Thursday, March 01, 2018 1:00 am
Tech, Saint Francis men get No. 2 seeds
AUBREE REICHEL | The Journal Gazette
Three area NAIA basketball teams learned of their next opponent at their respective national tournaments on Wednesday.
The Indiana Tech men's team (26-6), a No. 2 seed in the Duer bracket, will open its NAIA Division II National Tournament in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, against No. 7-seed West Virginia Tech (20-11) at 8:30 p.m. March 8.
The Crossroads League tournament runner-up Saint Francis men (25-8) earned a No. 2-seed in the Liston Bracket and will face No. 7 seed Keiser (20-10) at 6:45 p.m. Wednesday.
“Once you get to this point, everybody's tough and it doesn't matter who your opponent is,” Warriors coach Ted Albert said. “With a 2-seed, I'm proud of our guys, our first year of work here together. We left a few boxes unchecked in the regular season and the conference tournament but I think at this point, everybody's 0-0.”
For the players, the result wasn't too surprising, particularly after a semifinal exit from the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference Tournament.
“I kind of figured we were going to get a 2-seed,” Tech senior Scott Schwieterman said. “IU East won their conference finale (Tuesday) night and with Indiana Wesleyan winning, I figured we were going to get a 2-seed. Obviously we wanted a 1-seed but 2-seed, I'm happy with it.
“I'm super excited. This is my senior year. Last go around. I'm excited for the team we have, I feel like we can make a really deep run. I'm excited to make some memories out there with my teammates.”
The Indiana Tech women are a 3-seed at their tournament in Sioux City, Iowa, with a first-round match-up against No. 6-seed Bryan at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.
“It's a good match-up for us,” coach Jessie Biggs said. “I'm happy with the 3-seed. That's something over the year we've worked and earned. I think that side of the bracket's pretty tough but I like the seed, for sure.
“I think we just have to get a little more efficient with our offense and make sure we fine-tune some defensive things as far as rotations. We're going to make sure we watch a lot of film to know what they want to do and start making adjustments to our defense according to how they play.”
The Warriors fell to Cornerstone in the WHAC Tournament finals Tuesday, their first game without second-leading scorer Haley Cook.
“I just think it's great experience for those guys to play without Haley,” Biggs said. “If you do get her back, those kids are just as confident in themselves and think, 'Hey, yeah, we can play with people.' It's OK, it gives a little extra fuel to the fire losing but then again, it gives those guys a little more confidence that, hey, we can do this.”
Indiana Wesleyan freshman Kyle Mangas, a Warsaw graduate, was named the Crossroads League player of the year and freshman of the year.
Saint Francis' Bryce Lienhoop was named to the league's first-team along with Warsaw graduate Paul Marandet of Spring Arbor.
Huntington's Mike Bush and USF's Derek Hinen were named to the second team while the Cougars' Chandler White, Grace's Logan Godfrey, Huntington's Konner Platt and Bethel's Paul Forman, a Churubusco graduate, were honorable mention.
On the women's side, Saint Francis' Kara Gerka was named as a first-team all-league selection. Huntington's Brooke Saylor and Grace's Brooke Sugg made the second team and Grace's Vironnica Drake was honorable mention.