By: Jacob Walsh
Feb. 21st, 2023: Thiel Men’s Basketball team had an accomplished season, finishing 12-11 overall, and 11-9 in conference play (7th in PAC). The men’s team began PAC play on November 19th, 2022, falling in two straight games, and then striking back to win two in a row. In December, the Tomcats would go on a three-game win streak in the PAC, opening the new year with two more consecutive victories. The men’s team would go back and forth in wins and losses through the remainder of the regular season.
Junior Marlon Ellerbee led the Tomcats in scoring with 333 points while also playing the most minutes. Making an impact as a Freshman, Elijah Harden scored the second most points with 295 and led the team with 40 three-point shots made.
The men’s basketball team is not finished yet as they qualified for the PAC playoff tournament. The sixth-seeded Tomcats travel to Beaver Falls to play #3 Geneva tonight at 7 p.m.
The women’s basketball season was heavily competitive with the Tomcats finishing 3-22 overall, and 2-18 in conference play. The women’s team finished in 10th place in the PAC. The Tomcats’ two wins in 2022 came against conference rival Waynesburg and a home victory against the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford. The women’s team then traveled to Daytona, Florida on December 19th, and 20th, to compete in the Mauro Panaggio Tournament. The team went 0-2 in the tournament. Thiel’s final victory of the season was on January 30th at home where they beat Waynesburg for the second time, 60-59. The women’s team wrapped up their season on February 18th with a loss at Westminster College.
The women’s basketball team was led by senior Destiny Johnson. Johnson came first in points scored with 427 while averaging 17.8 points per game and 785 minutes. Johnson was asked when looking back on this season, what were her overall feelings… “individually, I felt accomplished because of the things I achieved. This season allowed me to see that growth, not only within the team but within myself. Collectively, I feel proud. We had people step up tremendously this year. A lot of people were put into positions, and they adjusted well to them”.
Destiny then was asked what the most memorable/defining moment for the team from this season was; “Our most defining moment would be when we made some changes mid-season. Although we didn’t win a lot of games, we improved as individuals and as a team. As the season went on, we became more disciplined.”
Johnson tallied her 1,000th point as a Tomcat back on January 11th, she was asked to take herself back to that moment; “I felt relieved and joyful. I was relieved because it’s a good feeling to reach such a milestone like that. I felt joyful because my biggest supporter was in the crowd. Funny thing is, when I scored my 1,000th point, I wasn’t even aware that I did it, because I was so caught up in the game. My teammates celebrating with me was another reason to feel joyful, seeing how happy they were made me feel amazing!”
Lastly, Johnson was asked what her overall feelings were after finishing her time on the women’s basketball team. “My overall feeling after finishing my time on the women’s basketball team would be bittersweet. The growth from freshman year me to senior year me is truly amazing. Coach Clune has helped me grow as a person on the court, and just as much off the court. He is the reason why I want to be a coach. He held his expectations for me high, and that allowed me to push myself to be a better player and leader each day. Every player here has instilled so much confidence in me and my abilities as a player and a leader, so that has helped me going into every year. I will miss this program because it made me the person that I am today.” The women’s team had their share of productivity with sophomore Lexy Wagner leading second in scoring with 167 points, second in minutes with 743, and tallied 29 made three-point shots. Sophomore Taylor Susany led the team in made three-point shots with 31, played 457 minutes, and scored 151 total points.
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