Basketball teams on the rise

Aquinas photo / Emma Black SENIOR FORWARD Meredith Mesaris makes a drop step in a game last season in the Long Center. DIII News ranked the Lady Royals 11th and Mesaris in the top 24 in the country.

Aquinas photo / Emma Black
SENIOR FORWARD Meredith Mesaris makes a drop step in a game last season in the Long Center. DIII News ranked the Lady Royals 11th and Mesaris in the top 24 in the country.

RYAN DISDIER
Staff Writer

With fall sports ending soon, the basketball season is nearly upon us at The University. Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams have a long history of success, and both teams are poised for another good year. Despite losing some players to graduation, both teams have a lot of talent and very good coaches. Last year was an outstanding year for Scranton basketball, as both teams won the Landmark Conference championship.

Last year the men’s basketball team finished 24-4 overall and 12-2 in the conference. The team would also beat Susquehanna University 71-56 for the Landmark Conference Championship. Unfortunately, the team could not replicate that success in the NCAA tournament as Hobart College upended them in the first round.

Despite losing some key players, coach of the men’s basketball team Carl Danzig believes this is a team that can once again contend.
“Replacing veteran kids is always a challenge,” Danzig said. “Losing Tommy Morgan and other players is tough. All of them brought different things to the table. If we can get the kids on the team now to adapt to those roles, we will be in pretty good shape.”

Coach Danzig also talked about the four captains and their expected leadership roles. Ross Danzig, Mike Fee, Justin Klingman and Brendan Boken have been named captains, and they will look to lead this group to late-season success.

“When your captains are experienced players, it helps with the transition. Ross, Justin and Mike Fee are three terrific senior leaders, and obviously Boken is going to do a wonderful job from a younger guy’s standpoint.”

Boken is the only non-senior captain.

The women’s basketball team will have a new coach on the court, as legendary coach Mike Strong officially retired Sept. 19. Strong ended his illustrious career that included 815 victories and the team is now in the capable hands of Deanna Klingman.

Last season saw the Lady Royals make the Division III Sweet Sixteen for the first time in five seasons. This accomplishment helped the team garner a lot of attention, as it was ranked 16th and 18th in the Top 25 polls from D3hoops.com and Women’s Basketball Coaches Association, respectively.

The women’s basketball team finished with a record of 26-4 last year, won the Landmark Conference Championship and made it all the way to the third round of the tournament before losing to Montclair State University.

Senior forward Meredith Mesaris was listed among the Top 24 selections by DIII News. Mesaris averaged 18.7 points, 5.9 rebounds, 0.8 assists and 0.7 steals in 23.7 minutes per game last season. The Lady Royals will be looking for production from underclassmen, as Mesaris, guard Lindsay Fluehr and guard Lia DiSciascio are the only seniors.

Both teams will start their season on the same day, Nov. 15. The men’s team will be hosting Centenary College, while the women’s team will travel to Misericordia University.

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