”
Facing a squad that had been enjoying a surprising 8-2 record going into the game, the Gorillas came out firing. PSU scored on its first five offensive drives of the game to take a 27-7 halftime lead.
Senior quarterback Anthony Abenoja went 21-29 for 290 yards and senior wide receiver Gavin Lutman had five catches for 71 yards while junior Marquise Cushon had four for 68 yards.
“He (Abenoja) was on fire today,” Beck said. “He rifles that thing in there. He throws it on a rope sometimes. But he has really quick hands to come off on a run and fire the ball. He does a nice job of that.”
Cushon led the way in rushing yards with four carries for 88 yards and a touchdown while freshman running back Michael Rose had 10 carries for 58 yards and scored his first collegiate touchdown in the second quarter on a 1-yard carry.
“We think we’ve improved in the rush game,” Beck said. “We did better today than last week. We had eight or nine guys who ran the ball and it was a total team effort.”
PSU had 42 rushes for 241 yards total.
UCO came in with the second leading rusher in the MIAA in running back Jake Gandara. He finished the day with 11 carries for 103 net yards and two touchdowns but UCO’s offense could only manage 151 total yards from the ground.
For the Gorilla defense, sophomore linebacker Spencer Brown had six total tackles. “We were able to shut down their run game,” Brown said. “That’s what we were striving to do and make them throw the ball.”
In the first quarter the Gorillas needed four plays in 57 yards to strike first and sophomore quarterback Ramsey Hamilton helped his team do just that. Hamilton ended up scoring from one yard out.
A fumble by the Bronchos Caleb Moss, recovered by Gorilla sophomore safety Deron Washington, led to an eventual 22-yard field goal by senior kicker Connor Frazell.
Washington had five total tackles and the PSU defense kept UCO quarterback Chas Stallard to only 10-20 for 71 yards along with five sacks.
Cushon, on a stretch play to the right, outran a number of Central Oklahoma defenders, managed to stay in bounds and was off for a 44-yard touchdown to start the second quarter.
The Bronchos responded quickly as Gandara scored his 12th rushing touchdown of the year, on a 74-yard sprint less than a minute later to put UCO on the board.
A chop block penalty negated a 4-yard touchdown run by freshman running back Ethan Fugitt and the Gorillas settled for a 36-yard field goal.
Pittsburg State continued where it left off in the second half, scoring on its first drive with a 10-yard pass from Abenoja to Cushon, all while playing into the wind.
“That was huge,” Beck said. “The wind died down as we went but that was a huge opening drive of the third quarter.”
PSU forced UCO to go three-and-out, got the ball back, and scored again off a six-play, 43-yard drive with a 1-yard run by junior running back Brian Poston to take a 41-7 lead.
The Gorillas had six players with receptions and nine players run the ball.
“We spread the wealth pretty well,” Beck said. “A lot of people ran the ball and caught the ball. We had to focus this week in the cold weather and it was a good week of practice.”
Football dominates All-MIAA honors
| Michael Bauer sports editor |
Twenty members of the co-MIAA champion Pittsburg State football team received All-MIAA honors on Tuesday, Nov. 18.
Senior quarterback Anthony Abenoja was selected as the league’s Offensive Player of the Year, senior kicker Connor Frazell was named the conference Special Teams Player of the Year and head coach Tim Beck received Coach of the Year honors.
This is the second time that Beck has been named the MIAA Coach of the Year in his five-year tenure with the Gorillas, winning the honor in 2011 as well.
Abenoja, who threw for 3,344 yards to finish as the top passing quarterback in the conference, garnered first-team All-MIAA honors as quarterback.
Junior wide receiver Marquise Cushon and senior wide receiver Gavin Lutman both took first-team recognition, while senior
offensive lineman Tyler Smith earned first-team selection.
Cushon and Lutman finished the regular season with 1,141 and 1,001 yards, respectively and led the MIAA in receiving yards.
On defense, sophomore Heath Wilson was selected to first-team defensive line while seniors De’Vante Bausby and Keeston Terry were named first-team defensive backs. Frazell was also selected to first-team kicker honors among the special teams group and was named the MIAA special teams Player of the Week for the third time this season after the Gorillas’ 41-14 win over Central Oklahoma.
Senior Ollie Venegas was named second team offensive lineman. Senior defensive lineman Deaven Jenson took second-team honors while sophomore linebacker Spencer Brown claimed second-team recognition.
Sophomore tight end Kyle Swartz, junior defensive lineman Taye Irvin and senior defensive back Aries Herrion all earned third-team All-MIAA honors.
Junior wide receiver Austin Daniel, freshman offensive lineman Bo Farrow, senior defensive lineman Avery Adair, senior linebacker Tyler Disney, junior linebacker Colby Hall and sophomore defensive back Deron Washington made the honorable mention All-MIAA list.
10-1 PSU faces HArding in opening
| Michael Bauer sports editor |
The Pittsburg State football team is back in the NCAA Division II playoffs.
After a two-year drought, following the 2011 national championship, the third-seeded Gorillas will play host to the sixth-seeded Harding Bison in the first round. The game will be played Saturday, Nov. 22 at Carnie Smith Stadium for a 1 p.m. kick off.
Pitt State (10-1) won a share of the MIAA conference championship with Northwest Missouri State last week, after a 41-14 win over Central Oklahoma.
Now the Gorillas will be facing a team very similar to the one they lined up against Missouri Southern State earlier this month.
Just like the MSSU Lions, Harding is a team that runs the triple-option on offense. The Bison’s rushing game has put them on top of the table in rushing yards in the Great American Conference (GAC) standings with 3,860 yards from 627 attempts and resulting in 49 touchdowns. Harding also leads the GAC in scoring offense with 445 points.
“They’re going to be very similar (to Missouri Southern),” head coach Tim Beck said. “They both run the flex-bone. It’s one of those things with different schemes but they’re still based out of the same formation and they’re going to run the football as much as they can.”
But luckily for the Gorillas, they’re familiar with Harding’s style of play.
Against MSSU, Pitt State held the Lions (who were ranked in the top 10, nationally in rushing) to their lowest single game rushing stat of the season with only 81 net yards in PSU’s 41-10 victory.
“I think that’ll help (playing Missouri Southern) and the fact that we’ve played them just a couple of weeks ago,” Beck said. “So I think that’ll help us. It’ll still be a little fresh in our minds of what we’re doing.”
The leader of Harding’s rushing attack is running back Romo Westbrook. The senior has rushed for 1,059 yards from 167 carries and seven touchdowns. Running back Alapeti Magalei has chalked up 593 yards from 112 attempts and six touchdowns while running back Ahmad Scott rushed fro 415 yards from only 33 attempts and seven touchdowns.
Harding concluded its regular season on Saturday, Nov. 15, with a 41-7 victory over Arkansas Tech. Their lone loss of the season was a 31-28 loss in overtime to undefeated Ouachita Baptist.
Pittsburg State has been a little bit more balanced on offense, rushing the ball for 1,728 yards (sixth in the MIAA) while throwing the ball for 3,428 yards (first in the MIAA).
Harding is dead last in the GAC in passing offense, compiling only 731 yards from 36 attempts. Quarterback Keenan Kellett enters the game with a passing-completion percentage of 55.6, going 35 of 63 for 725 yards and five interceptions as well as nine touchdowns.
For Pittsburg State, ever since losing to Fort Hays State at home in September, every week has been a win-or-go-home scenario, knowing all too well that one more loss would derail its playoff hopes, especially considering that no school with two losses from the Gorillas’ Super Region cracked the playoffs. For Beck and his players, there have been no changes in the mindset going into the playoffs.
“You’ve got to play every week like it’s the national championship,” Beck said. “It’s a one-and-done tournament. If you don’t win, you’re done. It’s been that way since the Fort Hays game. Nothing is going to change for us. We’ve just got to go out and practice and prepare like we do every week.”
- Volleyball ends season with loss
| Cameron Molina sports reporter |
A four-game road trip ended with a loss for the Pitt State volleyball team to the University of Central Oklahoma Bronchos on Saturday, Nov. 15, in Edmond, Okla.
The Gorillas, who were already on a three-game losing skid going into the match lost in four sets, 3-1.
The Bronchos took the first set, 25-15, before Pittsburg State came back to win the second set, 28-26. Central Oklahoma won the final two sets, 25-18 and 25-16 to end the Gorillas’ season at 10-20 overall and 7-15 in the MIAA.
Pittsburg State found itself down early in set one, 9-3. The team scraped and battled back as it narrowed the margin to five. It wasn’t long, though, before PSU found itself facing a large 20-10 deficit. Junior setter Haley Hansford made a quick adjustment on the next serve and assisted sophomore Madison Mosier for one of her 14 kills.
Senior Ashley Bell finished with four kills and eight errors. Hansford continued to set up her teammates for well-deserved kills. She finished the game with 35 assists. Although the Gorillas attempted to battle back, they fell in set one 25-15.
Set two served as a different story, as both sides were in a deadlock.
The two sides went back and forth.
Down 23-19, sophomore Maggie Highberger helped steer momentum to the Gorillas as her point brought PSU to within three. Highberger finished with eight kills and one block.
With the help of junior outside hitter Barbara Jackson, who leads the MIAA in kills (459) and kills per set (4.25), UCO tied the set at 26-26.
But Pittsburg State wasn’t denied and won set two, 28-26, behind senior Haley Gregory’s six kills (8 total).
PSU buckled down and prepared for set three. Again, tensions mounted as both sides continued to trade kills, one after another. UCO took a 10-9 lead, backed by senior right-side hitter Sabetha Young’s three kills (15 kills total).
PSU attempted to keep pace with the Bronchos but soon the deficit was 19-12 and UCO went on to win, 25-18.
In the third set, PSU committed nearly three consecutive errors, giving UCO an early 5-1 lead. Central Oklahoma continued its run, taking a 20-8 lead. Almost in an instant, though, PSU woke up. Aided by a UCO error by Young, Pittsburg State went on a 6-2 run as the gap began to close but could not make up enough ground, losing 25-16.
Mosier led the team in kills (417), and was eighth in the MIAA with nearly 3.5 kills per set. Hansford finished sixth in the MIAA with 1,176 assists, including just under 10 assists per set. PSU’s sophomore libero Ashlen Schwartz continued the trend of MIAA leaders as she placed seventh in digs with 480.
The loss to UCO was the last game for seniors Taylyn Schwartz, Aimee Wood, Paula Okrutna, Haylee Gregory and Bell.
- Women’s basketball start’s strong
| Cameron Molina sports reporter |
It has been chilly outside, but the PSU women’s basketball team traveled to an area with even lower temperatures as the team began its season at the Radisson Hotel’s Roseville Classic in St. Paul, Minn.
Pitt State’s first game of the tournament was against the 10th-ranked Concordia St. Paul Golden Bears.
“We are a ranked team as well,” said Lane Lord, head coach. “We played them (Concordia) in our second game last year in California. So we were somewhat familiar with them. They are a huge team, though.”
PSU started its assault by giving the ball to junior forward Kylie Gafford, who quickly put up a jump shot. Gafford then hustled back down the court for defense and stole the ball, drawing a foul against the Golden Bears’ starting senior guard Voneisha Harris (2 points, 1 turnover). Although the Gorillas started well during the first 30 seconds of play, Concordia established a pace and by the 10-minute mark led 19-10.
The situation got worse for the Gorillas when Concordia continued a 21-6 run and led 29-12 with six minutes remaining in the first half.
Sophomore guard Paige Lungwitz broke the Golden Bears’ scoring spell with a free throw and, when coming back down the floor, knocked in a three. Lungwitz finished the game with nine points and two assists.
“She played four to five minutes last year and improved over the summer,” Lord said. “She became physically stronger and averaged 22 minutes playing time during this tournament.”
After a turnaround second half, PSU won the game with a final score of 66-59.
With a victory behind them, team members began focusing on the next game against the Beavers of Bemidji Sate.
As soon as the ball was tipped, the Gorillas were in attack mode.
Senior guard/forward Lizzy Jeronimus quickly gained control of the ball and dove inside the paint for a basket. She continued her onslaught by swishing in a jump shot and extending PSU’s lead by 10 with just over three minutes remaining in the first half.
Senior guard Morgan Westhoff connected on a 3-point shot in the second half, extending the lead by 18, and Jeronimus finished with 15 points.
Pitt State defeated the Beavers and finished the classic 2-0.
Both Gafford and Jeronimus were named to the all-tournament team with Gafford averaging 12.5 points per game and Jeronimus 13 points per game.
After the classic, the women’s team traveled four hours to Marshall, Minn., to take on South West Minnesota State.
The Gorillas ran up and down the Mustangs’ hardwood as if they owned it.
Jeronimus caught fire early on, hitting every jump shot she could. She finished the game with 25 points.
Freshman Elena Flott made several assists and junior guard/forward Cathy Brugman, combined with Jeronimus, put up 24 points in the first half.
PSU shot 60 percent from the floor and out-rebounded SWMSU 29-25, eventually winning the game 92-73.
With three victories behind them, the Gorillas have plenty of momentum as they head to the Winstead-Reeves Classic on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 21-22.
- Men get first win of the season, 76-56
| Michael Bauer sports editor |
The Pittsburg State men’s basketball team got its first win of the season, 76-56, over the Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys on Wednesday, Nov. 19, in Russellville, Ark.
Senior Devon Branch put up 18 points and eight rebounds while freshman Dakota Jones and sophomore Josiah Gustafson both finished with 12 points. PSU improved to 1-2 for the season after dropping its opening games over the weekend while the Wonder Boys fell to 1-2.
“I thought it was a great win,” head coach Kevin Muff said to Eddie Lomshek of KKOW. “Going on an opponent’s court and get a win was important. We’re a little shallow on the bench but it’ll improve. For the way we responded, I thought our defense was as good as it’s been for a while.”
After the Wonder Boys scored the first two baskets of the game, the Gorillas went on a 7-2 run to take the lead for the remainder of the game.
The Gorillas led by as much as 15 points in the first half and then expanded it to 20 in the second.
Jones’ 3-pointer with 6:12 in the first half extended PSU’s lead to 11.
A 3-pointer by senior Connor Kjer before the half made it 30-18, PSU.
It was the third 3-pointer of the game and one of three-straight outside shots from the Gorillas as they built a 33-22 lead.
Kjer ended the game with five points.
Arkansas Tech cut the lead to nine with a jumper by Clarence Willard to end the first half.
On defense, the Gorillas forced 16 turnovers on the Wonder Boys while getting 10 steals.
“Defense tonight won the game for us,” Muff said. “The defense set the tone for us and allowed us to do what we wanted to do offensively.”
However, PSU had 18 turnovers.
“Our turnovers were glaring because they were forced,” Muff said. “Most of them turned into scoring opportunities for them and that’s frustrating because we did a good job this weekend of handling the ball. We want to put the game away and we let them hang around for a while.”
Junior Denton Hays shot four of six field goals from the inside to finish with nine points.
“Denton gave us some good minutes,” Muff said. “We talked about how we’ve got to establish something inside. I thought our ability to knock down from the perimeter was good.”
Nick Wayman had 14 points while Clarence Willard had 12 for Arkansas Tech. The Wonder Boys shot 42.9 percent from the field. The Gorillas shot 52.9 and were 50 percent from beyond the arc. The Wonder Boys shot 17 percent on 3-pointers.
PSU continued where it left off, starting the second half with a layup by sophomore Trevor Gregory and two free throws by junior Jake Bullard.
Three consecutive turnovers helped Arkansas Tech to cut the gap to 46-37.
A missed 3-pointer by Wayman and a missed layup by Willard kept the Gorillas in front by 12 in the second half. Pitt State made the Wonder Boys pay with an insider by Branch and a dunk by Bullard. Bullard finished with six points.
Arkansas Tech’s shooting got even colder in the second half, making only one field goal out of seven attempts while turning the ball over three times in a two-minute span. Pittsburg State went on a 6-0 run during that span and led 65-47 with 4:00 left.
The Gorillas scored 15 points off turnovers while the Wonder Boys scored 11.
Arkansas Tech’s drought wouldn’t end until a layup by Michael Perry with 3:50 on the clock, off a defensive rebound.
The fourth charge called against Arkansas Tech led to a foul by Wayman on the ensuing possession and Gregory went two for two from the line to put the Gorillas at a 67-49 advantage.
The Gorillas have been on the road so far during the young season, traveling to Sioux Falls, S.D., last weekend before heading to Arkansas. Pitt State will stay on the road, facing West Texas A&M on Wednesday, Nov. 26, in Canyon, Texas. After that, the Gorillas will face Tarleton State and Texas A&M-Kingsville on Thanksgiving weekend.
“We haven’t had a break in a while so we’ll probably take (Thursday) off and work some of the stiffness out,” Muff said. “We’ll get back to work on Friday and get on the road next week. It’s hard for these guys to be away from their folks on Thanksgiving but this allows us to play some opponents that will help make us better in the long run.”
The Gorillas’ first home game will be on Tuesday, Dec. 2, against Newman.
- Cross country takes third
| Charles A. Ault reporter |
On Saturday, Nov. 8, the Pitt State men’s and women’s cross country teams traveled to Bolivar, Mo., to compete in the MIAA championship meet.
Both the men and women placed third as a team.
“I overall feel pretty good,” said Russ Jewett, head coach. “I am proud of both the men’s team and the women’s team. That was about what our full potential was this year so I’m proud of them.”
First in for the men was junior Austin Bogina. Bogina placed fifth overall with a time of 25:06.90.
“I think that was his best race ever for us. It’s a very tough conference. There are a lot of very good runners in this conference,” Jewett said. “He got his nose right up in the thick of things from the start and held tough for a long, long time. He ended up fifth and he was ranked about ninth or so coming in so that was an outstanding race for him.”
Junior Connor Stark was the next Gorilla to cross the finish line in 18th place overall with a time of 25:44.86
“Connor Stark had the race of his life. He’s a junior so he’s had some opportunities and this is the best he’s ever performed,” Jewett said.
Freshman Alex Conn finished 19th with a time of 25:47.58, and sophomore Ren Bean was not far behind. He came in 24th with a time of 25:59.70.
The final scoring runner for the Gorillas, senior Talon Thompson, was able to snag 33rd place with his time of 26:24.11.
Pitt State scored a total of 94 points on the day.
A tough Missouri Southern team won the MIAA championship with 22 points. Nebraska-Kearney took second with 55 points.
The women’s team was led in by junior Hannah DeVries. Her time of 21:51.95 earned her the accolade of second best runner in the MIAA.
“I think it was her best race for us ever,” Jewett said. “She took some risks that I haven’t seen her take before; she actually went out really aggressively early in the race and took the lead at about the mile point and kept the lead for probably a little over a mile. Eventually she got caught, and ultimately passed, by the ultimate winner but it was a breakthrough in racing mentality for her, I believe, so I was very proud of her.”
Next to finish for the Gorillas was freshman Katren Rienbolt in 14th with a time of 22:54.68.
“She had an outstanding race in her first conference championship. I was extremely happy with her,” Jewett said.
Freshman Paige Denton and senior Alex Moase were the next Gorillas to complete the course in 24th and 25th place respectively with times of 23:27.91 and 23:29.12.
Also placing for the Gorillas was sophomore Paige White. Her time of 23:56.00 was good for 36th place.
PSU’s 100 points placed the team above Fort Hays State with 106 points.
“If you compete to your utmost ability you can be proud of that and we are,” Jewett said.
As in the men’s division, Missouri Southern won first place in the women’s division, this time with 44 points. Southwest Baptist seized silver with 70 points.
Pitt State will next race at the regional meet at Wayne State College in Wayne, Neb., Saturday, Nov. 22.
“We’ll develop a plan and an objective and a goal based on what we see (in our opponents’ results). We certainly would like to do better than we did last year. We’ve got some positive momentum going in. I think our kids feel good about themselves, so you never know,” Jewett said.