Optimism high for LMC Red Hawk basketball

#34, Jade Mosier. Photo by Randy Willis, Harbor Photography
#23, Gavin Rasler. Photo by Randy Willis, Harbor Photography

Optimism high for LMC

Red Hawk basketball

By Tom O’Neill

            The start of the 2017-2018 basketball campaign is just days away for both the men and women’s basketball teams at Lake Michigan College.  The men are hoping to turn around an 11-19 season with six returnees and the women have their sights set on another visit to the nationals, also with six returnees.

            “We’re going to be a team that can make some noise, noted second-year coach Jeremy Schaffer. “The six returnees will be key and there are three, maybe four freshmen that will drive us.”

            The Hawks, playing with just three seniors last year, took many of the top conference teams down to the wire last year with their speed and quickness. “We’re going to be quick,” emphasized Schaffer. “We’ve got Deion Gatson (Cassopolis) back at guard and probably the quickest center in the state, Maliq Hall (Benton Harbor). James Smith’s (Chicago) length more than makes up for his speed and Gavin Rasler (Niles) has gotten more athletic.” Rasler averaged 12.6 points a game as a freshman.

            Schaffer said Bryce Saxton (Cassopolis) is likely the guy other team members will look to. Saxton, a 6-0 guard, averaged 10.1 points a game last season.

            In the rebounding area Schaffer says Hall at 6-foot 5 will be a “huge factor” as will Gatson at 5-foot 9. “You wouldn’t normally put someone under six-foot in that category, but it has to be a team effort. It’s more than size,” he explained.

            The Red Hawks start their non-conference season November 1 at 7 PM against Bethel College.

Women adjusting to new coach

            Brooklyn Kohlheim was announced as the new Red Hawk coach this past summer, but circumstances changed and she ended up at Michigan Tech as assistant coach. LMC Athletic Director Melissa Grau reopened the search in early September and hired Patrick Daniel the first week of October. Assisting him will be former Bridgman stand-out Sarah Svoboda according to Grau.

            Daniel, who has family in the area, previously coached Pitt-Bradford College and Goucher College, both NCAA Division III schools. Upon leaving Pitt-Bradford for Goucher College in 2015, Panther athletic director Lori Mazza said “Patrick has rejuvenated our women’s basketball program over the past three years. His energy and passion for the game is seen in the effort his players put forth both on the court and in the classroom.”

            “I’m excited for the season to get started“, Daniel began.  “I was hired either October 2 or 3 in the morning and we had a team meeting that afternoon. You could describe my style as fun, but intense. We have high expectations. Our goal is to win the conference and get back to the nationals.”

            The Lady Hawks will have to replace the shooting duo of Kelsee Kinder and Hailey Moss who averaged over 33 points a game last season.

            “I’m confident of 65-70 points a game. We’ve had two scrimmages and shot over 41 percent as team.” Daniels returns six off last year’s 24-7 team including 5-foot 11 Jade Mosier (Buchanan) who averaged 11.9 points and 7.8 rebounds as a freshman. “Jade played extremely well in the scrimmages,” the coach noted.

Raasheeda Harris (Flint) will be the starting point guard. “She’s very quick and has good range.” Daniel said. He expects her to be one of the team leaders. “We’re working on building her confidence.” He also pointed to freshman Emily Atsinger (New Lennox, IL) as one to watch. “She is really going to shock some people.  Atsinger has a very good 3-point shot.”

On the glass will be Brooke Becker (Ortonville) at 5-foot 10, Daniel Schaffer (South Bend) at six-foot and Mosier. Daniel stresses defense and says he wants his team to be physical. “We do things in practice that are going to happen in the game.

The Lady Hawks open against Gogebic Community College in Chicago November 3 in the KKC Tip-off Classic.

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