Category Archives: Basketball

Kirkland brings international experience to Wingate men’s hoops

Emarius Logan, Staff Writer

There’s a big difference between love and hate when it comes to being an athlete. The path every athlete takes isn’t the same and the reasoning for the things they do aren’t always the same either. I talked with Wingate assistant basketball coach Marcus Kirkland to get to know more about him and his journey to becoming a basketball coach.

Coach Kirkland was born in Genoa, Italy, where his dad was a professional basketball player as well as in the NBA with the Philadelphia 76ers.  Guess it’s not too hard to see where his basketball genes came from. Coach Kirkland said that, “Being around my dad as a younger child always just inspired me to want to be just like him, but better” is what pushed him to be as good as he could be in the game.

Coach Kirkland played his college ball at Hampton University in Virginia. Standing at 6-foot-4 l with a 40-inch standing vertical, his career didn’t just stop once he graduated from Hampton. Coach Kirkland had the nasty go to move where he faked the middle, drove the baseline and punched it down on the other side of the rim that made fans go crazy.

What he dreamed about doing as a little kid was finally becoming a reality when he got the opportunity to play professional basketball overseas. Coach Kirkland played 6 years of professional basketball in two different cities. His first stop was Rome where he made more of a name for himself before making that transition to Milan where they paid the big bucks.

Being an athlete people always tell you to have a back up plan because you never know what could happen on any given day. Well, that was the case with Coach Kirkland and he had his back up plan in place. After 6 years of ball, a gruesome injury to his leg cut his career short to the point where he couldn’t play basketball anymore.

He then began coaching at Reading College in Reading, PA before coming to Wingate University in 2010. It takes a lot to coach and mentor young men and that’s something Kirkland cherishes when it comes to his job. Coach Kirkland said, “I love to shape, mold and mentor, watching young men become men.”

Growing up in life you have to learn how to make tough decisions and sometimes those tough decisions could hurt the people you care about. Coaching isn’t easy and when you are teaching men to become men, you have to also treat them that way. Coach Kirkland said, “The hard conversations about life, grades, performances, the things young adults might not want to here about but they are important. Maybe the parents aren’t happy about something and you have to handle that.” Talking to Coach Kirkland really helped me and motivated me to strive and also helped me understand how to handle certain situations.

Edited by Brendan Shriver

Photo Credits to Wingate University Sports Information

Another March Madness has come and gone

Brendan Shriver, Staff Writer

That’s all she wrote, folks! After a couple weeks of incredible basketball featuring shocking upsets, thrilling finishes and several humiliating blowouts, the 2018 version of the NCAA Tournament has come to a close with the Villanova Wildcats emerging as the national champion for the second time in three years with their dominating victory over the Michigan Wolverines by a final score of 79-52 at the Alamodome in San Antonio. I’ve watched the NCAA Tournament for most of my life and I don’t think I’ve seen a tournament like this.

The most dominating storyline of the tournament was a No. 16 seed, UMBC, upsetting a No. 1 seed, Virginia, for the first time. This is something that none of us thought we would ever see in our lifetime and Lord knows when it will happen again. What made UMBC’s victory even more impressive was just how dominating they really were, as their performance made the final score look worse than it indicated.

The next thing to talk about is Loyola-Chicago’s incredible run to the Final Four. The little school from the Windy City had not made it to the Final Four since the 1960s and hadn’t even made the tournament since the 1980s. But what made them possibly America’s college basketball sweethearts for this tournament was the air time of a 98-year old chaplain for the team, Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt.

It was a sight to watch her reactions as her beloved Ramblers continued to find ways to pull it out. She was ever so faithful to her team and the Rambler’s opponents. It was something we will never forget.

Another thing to talk about is whether Villanova is a dynasty. I would not say so just yet. They are obviously a great team with experienced, well-coached players that just dominated a tournament in an era of one-and-dones, when they were supposed to get to the title game.

If they repeat next year, which would make it three titles in four years, then yes they would probably be a dynasty. I would agree with the fact that their coach, Jay Wright, is outstanding. He is on the way to becoming one of the best coaches ever and if he can capture a third national title, he would hit legendary status, joining such people on the Mount Rushmore of college basketball head coaches like Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, UK’s Adolph Rupp, UNC’s Roy Williams, UCLA’s John Wooden, to name a few.

It was a tournament of regional instability. For the first time ever, none of the top four seeds in a single region (South) reached the Sweet 16, with bluebloods such as Kentucky and Arizona losing. The West Region was also ravaged, with Xavier, Gonzaga suffering shockers and defending national champion North Carolina got blown out on practically their home turf in Charlotte.

Only the East and Midwest had the most stability and consistency, with Villanova romping through their region (East) to the Final Four while in the Midwest, a hot-shooting Kansas team won an overtime thriller over Duke in the Elite Eight.

In the end, it was a great tournament to watch and I’m sure next year will be just as fun. Who knows what it’ll bring us next year. The tournament is part of American life and one that the people look forward to each year.

Edited by Brendan Shriver

Wingate Basketball program growing despite tough finish

Shane Rich, Staff Writer

The Wingate Men’s Basketball team looks towards the future as their season came to a close on March 3 in a loss to No. 1 seed Lincoln Memorial by a score of 76-46 in the South Atlantic Conference Tournament semifinal game in Greenville, S.C. Despite their 15-15 record this year, the team has grown and continues to get better every year.

Head Coach Brian Good said, “This team maximized their talents and will be remembered for its great team chemistry. No matter what setback they were hit with, they continued to fight to the end of the season including only having eight available players for the conference tournament.” The team reached the semifinals in the tournament and finished fourth in the SAC.

When asked about what his favorite moment of the season was, Senior forward Devarious Christian said, “I would say my favorite moment was senior night versus Anderson and I got a dunk and once I came down, my grandmother and I were smiling at each other and my family and friends were going crazy.” Coach Good also took note of his favorite moment of the season, saying, “The favorite memory for me will be the way we gutted out our quarterfinal tournament win over Coker. With Zeriq Lolar going down early in that game, we were as shorthanded as we had been all season. Our guys just refused to lose.”

When it comes to advice for the underclassmen looking for more playing time next year, Christian also said, “The competition within the team has to get higher. Don’t hold back, use every ability you have and if you don’t have a certain ability, develop it. Be the best player you possibly can.”

The team had a 20-11 record in the previous season, with many of the teams’ old players graduating. This forced the team into a rebuilding mode this season, as they still fought to put up 15 wins regardless of their circumstances. “I am extremely proud of the 2017-18 Bulldogs.  Coming into the season having lost over 80 percent of our scoring and rebounding from the previous season we knew it would be somewhat of a rebuilding year” Coach Good said.

Edited by Brendan Shriver


Wingate dominates Newberry in Women’s Basketball SAC Tournament Quarterfinals

Rachael Robinson, Staff Writer

The Wingate University Women’s Basketball team, ranked #21, (24-4) took an early lead against the Newberry Wolves (16-12) as Danasia Witherspoon scored for the Bulldogs within the first 30 seconds of play.

The Bulldogs would never relinquish their lead, winning 65-42.

At the end of the first quarter, the Bulldogs found their way to a 17-6 lead against Newberry. By the end of the first half they had increased their lead to 30-17. The third quarter was controlled by Wingate again and their lead grew to 43-25 and In the fourth quarter, Newberry try to mount a comeback, but it was too late.

Wingate’s leading scorer on the season, Marta Miscenko, was locked down by the Wolves’ defense and held to four points during the game. Caroline Averette, Danasia WItherspoon, and Courtney Robinson were there to pick up the slack. Each was able to make it into double digits during the game as Averette lead the scoring  for Wingate with 15 points and Witherspoon lead the Bulldogs in rebounds with 13.

Head Coach Ann Hancock said the game was easy on her. She wasn’t worried about the lead possession by possession.  “I think they came out with a sense of urgency.”

Wingate came into this tournament after winning the last two SAC Championship Tournaments. Both teams were playing for a chance to play in the semifinals on Saturday.

“This is what we’ve worked for all season, to advance and go for the championship.” said Hancock.

Wingate ended the game with a total of 53 rebounds. Coach Hancock said, “It’s something we’ve been talking about.” She referred to the old saying and how her team uses it when describing their games, “O sells tickets, D wins games and Rs win championships.”

The next step toward the championship will be Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at Furman University against Anderson University.

When asked about what the future holds Hancock said, “Anderson will be ready for us, and we’ll be fired up for them.”

Edited by Brendan Shriver

Wingate Men’s Basketball rallies to beat Coker in overtime on Logan’s jumper

Brendan Shriver, Staff Writer

In a wild game that featured 10 ties and 15 lead changes, Wingate (15-14) won their home SAC Tournament quarterfinal game Wednesday  against the Coker Cobras (12-17), rallying from an 11-point second half deficit and winning in overtime 76-75 on a jumper with 20 seconds left by Emarius Logan.

Four Bulldogs scored in double figures, with Devarious Christian leading Wingate with 16 points and 10 rebounds and Jeremy Williams scored 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting. Neico Robinson also had 13 points and five rebounds and Logan had 11 points and four assists. Finally, Marco Haskins and Kendrick Tucker had good contributions for Wingate, with Haskins recording seven points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals and Tucker posted six points, four rebounds and three steals.

Khalil Halls lead the visitors with 27 points on 10-of-22 shooting, including five three-pointers. Donte Samuels scored 16 points and 12 rebounds, while Demarco Jackson also had 12 points for the Cobras.

For the game, Wingate shot 41.9 percent from the field while Coker shot 41 percent from the floor. But the most crucial statistics were the turnovers and rebounds. Coker out-rebounded Wingate 47-34 and the Bulldogs scored 22 points off of 18 Coker turnovers.  

In the first half, Wingate’s largest lead was six. However, Coker rallied to tie it with a minute left but a Quantra Taylor layup at the buzzer sent Wingate into the locker room up 35-33.

In the second half, Wingate took a four-point lead, but Coker went on a 12-0 run to take a 45-37 lead with 16 minutes left. The Cobras then extended their lead to 11 on a Halls three-pointer. But the rest of the game was a back-and-forth affair, with each team going on multiple runs.

Wingate then cut it to six, only to have Coker extend it back to nine. However, Wingate went on a 7-0 run to get within two at 55-53 with nine minutes left. Coker then countered with a 10-2 run to take a 65-57 lead with six minutes left but Wingate quickly rallied to tie the game.

In the last minute, Christian gave the Bulldogs the lead on two free throws but a Halls tip-in in the dying seconds sent it to overtime at 69.

The extra period was marked by answer after answer, eventually with Logan hitting the game-winner and after two turnovers in the last 15 seconds, a Halls missed jumper and defensive rebound by Taylor gave Wingate the victory.

Wingate Head Coach Brian Good said, “Our bench was so important tonight, with us being short-handed.” “I thought it was a gritty, tough-nosed win. Really proud of the winning plays that our guys made with the game on the line late in regulation and in overtime.”

Wingate moves on to the SAC Tournament semifinals and will face #1 Lincoln Memorial (28-1) on Saturday in Greenville, S.C. while Coker ends its season at 12-17 overall. LMU swept the regular-season series against Wingate, going 20-0 in SAC play.

Edited by Brendan Shriver

Miscenko stands out as WU women’s hoops heads for postseason

Ryan J. MacKintosh, Staff Writer

For some Bulldogs the future ending of the season means a break is near, giving time to recover for the next season, but for others, like senior star center Marta Miscenko of Latvia, this is the end of their collegiate career, after a life full of schooling involving basketball.

Miscenko, who was just named the South Atlantic Conference Player of the Year in women’s basketball, is having quite a season.

She is averaging 16.9 points and 7 rebounds a game. while shooting a little above 50 percent. She is also no stranger to blocked shots, recording 65 this season.

While being off the court, not much changes for Miscenko, who stays around her teammates, stating “I really enjoy spending time with my teammates off the court. When I am not with them, I enjoy just listening to music, watching movies, and nap every once in a while.”  When asked what has been her driving factor for success this season it is clear how much the sport means to her, “The biggest driving factor for me this season was the fact that as much as I would love to, I will never be able to do this again. So I want to give everything I have and have no regrets later.”  

There is no denying the success of this basketball team or Miscenko individually. “The SAC is a conference with great teams. Every time when its game day, we come prepared because we know that no matter who we play, it will always be a great team and we can’t have any slip ups, especially with tournament time approaching.”

Miscenko had to say on overlooking lower ranked opponents, “With the competitive nature and skill level, there is no telling how far this team could go.” Misckenko described this team as, “Unique, diverse, and a partnership.”

After being asked what her expectations for the remainder of the season were, Miscenko gave a humble answer while remaining confident. “Most importantly, we have to take on one game at a time. We should just play each game like it is our last and move on forward as far as we can. For many teams the season is almost over, I believe that for us, the most interesting part just has begun.”  There is no telling where Miscenko will find herself after graduation, but one thing is for sure, if she works as hard as she does here at Wingate University, the sky’s the limit, much like with her team.

Edited by Brendan Shriver

Wingate comes back on Miscenko’s strong second half performance

JT Stokes, Staff Writer

Marta Miscenko’s 28 point effort pushes #21 Wingate (19-3, (13-2 SAC) to a 70-59 SAC victory over LMU (13-10, 9-8 SAC).

Wingate won their eighth straight game thanks to efforts from Wingate University senior center Marta Miscenko, who recorded her 22nd career double-double with 28 points and 10 rebounds, helping the Bulldogs in another South Atlantic Conference women’s basketball victory over Lincoln Memorial University Saturday afternoon in Cuddy Arena.

The defending South Atlantic Conference tournament champions are undefeated at home with a 12-0 record during the 2017-18 season. Bulldog juniors Caroline Averette, Danasia Witherspoon, and Courtney Robinson combined for 31 points in the win.

For Lincoln Memorial, junior guard Emily Griffith had 17 points. Freshman center Cameryn DuBose matched Miscenko’s double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Senior guard Shea Coker contributed 11 points in the loss.

Box Score Notables

LMU lead Wingate 44-43 at the end of the third quarter. Wingate outscored LMU 27-15 in the fourth quarter.

Miscenko had 13 points alone in the fourth quarter.

The Bulldogs shot 80 percent from the floor in the fourth quarter.

LMU shot 26 percent from the floor in the fourth quarter.

Wingate outrebounded LMU 41-32. Witherspoon had nine rebounds.

The game changed leads eight times.

What happened

First Quarter: LMU led Wingate 16-14 after the first quarter. Wingate went only 4-of 22 from the floor shooting a low 18.2 percent. The first quarter alone had four tie scores and four lead changes.

Second Quarter: Lincoln Memorial gained an eight point advantage in the first minutes in the second quarter, which was LMU’s biggest lead of the afternoon. Wingate outscored LMU 11-2 to end the second quarter putting the Bulldogs up 30-28 at halftime. Miscenko lead the way with 11 points in the first half.

Third Quarter: Wingate added to their halftime lead by scoring the first 6 points of the period. LMU responded immediately scoring eight unanswered points to tie the game 36-36 on a three-point field goal by junior guard Rachel Griffith. LMU outscored the Bulldogs to make the score 44-40 LMU with 1:24 to go but Wingate junior guard Taylor Helms answered with a three-point field goal on the other end to finish the scoring in the third.

Fourth Quarter: A strong fourth quarter ended the game for the Bulldogs. The Bulldogs responded went on a 10-0 run, concluded by two Witherspoon free throws with 3:18 left, which gave Wingate its largest lead of the afternoon at 61-47. LMU would not get within seven points in the final stretch and Miscenko made five-of-six field goals and three-of-four free throws in the fourth quarter to help the Bulldogs turn the tide.

“Once again, the second effort was strong. Marta came alive in the second half and gave them some problems. We did a good job of getting her the ball where she could be successful. Winning the boards and getting to the line was big. Every game is important and this one was no different. We know winning at home is crucial,” Wingate Head Coach Ann Hancock said.

“Our team really comes alive in the fourth quarter defensively. We feel like there’s a certain sense of urgency that our team has. We were able to buckle down and get a good win,” Marta Miscenko said.

Wingate will be on the road against the Lenoir-Rhyne Bears (14-11, 8-9 SAC) on Wednesday, February 14th at 6 pm.

Edited by Brendan Shriver