Five returning scorers strive to lead team

TEMP ORARY November 14, 2012 0
Five returning scorers strive to lead team

The Elizabethtown College men’s basketball team is ready for this year’s season. In the Commonwealth Conference Preseason Poll the Jays were ranked sixth. However, this does not concern junior guard Joe Schwalm. “The preseason poll does not mean too much to us,” Schwalm said. “It is based off of last year and what plays out on paper and not the court.”
Although the Blue Jays only won eight games last season, they have a major advantage this year. The men’s basketball team has its top five scorers returning this year. Schwalm believes this will have a big impact on the team’s success this year: “…any given night a couple of us could go off for 20 points.”
Many individuals on the team are expected to shine this year. Senior Ben Cable had a lot to say about his teammates. “We will look for Andrew Mantz to continue his sweet outside shooting stroke,” Cable said. Mantz, a junior, averaged 9.4 points per game along with being the Commonwealth Conference’s seventh leading rebounder. “Joe Schwalm’s sky hook will be key for us this year; no one can stop it,” Cable commented. Schwalm ranked 16th in the league last year with 12 points per game. Sophomores Will Schlosser and Phil Wenger and seniors Cable and Joe Renzi are all players to keep your eye out for this year.
The Blue Jays lost four seniors last year. When asked how this would affect the team, Schlosser believes this may be an advantage: “The varsity team is more experienced than last year because it’s basically the same guys, but we all have a year under our belt.”
The Jays will once again be missing senior Tom Cooney. He tore his ACL during last year’s preseason and missed the entire season and will once again have to sit out this season. “We will definitely miss Tom Cooney again this year,” Cable said. “His high-flying, acrobatic dunks will be hard to replace. No one else can catch and power down alley-oops quite like Cooney could.”
However, the Jays do have two new leaders as Cable and Renzi step up as team captains. Cable had an impressive season last year, often being Etown’s top scorer. As a guard, he hit seven three-pointers in two different games, matching the school’s single game record. Renzi, who is the team’s point guard, had 24 assists last year along with 20 rebounds. Renzi described his responsibilities as a team captain as teaching the underclassmen what it means to play basketball for Etown. Schlosser credited Cable and Renzi with always setting a good tone at practice and having the rest of the team following their lead.
Overall, the Jays have high goals set and have confidence in their ability. “Practices have been going great so far,” Cable said. “The expectations are set high.” Instead of relying on the Jays’ strong offense and shooting ability Schwalm said the team will continue to have a strong defense, allowing them to wear down their opponents. He believes if the team focuses on both aspects, it will help them in the long run. Schlosser was quick to comment on the team’s goals, saying the Jays are ready to “… improve and compete for a Conference championship.”
The Jays’ first games will be in the Eastern Mennonite Tournament on Nov. 16 and 17 in Harrisonburg, Va. The men will have their first game at Etown on Nov. 25 against Susquehanna University.

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