Spartans off to slow start

The Castleton State College Spartan mens basketball began their 2007 - 2008 season by dropping two of their first three games. They opened up the season by capturing third place at the Roger Williams Tip-Off Invitational Tournament in Bristol, Rhode Island. In the opening round the Spartans squared off against Tournament hosts Roger Williams College. Roger Williams jumped all over the Spartans, building a 50 - 31 lead by the break, and they didnt let up in the second half, cruising to an easy 91 - 56 win. Geoff Baranger, Tucker Bashaw and Michael Wooley led the victors with sixteen points apiece, while their teammate Dan Gumb contributed thirteen more to the win. The Spartans were led by junior guard Josh Howe who scored twenty points and hauled down eight rebounds. Richard Reilly contributed ten more points and tied Howe for the game lead with eight boards. The consolation game against Suffolk/Clark College was another story for Castleton. Howe and Chris Young scored twenty points apiece and hauled ib six rebounds to lead the Spartans to an easy 102 - 77 win, their first of the season. Junior guard Kevin Cayea had a fantastic game himself with eighteen points and five boards. Joey Farley and Reilly also reached double digits in scoring with seventeen and ten points respectively. Alan Jaziri of Suffolk College led all scorers with twenty-two points, while his teammate Mike Fleming scored nineteen more in a losing effort. Their third game of the season occurred at Plymouth State on November 20th. Senior forward Chris Young (seventeen points, ten rebounds) and Howe (sixteen points, eleven rebounds) combined efforts yielded thirty-three points and twenty-seven rebounds, but it still wasnt enough to defeat Plymouth. In a game that saw the lead constantly change hands the Spartans held a slim 44 - 43 edge at the break. The topsy-turvey game continued until late in the second half when Ben Huntington got hot and scored ten unanswered points for the hosts. Castleton wouldnt have enough time to recover from that 10 - 0 run, and went down in defeat 81 - 74. Huntington led the victors with seventeen points, while Spartan guard Joey Farley led all scorers with nineteen points. Reilly registered double digits in scoring for the third straight game with eleven points for Castleton who fell to 1 - 2 overall on the year. Castleton doesnt begin conference play until January 11th at Becker College. Like the men the Castleton State College Spartan womens basketball team is off to 1 - 2 start, and like the men they began their season by capturing third place at a tournament. The women began their 2007 - 2008 campaign by participating in the Keene State Tip-Off Tournament. In their 55 - 37 opening round loss to Tournament hosts Keene State junior guard Mary Nienow, from Middlebury, Vermont, carried most of the offensive burden. Nienow scored more than half of the Spartans total with a nineteen point performance that included three treys. Diana Doyle led a balanced Plymouth State attack with seventeen. In the consolation game the Spartans hit six of nine three point attempts in the first half to build up a 29 - 22 lead at the break, and then held on to claim a 59 - 58 win and the third place trophy. Junior guard Jess Banks led all scorers with sixteen points, including successfully converting three of five from behind the arc. Nienow was again on fire from long range, hitting four of seven three point attempts for a twelve point game. Her two game performance of thirty-one points that included seven three pointers was good enough to get her named to the All-Tournament team. The Spartans then fell to 1 - 2 when they lost a heartbreaker at Plymouth State on November 20th 59 - 54. Plymouth jumped out to a 17 - 5 lead early, and led 34 - 21 with just four minutes to play in the half. But the Spartans went on an 11 - 0 run to close out the first half, and were back in the contest 34 - 32 at the break. Early second half action saw the lead change several times and with eleven minutes left the game was dead even at 43 - 43. But then the Spartans went cold and would score just two points over the next six minutes and found themselves trailing 52 - 45 with under five minutes left. They would battle back again, but couldnt get any closer than three points, as Plymouth State held on for the 59 - 54 win. Once again Nienow led the Spartans with a game-high fourteen points and seven rebounds, including three baskets from beyond the three-point arc, giving her ten on the three game old season. LeeAnne Ketchen added eleven points for the Spartans in the losing effort. Freshman, Amanda Kania led Plymouth State with a dozen points. The 1 - 2 Spartans will play seven more non-conference games before opening their NAC schedule at Becker College on January 11th. Whilt most high school boys basketball teams have to wait until December 10th to open their seasons, that is no true for the four teams competing in the MSJ Annual Tip-Off Classic. The first round is being played tonight (Friday - November 30th), with the Fair Haven Slaters facing Division II Finalist from last year the Montpelier Salons at 5:30. Then at 7:00 PM the tournament hosts MSJ Mounties, under their new head coach Pat Pockette, will face the defending tournament champions Otter Valley Otters. An interesting note here, the last time the Otter Valley Otters made it to Barre Pockette was their starting center. The championship and consolation games will be played Monday night, so come on out and watch. It ought to be an exciting opening to an exciting season.

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