The 2014 spring semester has kicked off and Mother Nature has made her appearance on several occasions, but it hasn’t stymied the Fighting Patriots.
With the winter break coming to an end Patriot basketball has been busy, playing 5 contests thus far in the young semester. The men’s basketball team kicked things off with an impressive 83-60 win over #23 Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee. Led by the hot hands Stephen McCray (Baltimore, Md.) with his 20 point effort, the Patriots jumped on top early and never looked back to grab their first conference win of the semester. The Patriots continued their success the following Saturday when they visited the Blue Raiders of Lindsey Wilson College. After leading 41-29 at the break, the Patriots continued to dominate on the back of a 21 point night from William Tolefree (Stone Mountain, Ga.) to defeat the Blue Raiders 77-56. However, the streak would come to an end when the Patriots made their first appearance in Lourdes Hall of the semester when the University of the Cumberland’s hit the second of two free throws with three tenths of a second remaining in the contest to win 63-62. Raymon Austin (Cleveland, Ohio) led the Patriots with a 19 point effort in the disappointing loss. It didn’t take long for the Patriots to get right back on track when the defending national champion Tigers of Georgetown came to Lourdes Hall. The Patriots dominated the majority of contest led by an impressive 22 point night from Omar Skinner (New Castle, Del.) and snagged the win in convincing fashion 103-90 and propel them to a #14 position in the national poll. Unfortunately for the Patriots, a game of streaks at Rio Grande would end their chances of a winning streak as the Patriots couldn’t overcome a late 11-1 run to fall 71-68 despite the 17 point effort from Tolefree.
For the Lady Patriots it has been an uphill battle, as they have been on the unfortunate side of close contests. The Lady Patriots tipped the semester off at #22 Cumberland University where they never could overcome a 10 point run in the second half to fall 75-62 even with an outstanding 14 point effort from Lexus Edwards (Lexington, Ky.). In their next contest the Lady Patriots would travel to Lindsey Wilson to face a much improved Blue Raider squad. After taking a 41-38 lead to the break, led by a 20 point effort from Machera Calhoun (Fort Meyers, Fla.), the Patriots never could get going in the second half as the Blue Raiders outscored the Patriots 52-32 to seal a 90-73 victory. A trip back to Lourdes Hall looked to be the remedy for the Patriots when they welcomed the University of the Cumberland’s to town. However, despite only trailing by one at the break and an excellent 26 point effort from Calhoun, the Patriots couldn’t close the deal late in the contest to fall 75-69. With the Tigers of Georgetown up next on the list, the Lady Patriots knew that they were in for an uphill battle, but it did not slow the combo of Heather Sandlin (Florence, Ky.) and Rianne Hofstraat down as they combined for 30 of the Patriots’ 63 points. However, 52% shooting from the Tigers would seal the Patriots’ fate as they fell 72-63. In their last contest the Lady Patriots would fall victim to an early Rio Grande Red Storm run that caused them to fall behind 24-12. Even with the 14 point effort from Calhoun, the Patriots never could get their offense in sync as they fell 95-71 on the road.
The Patriots bowling team followed the birds down south and found refuge in Tallahassee, Florida when they competed in the Seminole Classic, hosted by Florida State University. For the Patriots it would be a successful venture, as the Jamie Wallingford (Bardstown, Ky.) tacked down a 208.83 six game average to score a sixth place finish out of the over 90 competitors. The stellar performance by Wallingford would leave him just a mere 0.8 pins short of claiming a top five finish. For the women, it would be a memorable trip. The defending Mid-South Conference Champion Lady Patriots faced a steep task as they were paired against #3 Florida State University in the first round of the tournament. However, the big name didn’t slow down the success of the Lady Patriots as they were able to down the mighty Seminoles and advance to the next round of the event. Tiffany Webb (Louisville, Ky.) led the way for the Patriots as she rolled in a six game average of 186 to score a top 20 finish overall.
The Patriot teams will see action once more Saturday as both men’s and women’s basketball will head to Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio to battle the Bears for conference bragging rights. The bowling teams will be making the snowy trek to Chicago, Illinois to compete in the ISBPA/Kegal Midwest College Tournament in an attempt to continue their successful season on Saturday. Swimming will have the shortest trip as they head down Highway 555 to take on the Tigers of Campbellsville over the weekend.