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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

UMB Hoop Dreams

Mens Basketball

Men’s Basketball – By Jon Mael

It’s 6:45 p.m. on a Tuesday night. After working as the Athletic Director for the day, coach Charlie Titus is in a sweat suit, still pushing his players to be their best after so many years, the players still hang on his every word, and it is obvious that his pool of basketball knowledge is vast beyond comprehension. The men’s team is looking to make a huge splash in the LEAC this year. The team is stacked with talent but short on experience, with only two seniors on the roster heading in to 2011-12. Titus has brought in some big name recruits from around the nation to try and bring the program to new heights. Titus said he feels “really energized” about the team this year, and he has good reasons to be.

Titus was very optimistic in a recent interview. He said, “This is a team that works hard. I think our basketball IQ is really high. We have a number of kids this year that really know how to play.” He was a little restrained about a couple of aspects for this year’s squad. He said, “We have a lot of work to do on defense. I think we have to learn how to play together better […] we are young and inexperienced.” He was willing to say that he has high expectations this year. He said, “I don’t think we’ll get hammered in the conference this year like we did last year, I think that we’ll have a lot of tough games.”

Last year the Beacons went 6-5 out of the LEAC but were a dismal 2-12 in conference play. Titus was confident that this year will be an improvement. He said, “Last year we lost a lot of conference games by big scores down the stretch, that’s not going to happen.” He added, “I think we’re going to have a nice winning record this year.”

Geoff Ebbs and Issac Jenkins are the two seniors this year. Titus said both of them are capable of providing leadership to a very inexperienced team. He also said, “We have some freshmen who were big time leaders on their programs last year.” He added, “Quadry (Allen’s) program won the state title last year in Lousiana, and he was their leader, Mike Caceres’ team won a championship last year with him as their leader. I think about leadership but I don’t think it’ll hurt us.”

The impressive freshman class that Titus has assembled will be put to an immediate test against perennial powerhouse Ramapo College in their season opener. Titus said, “They’re a top program in Division Three nationally […] when we finished our recruiting we knew what we were going to have, so we scheduled them intentionally. We wanted to test (our guys) very early, and we’ll see what happens.” The Beacons first nine games are at home, so there’ll be plenty of chances for the young team to try to gain a footing in the LEAC. Titus and his staff are hoping for a massive year for the Beacons, and with so much new talent, that’s a good possibility.

First game: 11/16 vs. Ramapo, 7 p.m.

Women’s Basketball – By Darius Johnson

Going into this season the Lady Beacons are very optimistic, and with good reason. With the acquisition of several promising freshmen to boost post presence, head coach Courtney Mattingly stated that she was, “excited to see how they’ll all grow […] and make an impact in their own way.” Mattingly is also moving the team towards a new emphasis on working together. She said, “We have a lot of good parts and if those parts can come together and learn to play together, we can definitely compete within our division.”

The ladies are riding on the momentum of last season, where they finished over .500. That, combined with the healthy return of several key players from last season is giving her optimism. She said, “The return of Elisa Ogawa, Colleen Hooper, and Shelby Buck will be huge for us.” Mattingly touched on the major losses that the ladies suffered last season, including guard Shelby Buck’s torn ACL, which cost her the majority of the year. Despite those setbacks, the Beacons showed promise in 2010-11, finishing with a 13-11 record for the year.

With this, Mattingly is confident of a postseason run. She said, ” It was the only goal we didn’t achieve last year. That is a big motivation of ours […] the fact we didn’t make [the postseason] even though we know we should have.” She added, “Our returners are certainly hungry for it as are our freshmen.”

The incoming freshman class is impressive and Mattingly has her eye on all of them to contribute right away. But they will have plenty of veteran support to help them make the transition to college basketball. Seniors Molly Rattigan and Elizabeth Dow will be working with a talented group that includes Mari Littleton and Haley Van Orman.

The ladies are hoping to be a major player in the LESC, and the journey towards that goal starts Wednesday, Nov. 16 at home.

First Game: 11/16 vs. Eastern Nazarene College, 5 p.m.