Men’s Basketball Team Looks Back on Successful Season
The Vikings basketball team has not been outscored once throughout the season. (Photo: Amanda M. Gordon)
In my short time as this paper’s newest reporter on our basketball teams, I will admit that I have only seen one season, but I have reason to doubt that all basketball seasons were as amazing as this one. Fighting on undefeated despite knowing that the finals were inevitably out of their reach this year, our team showed a warrior spirit that Chester would roar his approval of. You know, if he could talk.
On Feb. 20, the WCC Vikings had their last game of the season. It ended with a 92-83 win for Westchester, capping off the first undefeated season in the program’s history, according to gowccvikings.com, no matter what the official standings say. For those not in the know, due to having only reassembled this year after the transcript scandal three years ago, the team is considered a “freshman” or first-year program, which means they cannot go to the finals under the National Junior College Athletics Association rules. Therefore, eight of their games, all WCC wins, had to be recorded on the books as 0-2 losses.
A team of lesser fortitude would have lost the motivation to win with the knowledge that around a third of their wins would be invalidated. But Head Coach Kelly wouldn’t let his team off that easily. And his team and assistant coaches were more than up to the challenge, both on and off the court.
“[They’ve] done everything I’ve asked in the classroom,” said Coach Kelly, speaking about the Viking’s determination to overcome the stain on their academic reputation.
Throughout the season, there were a plethora of feats and records to be recounted. With a season high of 126 points, the Vikings managed to climb past the 100-point mark in seven out of their 26 wins and get within five points of the mark in another six of them. In fact, the team as a whole beat out their opponents on average by wide margins in almost every stat category except turnovers and three-pointer percentage. The latter was probably due to the fact that they had the guts to attempt more outside shots than other teams, leading to a lower ratio of successes to attempts but a higher number of points overall. Even in the areas that aren’t tracked by stats, the Vikings could mark teammates that excelled.
“Gabriel Cruz does a lot of dirty work that helps us win games,” said Raykwon Fenton.
Fenton himself was the team’s leader in three-pointers at 34 across all games. In the match against Rockland Community College I covered on Feb 1, his three-pointers were one of the highlights of the game, helping him achieve a personal record of 32 points which he then proceeded to top in a later game against Nassau Community College. When asked how he got into basketball, Fenton said that he had watched professional basketball every night as a child, first rooting for the 76ers, but now more of a Timberwolves fan.
When asked what advice he would give to students who want to try out for the next season on this distinguished team, Coach Kelly had this to say:
“It’s a process to play at a high level in college basketball. You gotta stay in shape.”