Defiance College roundball teams back in action against Anderson University

By LYNN GROLL @LynnGroll_CN groll@crescent-news.com Published:

Both Defiance College roundball programs are hoping to get out of a mid-season funk when they return to the hardwood on Wednesday evening against Anderson University.

Weather permitting, the DC men (8-3, 3-1 HCAC) host Anderson (1-10, 1-3 HCAC) at 7:30 p.m. while the Lady Jackets (3-8, 0-4 HCAC) travel to Anderson (1-10, 0-4 HCAC) for a 7:30 p.m. tip between two teams looking for their first HCAC win.

With Defiance County under a level 3 snow emergency on Monday, the DC men were able to practice with some of their squad while the Lady Jackets were not able to get in the gym.

"The most important thing is that everyone is safe," said Defiance men's coach Kyle Brumett. "We're trying to do things the way we're being asked to with travel and staying off the roads. We really had to make the best out of a tough situation and I thought we did so.

"Any change to your routine like that is a concern. I think this group just needed to get back in the gym after a tough game (at Hanover) and a long trip."

Monday was spent watching film for the other DC squad.

"I guess it can be taken as a negative," said second-year DC ladies coach Jessica Morris about not being able to get her team in the gym to practice. "But I think if you let it feel like a negative that we weren't able to get in there, then that'll be the vibe of the week ... 'well we didn't get enough practice in so we're not going to be good enough.' Where as I'd like to spin it as a positive. The girls watched a lot of film today, we sent them film to watch. It was a an extra day to get some rest, so get hydrated and get a nap and get to bed early because we've kind of been going hard since we came back the 26th of December."

Losers of three of four, Brumett is hopeful his guys can find their groove again after starting the season 7-0 up until Christmas.

"Just finding what was working for us," he stated. "It's definitely a concern when you take a break like that and you were playing well. This hasn't really been something I feel like my teams have struggled with in the past. I feel like that's kind of where we're at. We're not quite able to put on finger on what was working for us. We're talking a lot about it. I like how our guys are trying to react to the adversity.

"We have to get back to playing much more physically on the defensive end, we've got to get back to rebounding with a physicallity that makes us a better rebounding team than our opponent and then guys have to play offense with more confidence," added Brumett. "Ryan's (Hicks) playing great offensively, but everybody is just deferring to him. We need some guys to see the ball go in the basket and build some confidence and then play with that confidence as we move forward."

Hicks leads the team in scoring (18.7 ppg) and rebounding (7.3 rpg) while junior forward Bernard Edwards is the only other Jacket averaging double-digits currently at 15.4 ppg.

Meanwhile, Anderson finally picked up its first victory of the season, 67-60 at Transylvania last Saturday.

"They're coming off a win at Transylvania and not many people win there," said Brumett. "I'm sure that they feel like they're having a struggling season, their record is not very good. With that being said, they're coming to our place just having won. I'm sure they're going to play with as much confidence as they have all season."

Guard Max Mollaun leads the team in scoring with 16.9 ppg while 6-7, 255-pound freshman forward Scott Schwieterman adds 11.5 ppg.

"Max is having a really good season for them," said Brumett. "He was a starter for them last year. He's a bigger guard, he's shooting it well. He'll be a tough matchup for us. Then they have some younger interior guys."

Despite losing lost six of seven, Morris knows her team's struggles are fixable.

"The biggest thing that we keep trying to tell the team are the problems we're having are controllable and fixable," said Morris. "It's not that we don't have enough talent, it's not that we don't have the things we need to be able to win, but we just haven't been able to put it together for some reason. It's fixable and controllable and that's the best part of it. I think this is a week ... with school already being closed, it's a goofy week. We need to kind of get through that part of it and be ready to go for these two games and really put our all into it."

Freshman center Kelsey Tietje is coming off a monster game in Saturday's 72-62 setback at Hanover, where she grabbed a school-record 26 rebounds. The Patrick Henry product continues to power the team with 17.8 ppg and 12.5 per outing.

Forward Hannah Harshman adds 10.7 ppg and 5.7 rpg while guard Erica King is next with 10.2 ppg. for the Lady Jackets.

The Lady Ravens are giving up 73.1 ppg while scoring just 59.2 ppg. The trio of senior forward Jenna Wittenberg (16.7 ppg, 6.9 rpg), freshman guard Shelby Shaffer (12.6 ppg) and junior center Cori Connor (10.5 ppg) pace Anderson.

"Anderson is in kind of the same boat we are, they are kind of struggling a little bit," said Morris. "The thing is, who is going to come in hungrier, who is going to come in wanting it more and doing whatever it takes to get the win? We're on the road and in this conference being at home is an advantage, especially with the home crowd we pull in. So hopefully we can be our biggest fans and we'll get some of the same support we get for all of our games. We need to be ready to go because they're going to be just as hungry for a win as we are."

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