GHC Basketball Teams Both Score First Season Wins
Monday, Nov. 4 was a banner day for the Charger basketball teams, as the men’s team claimed its first win of the program and this season. After a disappointing inaugural season last year, the Chargers arrived on campus this fall with drive and purpose. That intensity and will to win paid off Monday with a 74-67 win against Middle Georgia State College in Cochran. It was a hard-fought victory for the men.
They were up by 12 points in the first half, but lost the lead early in the second half. After several lead changes, however, the Chargers prevailed. The win was even sweeter for sophomores Matt Catanzano and Matt Welch, who played throughout the inaugural season, which was plagued with injuries. Catanzano led the scoring with 19 points and 8 rebounds, and Welch was second with 13 points and 8 rebounds.
Head basketball coach and athletic director Phil Gaffney knew that the 2013-2014 season would be different. “The skill level of this team is impressive, and they have been stronger and stronger as practice has continued,” he said. “They’re fast, they think well on their feet and they really want to win. So I’m not surprised by the win. But I am very pleased by it, because we’re now entering conference play with a win in our first game, giving us a 1-0 record.”
He also said that the pre-season scrimmages allowed the team to sharpen their skills against some of the most competitive teams in the region. “Athletes learn something from every game they play, and we were able to take away some strategic pointers from some of the best teams around.”
The Lady Chargers also scored a win against Middle Georgia in a nail-biter that ended in a 79-77 victory. The Lady Knights had an early lead that continued until the middle of the second half, when the Lady Chargers battled back from an 11 point deficit. They took the lead with just 53 seconds left on the clock, and held it for the win in the season opener of conference play. Sophomore Amber Curtis led the scoring with 23 points and 8 rebounds. Linda Ulasi followed with 17 points and 11 rebounds, Shakierya McClendon with 13 points and 4 rebounds and Cassidy Allen with 10 points and 5 rebounds.
Women’s head coach Brandan Harrell was satisfied with the outcome. “I’m happy with this win because it gets the team pumped,” he said. “I think they’ll work harder than ever to continue to build the cohesion of a winning team.” The Lady Chargers were left with only two players from last year’s champion team, Curtis and McClendon. And while the athletes individually possess high skill levels, they are still learning each other’s strengths and weaknesses as a new team so that they can play together successfully.
The Chargers next play Spartanburg Methodist College on Nov. 10 in Spartanburg, S.C. The Lady Chargers are scheduled to play in the Chipola Classic on Nov. 8 and 9 in Marianna, Fla.