Posted 3 months ago
By John Axtell
CHADRON –The Chadron State College men’s and women’s basketball teams are hosting Colorado School of Mines and Colorado Christian University this weekend, but because the winter commencement will take over the Armstrong Building on Friday, the games won’t be the usual Friday-Saturday affairs.
Instead, they’ll be Saturday and Sunday…and with afternoon starts. The Lady Eagles will open action with Colorado Mines on Saturday at 4 p-m, followed by the men at 6:00. Sunday’s games with Colorado Christian are even earlier, 2:00 and 4:00.
The three women’s teams are struggling a bit in the early season. The Eagles are 0-6 after a heart-breaking 79-77 loss last Saturday at Western State, Colorado Mines is 2-4, and Colorado Christian starts the weekend 3-3.
The three men’s teams, on the other hand, all have winning records. CSC is 4-2 after a thrilling 91-88 double-overtime victory at Western State, with Christian also 4-2, while Colorado Mines is ranked 18th in the country at a perfect 6-0 and has yet to be tested…thumping Western New Mexico 108-69 and New Mexico Highlands 111-63 last weekend.
The Eagles and Mines have faced two common non-conference opponents. Both beat South Dakota School of Mines…CSC by a 78-68 mark and the Orediggers 76-65…but while Colorado Mines blew out Nebraska-Kearney 104-69, CSC dropped an 88-60 decision in Kearney.
CSC coach Brent Bargen believes the Orediggers could be the best in the RMAC, even better than 5th-ranked Metro State, averaging 97.5 ppg and shooting 54.5% from the field.
Bargen says the Orediggers are disciplined with lots of depth and great size, with seven players averaging at least 9.6 points, led by guard Brian Miller at 15.2 a game, and having four players between 6-8 and 6-11.
They return three All-RMAC selections from last year: 1st-teamers Luke Meisch…2nd in scoring in the league at 17.8 …and Trevor Wages…who averaged a double-double at 15.8 points and 10.0 rebounds…and 2nd-team pick Brian Muller who averaged 15.4 points per game.
Mines also has 2 all-star wings from its RMAC championship team of 2 years ago who weren’t there last season. All-American Brett Green sat out the year with an injury while Trevor Ritchie, the RMAC Freshman of the Year, played at two-year College of Southern Idaho last winter.
The Colorado Christian men are high-scoring, averaging over 94 ppg while giving up 84 per night. They’ve been in triple digits 3 times…scoring 102 points in wins Oklahoma Panhandle and Johnson and Wales, but losing 102-100 to New Mexico Highlands in double overtime last Friday. They beat Western New Mexico 93-68 the next night.
Three Cougars are sharing the scoring load. Michael Brown is averaging 18.5 points, Avery Redmond 17.8 and Kyle Weaver 17.7. All three are guards, but 6-7 Tony Black is averaging 7.7 rebounds to go with 6.8 points.
Chadron State has just one player averaging in double figures, senior Zac Bargen. Last year’s RMAC scoring leader is averaging 14.0 points and 5.5 rebounds a game, but 5 of his teammate are averaging at least 8.8 points.
On the women’s side, Colorado Mines beat Western New Mexico 84-78 last weekend, but lost to Highlands 65-59 while the Lady Cougars beat Highlands 95-65 but lost lost to Western 95-67.
CSC coach Tim Connealy says the Orediggers like to slow things down and run an array of plays while Christian is fast-paced and usually presses full court.
All 3 teams have two scorers in double digits. For Mines, they’re 5-8 Courtney Gallo at 13.2 points and 5-11 Allie Grazulis at 11.7, while Christian’s duo is Jessica Murdoch, a 5-7 senior averaging 16.2 points, and Kayla Fakelman, a 5-11 junior averaging 13.0 points.
The Eagles are being led by a pair of 6-foot seniors, Kayli Rageth and Kattie Ranta, who are averaging 16.7 and 14.7 points, respectively. Ranta is also averaging 10.8 rebounds and has double-doubles in five of her six games.