Thunder to Host MCCC Tourney

THUNDER TO HOST MCCC TOURNEY

 

By Mark Janssen

The hope is that the sparkling new Howie’s Events Center will play a role in who is crowned champion this weekend in the Midwest Christian College Conference Postseason Basketball Tournament.

“We’re thrilled to be playing at home,” said Manhattan Christian College women’s coach Sarah Wenger. “I think it’ll give us more confidence.”

Thunder men’s coach Shawn Condra added, “It’s reasonable to think we’re one of any number of teams that can go out and win it. When the students come out to support us I think you see us play with more energy. I think playing at home really has the potential to help us.”

LADY THUNDER REGULAR SEASON CHAMPS

The league champion MCC women enter postseason play on a five-game rush, plus winners of eight of its last nine games.

Wenger said back in December she thought her club could contend for the regular season championship, but probably not with the 9-0 mark and No. 8 national ranking that they posted.

“We’ve probably played above what I expected at the start of the season,” said Wenger. “Now, we’re hitting our peak at the right time of the year. Recently, we’ve been taking something from each game that will help us improve in the next game.”

During the current five-game run, MCC has won games by 31, 13, 18, 19 and 31 points with a current roster that includes just one senior, one junior, one sophomore and seven freshmen.

“The chemistry with this team is the best I’ve seen in my three years as coach,” said Wenger of her team that wins games by a 15-point margin. “They’re the most united team I’ve had in terms of play on the court, but also off the court. They initiate things that better the team on their own. They don’t wait for the coaching staff to initiate team unity.”

And, she added of her 16-5 team, “This team is taking care of the ball and finding the open player the best of any team that I’ve coached.”

Junior Katherine Wenger has led the team with a 15.4 scoring average, which ranks fourth high in the league.  

But as coach Wenger says, “We’ve had other players step up in being the leading scorer from time to time.”

While solid during the first semester, two second-semester additions in Jacy Martin and Kennedy Wilson from the MCC volleyball team have been pluses, to go along with season-long team-leaders Shelby Jennings, Peyton Miller and Haleigh Hosher.

Of the additions, Wenger said, “The two players have stepped in and it’s like we’ve all been together for the entire year. We’re playing with aggressiveness and confidence. We’re playing as a team.”

Depth has come from Only Cathemer, Melissa Fabela, Sierra Moore and Emmiley Springfield.

MCC receives a first-round bye and will play its first game Friday at 6 p.m. against the Thursday winner between Calvary and Barclay.

Thursday’s women’s lineup includes Central and Faith playing at 10 a.m., Calvary and Barclay at 2 p.m., and, Emmaus versus Ozark at 6 p.m.

The women’s championship game will take place Saturday at 4 p.m.

THUNDER AWAITS FRESH START

Condra said that with so many holes to fill off last year’s National Tournament Thunder team, “I didn’t really know what to expect. I guess I expected the unexpected and that’s what we’ve got. We had some significant roles to fill, and we just haven’t accomplished that on a consistent basis.”

In fact, MCC, perennially at the top of the MCCC standings, finds itself at 6-3 in league play for a fourth-place standing, and overall record of 10-16.

“We have some nice wins, but we also had a handful of games that we lost to teams I’m not so sure were better than us. That part is hard to swallow,” said Condra. “More than just the wins and losses, our challenge this year was to get the most out of all our players and I’m not sure we’ve done that on a consistent basis.”

Condra continued “I really feel we have the talent to be competitive with whoever we play, but when we don’t play to our ability, our margin of error is not very big.”

Leading MCC in scoring has been 6-1 freshman Sheldon Williams, who carries a conference-high point average of 19.0, which ranks seventh nationally.

“He started fast, had a tough January, but is now coming back,” Condra said of Williams. “He’s given us a needed scoring option and is our most explosive player.”

Condra has also liked the play of Darien Henry, Isaiah Dobbins, Alex Mitura and Logan Larue during the final month of the regular season.

The Thunder will play the feature 8 p.m. game Thursday against Ozark. With a win, semi-final play continues on Friday against No. 1 seeded Central at 8 p.m. Should the Thunder lose to Ozark, their next game would be Saturday morning at 10:45 for fifth place.

Other first-round games on Thursday include Barclay versus Faith at noon, Emmaus against Calvary at 4.  

The championship game is set for 5:45 Saturday.

 

2017-18 WOMEN’S STANDINGS

Manhattan Christian College     9-0       16-5

Emmaus Bible                          7-1       12-12

Central Christian                      4-4       8-15

Calvary                                     5-4       7-10

Barclay                                     3-6       4-13

Faith Baptist                             2-6       8-11

Ozark Christian                         0-9.       4-14

LEAGUE SCORING LEADERS

Lyndi Sgeoard, Faith                 19.1

Madison Laib, Emmaus              16.3

Miranda Calson, Grace              16.5

Katherine Enger, MCC               15.4

Tiffany Williams, Emmaus         14.6

LEAGUE REBOUNCING LEADERS

Alyssa Krestan, Calvary              10.8

Bekah Smith, Faith                    10.4

Shyann Wickam, Ozark              9.4

Madison Laib, Emmaus              8.5

 

2017-18 MEN’S STANDINGS

Central Christian                      6-2       13-12

Emmaus Bible                          6-2        9-13

Barclay                                     7-2        8-15

Manhattan Christian College     6-3        10-15

Ozark Christian                         4-5       9-15

Calvary                                     1-8        3-17

Faith Baptist                             0-8       2-23                                                                             

LEAGUE SCORING LEADERS

Sheldon Williams, MCC             19.0

Isaiah Miler, Calvary                  16.3

Kedron Rollings, Central.          15.8

Deion Clark, Ozark                    15.4

Jay Milton, Barclay                    14.7

LEAGUE REBOUNDING LEADERS

Van beek Tanner, Faith             8.7

Tanner Moore, Ozark,               6.0

Adam Rayner, Grace                 5.9

Josh Crawford, Central Christ.   5.9

Conner McKenzie, Ozark           5.9

MCC Scoreboard

10/16/2018 | Womens Volleyball vs. Calvary University | W, 3-0 
10/13/2018 | Womens Volleyball vs. Trinity Bible College | W, 3-0 
10/12/2018 | Womens Soccer at Ecclesia College | L, 2-1 
10/12/2018 | Mens Soccer vs. Ozark Christian College | W, 2-0 
10/12/2018 | Womens Volleyball vs. Ozark Christian College | W, 3-1