John C. Longton III, Sports Editor
The men’s basketball team is off to a 2-0 start and are looking to redeem a team that let the season slip away just a year ago.
In the 2014-15 season, the men’s basketball team got off to a red hot 8-1 start. After that, they quickly cooled back off, posting the exact opposite record and going a mere 1-8. They finished the season 15-13, missed the regionals, and were left with many questions.
This year, the team is loaded with freshmen and don’t have a single returning player, but head coach Mike Long is convinced they have the talent they need to have a successful season.
“I think in a way we might be stronger at the guard position than we were last year,” said Long.
Last year, the team lost its starting point guard midway through the season and were left searching for their identity the rest of the year.
The 2015 team is fielding in a lot of depth at the guard position and were able to bring in a couple new recruits including Ericco Feaster. At Arlington High School near Poughkeepsie, NY, Feaster earned all conference honors and he’s bringing his talents to Hudson Valley where the team is looking for better guard play.
This season, the team has to come together quickly and learn how to coexist. This is the first time this team will play with each other as that there are no returning players. When asked about his expectations for the season, Long said, “To win more than we lose.” I asked him this before the team had any games under their belt and the future looked uncertain.
Since then, they’ve played two games and have been coming together and getting better in multiple facets of the game.
“I think we can be pretty good,” said Long. “So far from what I’ve seen the guys play very hard. The biggest thing is going to be scoring the basketball and rebounding.”
Last year, the team averaged about 36 rebounds per game. They also averaged 70 points per contest and got to the line a decent amount. They were seventh in the nation in free throw percentage and scored 17 points a game from the line. This year’s team may or may not resemble that, but they need to get same games under their belts to figure out their identity.
The first game of the season was played on Nov. 5, where they won against SUNY Ulster in dominating fashion with a 40 point win, finishing 108-68. Seven Vikings scored in the double digits and turned a lot of heads. They opened the season with a blowout and made a statement to the naysayers who thought this team was too inexperienced to have a successful season.
The second game took place two days later and was a little closer, but the Vikings got the job done, beating Cayuga Community College 80-73. Brandon Palmer, from Columbia, led all scorers with 22 points. He went 5-7 behind the three point line and he’s stretched the court at the forward position.
Kevin Lenehan, from Duanesburg, seems like he’s been the anchor to the Viking’s team thus far. In the first two games he’s scored 30 points and it looks as if he’s coming into his own transitioning to the college level.
This team may be really young, but after the first two games look as if they can gel together and make a run at something special. As the season revs up, keep an eye out for an inexperienced team that had a lot to prove.
The Vikings play their next game this Tuesday (Nov. 10) at Albany College of Pharmacy at 8 p.m. where they put their undefeated record on the line against the Panthers.