Basketball season tips off with Maroon Madness

The Trinity men’s and women’s basketball teams will begin their season campaign next weekend, coming off an SCAC championship title run last year. The teams hosted Maroon Madness, a pseudo pep rally, last Sunday as a fun preview for the upcoming season. They hosted a three point shootout, a knockout tournament, a dunk contest and other games in order to get students excited for the season.

Before the season starts, the men will play an exhibition game against Division I University of Incarnate Word at 7 p.m. next Monday at Trinity. They will then travel to Tacoma, Wa. to play Whitworth University (Wa.), Pacific Lutheran University (Wa.) and the University of Puget Sound (Wa.) on Friday. The men’s team will play a total of 25 games, 14 of which are conference games. Anchoring the team are seniors Robert Kitzinger, Matt Holmes, Jonathon Wilt, John LaVanway, Zach Lambert and Joe Shotland. The Tigers are welcoming six new first-years to the team.

“We have six seniors on the team, so we have great leadership coming in. The only thing we’re battling right now is sickness and injury,” Holmes said.  “The Incarnate Word game will be a good test for us because they are a Division I school. They will be good competition and really let us see where we stand going into the season.”

The Tigers will play five away games before the first home conference game against Southwestern on Dec. 4th. On the 6th, the Tigers will travel to Chicago for two games before they begin a seven-home game campaign. Of these home games, three will be non-conference (UT-Dallas, Loras and Pomona-Pitzer). The rest of the Tigers’ season will be conference games.

“Our goal every year is always to win the SCAC tournament. We feel like we can go further in the tournament this year and really make a run at the end,” said junior guard Craig Saltarelli.

Competitive games include: Whitworth on Nov. 15, Mary Hardin-Baylor on Nov. 30, Albion College (Mich.) on Dec.  6, University of Chicago (Ill.) on Dec. 7, Colorado College (Colo.) on Jan. 5 and Feb. .

“I’m pretty confident it will be a good year. The guys are working pretty hard right now. The last couple of years we’ve had slower starts, so I think this year the guys are coming to practices preparing to come out of the gates a little bit quicker, especially with six seniors in this group; they really want to make it a memorable year,” said assistant coach Ross Burt.

The women’s team is looking forward to starting their season as well. They will play 25 games, 14 of which are conference games. Previously SCAC Champions, the women were ranked 19th in the nation, as of last week.

“We’re returning a lot of our main players from last year. We have a lot of different weapons on offense and we’re pretty strong defensively, so I think we will do well throughout the season and hopefully win conference again to make it to the tournament. Now that we have experience from last year, we should be able to make it further,” said junior Hannah Coley.

To begin their season, they will travel to Georgetown to play Moravian and Hardin-Simmons next weekend. Anchoring the team are senior captains Murphy Burns and Libby Kruse and junior captain Hannah Coley. The Tigers have four new first-years on the team this year.

“The team is looking great. We’ve got four new players and they’re all doing a really great job picking up on things and they’ll be able to contribute in their own way. I feel really good about where we are now and where we can be moving forward,” said head coach Cameron Hill.

Their first home games will be Tuesday the 19th against Wayland Baptist and Thursday the 21st against UT-Dallas. The Tigers will have many out of conference games, including interdivisional games against DII schools, before the bulk of their conference schedule begins. The Tigers’ first conference game will be against Southwestern on December 4th. Following the Southwestern game, the team will travel to Missouri for two games and then they will return home to host six home games, four of which will be conference games.

“Our team goals are to go undefeated in conference and win all of our games. We have a few Division II schools that we play, so to win those would be really good for us going into conference and winning the tournament, and then proceeding to nationals,” said sophomore guard Natalie Dewitte.

Competitive games include: UT-Dallas on Nov. 21, Angelo State on Nov. 25, Southern Arkansas (Ark.) on Nov. 30, Mary Hardin-Baylor on Dec. 1, Southwestern on Dec. 4 and Feb. 21, Illinois Wesleyan (Ill.) on Dec. 29, George Fox (Ore.) on Dec. 30. Southern Arkansas and Angelo State are both Division II teams. George Fox won the NCAA Division III National Championship in 2009.

“Basketball is a day-to-day thing. Seasons are always unique. No matter how hard you prepare or what your expectation is, you have to go to work on a daily basis to make sure those things become reality. I think we have the potential to do really well this year. I think our challenge will be to maintain a competitor mentality and always approach each game like it’s an important game,” Hill said. “At the end of the day it boils down to how our team approaches their work every day.  We’re really excited to get started and I think we have the chance to have a really special year.”