Buccaneer Basketball Comes to a Close
If you’ve ever been to Gurnee, Illinois, you know what it’s famous for. If you haven’t, it’s famous for the amusement park Six Flags. I bring this up for the sake of comparison to the Beloit men’s basketball team. They could be compared to the ferris wheel for example. However, a more relevant comparison would be to the Skyscreamer because of the whirlwind of emotions this year.
Beloit finished up their season in Mount Vernon, Iowa, against the Cornell Rams and their number two conference standing. Beloit came into this one dropping five straight. This last stretch has ended the dream of making the tournament. To add insult to injury the Rams destroyed them on Saturday. A loss by 37 points could indicate a lack of culture, and a lack of leadership from all facets of the team.
Looking back at the season, it really was a roller coaster ride. Beloit started the year with a bang against Martin Luther, and then went 1-13 until January 20. Being a small liberall arts school you’re supposed to lose people throughout the season. Whether it be a freshman who thought they were going to play or that senior who is in pre-med and needs to focus on his studies. People quit. It happens.
However, you’re not supposed to lose your best player. That’s what happened. Michael Polakoski’23 played his last game against Marian. When he left, so did 18 points a game.
Trying to make that up in this slow-down offense is hard. Polakoski leaving may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back in terms of keeping up offensively.
On the brightside, three players really stood out who are all coming back next year. The first one was Brian Rusch’24, who was Beloit’s leading scorer for a good part of the season.
Another member coming back is Azeez Ganiyu’24 who has been impressive to say the least. Going into the last game averaging 9.8 points and 6.8 rebounds a game is impressive for the sophomore who’s first season was this year due to the pandemic.
The final piece coming back is Michael Myles’23. Myles had a handful of games where he scored in the mid teens, with one 20-point game and has the chance to be a dangerous scorer. Adrien Dantley-esque.
If all those pieces return, Beloit could have their first winning season since 2013.
Moving onto the women’s team.
Marvel movies have taken over in the last couple of years, and I’d be remiss not to point out the astounding similarities between one character and Beloit’s women’s team.
Beloit after Saturday’s loss drops their season total to 4-20. Improving by one win from their previously played season.
As that might not look like a big jump it truthfully was beyond the record itself. The foundation has been set, and the players developed over the season.
There was a certain avenger who had two bad movies back to back. The first one was eh, and the second one was alright. But then there was Ragnarok.
I myself am not a person to profess prophecy, but I dare say that next year the Beloit women’s basketball team will wreak havoc on the conference.
I was a skeptic, but then I have seen the development and maturity of this team grow throughout the season.
It all starts with first year sophomore Liz Kalk’24. Who absolutely balled out this year averaging an astounding 16.1 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game. She did this however on poor shooting stats. Shooting 35 percent from the field, and 22 percent from three. This was an aberration, as she has a great shot she just had to get used to playing at the college level. Next year she’ll be a first team all conference member. Mark my words.
It doesn’t end there with Kalk, as fellow Clinton alumni Hannah Welte’24 was incredibly impressive in the season. The short story is she is fast. Blazing. With a little bit more time developing playing at this level, she too could be an all conference player. Her numbers on the year weren’t insane but 8 points a game with 66 steals is impressive. It’s hard to stop someone who doesn’t stop, and she does not.
I could name a plethora of girls for the team next year, but what is basketball about? Getting buckets. T’Aira Boyance’23 does that. She had a couple of games with twenty points or more. Her problem this year was just getting in her head, as she has such a nice game around the basket. A couple deep breaths and she could have been averaging upwards of 14 points. Instead, she finished averaging 10.2 points a game. Look for her to take the lead next year!
On paper it looks bleak. In the gym though the team doesn’t need the Hulk to revitalize it. They’re in the gym working, and one or two more pieces and they are right in the hunt.