Basketball teams shoot for conference

By Brett LaBore

Michael Jordan once said, “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

The Bethany basketball teams are in the heart of the season as they continue their conference schedule. This is the time when teams get in a rhythm, find their stride, and figure out who they are as a team. This is no different when it comes to the teams here at Beth­any. Non-conference sched­ules can always be up in the air, but conference sched­ules are steady.

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Sophomore Jarred Merchant goes in for a layup against Marantha Baptist Sabercats on Nov. 18. Photo by Jacob Stratton

The men’s basketball team is 10-7 overall and 6-3 in conference after their big victory over Martin Luther College on Jan. 21. They are currently tied for second place in the confer­ence with St. Scholastica and headed in the right direction. They’ve won two in a row and want to keep that going according to junior Jeremy Becker.

“[Our] Goal is sticking together to how we play and our game plan,” said Becker. “Running people out of the gym.”

The key for them is their defense. They average 84.5 points per game on offense, but their opponents also score 79.1 points per game. The men’s team has gotten accustomed to going into shootouts with their oppo­nents. Sophomore Austin Bauer says that is the key for them.

“[We need to] play better together as a team and improve on defense,” said Bauer.

Their goal is to be number one in conference and they’re in position to do just that. They have four more home games left, including a game against the number one team in the conference Northwestern.

One reason that they’re here is because of assistant coach Nick Perrin. He’s been a great help to head men’s coach Matt Fletcher.

“Guys started to buy into the system. Things are starting to click,” said Perrin.

The women’s basket­ball team has had a nice turnaround after a rough non-conference sched­ule. They too are 6-3 in conference but are 8-9 overall. The biggest thing for them is staying consis­tent, both in games and in practice. Junior Shelby Sicheneder talked about having more urgency.

“We can be really urgent at times, while we should be like that all the time,” said Sicheneder in regards to the girl’s style of play.

They also beat Martin Luther College on Jan. 21 by a score of 65-52, putting them fourth in conference. The top five teams make it to the Conference tourna­ment at the end of the year and that is something they are in position to do. The women’s team still has yet to host Minnesota-Morris and Northwestern, both which are ahead of them in the standings.

They only went 2-6 in non-conference but have turned it around. Junior Brooke Henning explained the reason for it.

“[It is a] mix of play­ers stepping up finding rhythm, each game we’ve figured it out more and more,” said Henning.

They are looking to keep this consistency and success up as they continue their conference schedule.

The end of the season should be exciting as both teams continue to strive for a conference championship.

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