by Alexis Barton
While most students were taking advantage of the month-long winter break, the men’s and women’s basketball teams were hard at work gearing up for the second half of their seasons.
To kick off their December series of games, the women’s team hosted the Susan Dunagan Holiday Classic. The tournament is a nod to Susan Dunagan, former Roanoke women’s basketball coach who is the winningest coach in school history. The Maroons first took on the Blue Jays from Elizabethtown College. Throughout the first three quarters of play, the Maroons trailed closely behind their opponents. As they headed into the fourth, Renee Alquiza led the team’s rally with 7 additional points, but the Maroons were unable to make up for the deficit. The Maroons took their first loss of the season, with a final score of 78-63. The Maroons were unable to shake off their loss as they headed into another matchup against Christopher Newport. The Maroons held a narrow lead through the first quarter of play but were never able to come back after the Captains’ 33 points in the second quarter. Kristina Harrell was able to help the team break through CNU’s defense with 17 points, but the Maroons ended up with their second loss of the season.
Despite those two losses and three postponed games, the Maroons were able to pick up three wins against Hood, Guilford, and Virginia Wesleyan. The team is getting back into shape for the second half of their season, which will be filled with conference play. The team currently sits in 3rd place and is undefeated in their conference, so there is a bright future ahead for these Maroons.
The men’s team also had their fair share of ups and downs over the break. They began competition at the Cruzin Classic in Fort Lauderdale, FL with games against Wartburg College and the University of Dubuque. The Maroons showcased their skills on both ends of the court in two close games. At the halfway mark of their game against Wartburg, the Maroons were only down by one point. Junior guard Efosa Edosomwan was able to lead the team to a second half comeback, where his 14 points lifted the Maroons to a 70-66 victory. Against Dubuque the next day, the team found themselves in a similar situation with a difference of just 6 points at the half. Unfortunately, the Maroons were not successful in taking the game back this time. The final score was 75-67 in favor of Dubuque. The Maroons then traveled back to Salem to host the Cregger Invitational. The team hosted Covenant College and Buena Vista University and won soundly in both games.
Just after the start of classes, the team traveled to Lynchburg to take on their conference rival. After two conference losses at the beginning of the month, the team was hungry for a solid win. In the first half, Tripp Greene led the Maroons with 11 points against the Hornets. Their defense was proving to hold up too, as the Maroons limited the Hornets to just 21 points. In the second half, the Maroons showed their endurance as they continued their offensive effort. The team scored an additional 45 points, with 19 of them coming from Kasey Draper. The Maroons pulled off a stellar win against their rivals, with a final score of 71-54. As they head into more conference play this season, this game could be the spark that sends the team into a deep playoff run.
Both of these teams have proven themselves against both conference and non-conference opponents and their future is bright. To see the Maroons in action, come to the Cregger Center on January 29th to watch the women take on Bridgewater at 2 p.m. and the men take on Randolph at 4:30 p.m. Go Maroons!