Men’s Basketball Team Looking For Strong Finish to 2018
In what has been an exciting season of basketball here in Valhalla, the Westchester Community College Vikings march on and continue to battle for superiority. Despite upsetting recent losses to Orange Community College and Monroe Community College, the team maintains an overall 7-3 record and a fantastic win against Ulster CC as well as a number of breakout performances from a number of promising athletes. With this 7-3 record so far on the season, the WCC Vikings have managed to post a more than respectable .700 winning percentage. While they have had mixed success in their past few games, the Vikings hope that going in to the break this weekend, they will be able to rest and build on their winning record going forward with more impressive performances from their young stars.
Despite their stellar record overall this season, the Vikings lost to the Monroe CC team last saturday December 1st in a tense battle of many turnovers, 24 by Westchester to be exact. Because of this abundance of turnovers, there was a 30 to 16 discrepancy in points from turnovers, meaning that the game was even closer than it looked on the scoreboard. Despite the disappointing loss, Freshman guard Joe Zayer of West Nyack had a career best 30 point night with three assists and six rebounds to top it off. It was also a great career night for WCC sophomore Miles Haughton of Mamaroneck, who landed 26 points with five rebounds, three assists and four blocked shots.
Opening the game with four three pointers in the first five minutes of play, the Vikings actually pulled out to an early lead of 18-13, though the Monroe Tribunes would soon land another 10 points to make it 23-18 in their favor and closed out halftime with Monroe holding on to a 42-33 lead. Despite tying the game twice in the second half with the help of center Chukwudi Ekezie, guard Alhagieboe Dukuray and more brilliance from Joe Zayer, Monroe would rally to beat the Vikings with a still rather close final score of 91 to 81 where Monroe shot 46% to Westchester’s 43%..
Not to be discouraged by this difficult but respectable loss, the Vikings moved right on to their next exciting contest, this time with the Ulster Community College Senators. While the bout with Monroe was a miserable but hard fought loss, Westchester had the upper hand against the Senators, owning the Ulster team by a final score of 82 to 59. The night, and the win, belong to WCC freshman forward Robert Pope who led the Vikings to victory in an impressive and stunning night. Pope had a brilliant night, scoring eight points, and 19 rebounds, 18 of which were during the second half of the game, contributing to the pull away victory.
More impressive than all of these stats is the fact that Pope did all of this in only the third game of his young career. Pope’s epic performance against the Ulster CC Senators has earned him the well earned nickname, Pope Robert I, a nickname that will surely stick if Pope continues to impress the crowds and coaches as he has so far this season.
Help against the Senators also came again from guard Miles Haughton, who had an explosive night with a game leading 21 points complimented nicely by eight rebounds, a season high seven blocked shots three assists and two steals. Zayer triumphed again as well, with 19 points seven rebounds and six assists. Not to be overlooked, sophomore Jon Brennan also had an excellent night on the court with a personal season high 11 points as well as three assists to boot.
After this triumphant victory, the Vikings returned to the road to face the Orange Community College Colts in Middletown. Though they fought hard to win it on the road before the long break on the weekend, the Vikings were not quite a match for the Orange CC team, losing to the Colts by a close final score of 98 to 91. Despite an impressive game leading 33 point night for Miles Haughton and a substantial 22 point night from Joe Zayer, the Vikings were unable to best the Colts in the end.
The night also saw WCC’s Devan Lawson score eight points and Jon Brennan scoring six. The Colts were out front early with the score at 31-18 in the first stanza and ending the first half with a score of 57 to 39. Though there was hope in the final 20 minutes with the Vikings outscoring the Colts 52 to 41, Orange would win out in the end.
Despite having lost two of the last three games, the Vikings seem poised to build on their seven and three record and .700 winning percentage. The team has done well so far due to a number of established and talented sophomores and even some breakout freshman talent that has brought them to the next level. With such breakout performances from Freshmen like Robert Pope and Joe Zayer and great performances by sophomores like Miles Haughton and Jon Brennan, the WCC Vikings have a lot to look forward to going forward in the 2018-2019 basketball season.