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TMC Notebook: Hoops headed to postseason

Men’s, women’s basketball make conference tourney

Posted: February 27, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: February 27, 2011 1:55 a.m.

The Master's College men's team is officially playing its best basketball of the season.

The Mustangs have won four of their last five games, which includes a pair of 78-77 wins - a stunner over National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics No. 6 Azusa Pacific on Tuesday, and an overtime victory over Vanguard on Saturday - and in the process, they clinched a postseason berth.

And while the string of victories has propelled the team into the Golden State Athletic Conference Tournament, head coach Chuck Martin expects the success to have far-reaching effects.

"I think if we can add two or three pieces (in the offseason), we have a chance to be pretty dang good next year," Martin said. "That's what we are looking forward to. ... We'd like to get to a point where beating APU isn't a big deal."

The men open tournament play Thursday against Concordia.

The women's basketball team also finished up its regular season Saturday, and now has its eyes on the first round as well. Their tournament opens Wednesday.

Men's Basketball
TMC earned the chance to play NAIA No. 3 and regular-season GSAC champion, Concordia, thanks to Tuesday's edging of Azusa Pacific and Saturday's overtime win.

"I just think we have finally gotten to the point where we have confidence in ourselves and what we are trying to do offensively," Martin said. "We've kind of got an identity defensively. We know we are small, but we know we have to do some things better and give a little more effort in some areas, like rebounding."

The win over APU, combined with losses by Hope International and Vanguard, allowed the Mustangs a postseason berth due to their eighth-place finish in the GSAC standings. The top eight teams make the tournament.

Leif Karlberg had a game-high 23 points, going 5-for-10 on 3-pointers. Anthony Cammon added 14 points with a trio of game-clinching free throws, and Devin Dyer chipped in with 12 points.

Martin pointed back to his team's 73-72 win over Pt. Loma Nazarene on Feb. 12 as a turning point.

With only one senior on the team, Martin said it was key for the young players to learn how to close out games.

"The only way you get confidence is to demonstrate your ability, and demonstrate your ability when the game is on the line," he said. "The Pt. Loma game gave us a lot of confidence."

Dyer hit the game-winning 3-pointer against the Sea Lions, and has emerged as a go-to guy with the game on the line, Martin added.

Women's Basketball
TMC ended its regular season on a high note with a 71-70 win over Vanguard on Saturday to remain tied with Concordia for sixth place in the GSAC standings.

The Mustangs lost to Azusa Pacific 73-59 on Tuesday despite guard Erica Inge's 14 points and Theresa Brown's 13 points and eight rebounds.

Up next, TMC (16-12, 10-10) will play at California Baptist in the first round of the conference tournament. The Mustangs are the No. 7 seed after losing a head-to-head tiebreaker with Concordia. Cal Baptist is the No. 2 seed.

The Mustangs opened conference play Thursday with a pair of victories in a doubleheader against San Diego Christian - 7-4 and 4-2.

Pitchers Tyler Bersano and Charlie Gillies each earned a third win for the season, pushing TMC to 11-4 overall and 2-0 in the conference.

In the opening game, Bersano pitched a complete game for the second time in 2011 and only found himself pitching out of trouble in the seventh inning, when he gave up two runs after retiring eight in a row.

In the second game, Gillies pitched a gem, allowing only three hits, no earned runs and striking out six batters over six innings.

The long ball accounted for three of the Mustangs' four runs in game 2. J.T. Adams belted his fourth home run of the season, while Tanner Leighton added a two-run shot in the third.

The two teams were scheduled to meet again in San Diego on Saturday, but the doubleheader was postponed due to poor weather.

Track and Field
The Master's College men's and women's track and field team stepped on the track for their first competitions Saturday at the Rossi Relays, which was hosted by Claremont McKenna College.

"It's kind of a get-your-feet-wet meet," said TMC head coach Zach Schroeder.

While times were down, the event largely serves as a warm-up for next Saturday's Ben Brown Invitational In Fullerton, he added.

Regardless, several athletes have already begun to establish themselves as key runners, Schroeder said.

On the men's side, that athlete is Canyon graduate Anthony Pizzo, while on the women's side, Schroeder is looking at Hannah Kellerman, Holly Kopp and Hayley Parkinson to not only make an impact this season, but years to come.

"They are just really turning into the future of our women's program," he said.




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