Beacon Sports: Sailfish basketball seeks championships

With basketball season starting in November, we decided to preview the basketball program here at Palm Beach Atlantic University. We’ve broken down each team to provide you with the best information: on whom to keep your eye, which games are shaping up to be challenging and how each team is looking to improve. 

Women

By Jennifer Rodino
News Editor

With basketball season just around the corner, the women’s team is fired up to take the court for Palm Beach Atlantic University.

The team ended with 13-18 record last season, and made it all the way to the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) National Championship game in Winona Lake, Ind., placing second overall.

They return this year full of determination and ambition to have an even better season.

Entering her third season at PBA, Coach Robin Potera-Haskins leads the team.

Overall, Haskins feels that the team has made a dramatic improvement from when she first arrived to coach at PBA. Haskins strives for all members of her team to be competitive, grow spiritually and serve as leaders.

“I have three main goals in mind this year,” Haskins said. “I want the players to continue to grow in their relationship with Jesus, to focus on academic success in the classroom, and as a team, to continue to keep growing the program in order to compete at an NCAA division level.”

Haskins was so pleased with the team placing second last year in the National Championship, she thinks they have the potential to win this year.

“Our ultimate goal is to win the National Championship, but to keep in mind there is more to life than basketball and to have a good time getting there,” Captain Mallory Allen said. “Whether or not we reach our goal my desire for this team is that everyone will have an unforgettable season.”

In addition to the eight returning players, the team has added six new. They come from other winning basketball programs around the nation.

The team captains this season include Kristine Webb, Ashley Dolberry and Allen. Jarad Russell and Jared Stresen-Reuter will assist coach Haskins and the team this season.

“This year is already so much different from last year,” Webb said. “The returners and new girls are meshing incredibly well, and God has given all of us a deep love and compassion for each other.”

Equipped with more talent than ever, the Sailfish look to have another successful season in 2009-2010 with a competitive schedule.

“We are determined to be different this year,” Webb said. “We are determined to love. We are determined to fight. With a common goal of winning and doing whatever it takes to win, we are able to respect and love the hard work each of us puts forth.”

PBA hosts 13 home games this season.

Some of the first home game opponents for the Sailfish include University of Tampa, Webber International University, Flagler College and Florida Southern University.

The Sailfish compete in the NCAA Division II South Region, and will take on many of their regional opponents, including Flagler College, University of Tampa, Florida Tech, Eckerd College and Barry University.

In addition, the Sailfish also have games scheduled with non-regional competition teams, including Ave Maria University, St. Thomas University, and West Palm Beach rival Northwood University.

Make sure to come out to the Rubin Arena on Nov. 17 to show support when the lady Fish hold their first home game and take on the University of Tampa at 7 p.m.

Men

By Kyle Beck
Contributing Writer

The Palm Beach Atlantic University men’s basketball team is looking to rebound from a 9-19 season last year with a talented group of newcomers.

Two key additions to this year’s squad are 6-foot-9-inch tall center David Gabriel from Brooklyn, N.Y., and 7-foot-2-inch tall center Mitchell Lane from Elk River, Minn. They look to provide size and toughness to the Sailfish roster.

Other notable new members are Freshmen Matt Roy, Mike Wells, Trent Stokes and Vince Lewis.

Although the team is young, Head Coach Terry Primm is optimistic about the upcoming season.

“All of our newcomers will have a positive impact as they will allow us to have the deepest, most talented team we’ve had in five years,” Primm said. “It’s arguably one of the top three best teams I’ve personally seen in 15 years.”

The two major areas of concern that the Sailfish faced last season, rebounding and scoring, will hopefully be addressed by the newcomers.

The team will look to senior leader Jonathan Lawrence, who finished last season second on the team in scoring at an average of 10.8 points per game. Junior Hunter Ross will also play a large part, after averaging 8.8 points per game last season, including 16 against the University of North Alabama.

Chris Joseph will provide senior leadership from the point guard position. He averaged 9.5 points per game and 3.6 assists per game last season. These numbers could be even better this season with a year as the starting point guard under his belt.

Once again, the schedule is tough, as it always seems to be in the Sunshine State Conference.

“The Winona and Valdosta games are top programs in the country and will be very important for our team,” Primm said.

The Sailfish will play two Division I opponents this year in Stetson University in Deland and the University of North Florida in Jacksonville.

Other key match-ups include Rollins College on Nov. 24; Barry University on Dec. 1; and of course, rivals Lynn University and Nova Southeastern University on Jan. 12 and 27.

Coach Primm is confident in the team that “the Lord has assembled,” and looks forward to having a very successful year.

Look for the Sailfish to greatly improve from last season and possibly make a post-season run, though Primm realizes that basketball victories are a minor part in life.

Primm, who encourages everyone on the team to have at least a 3.0 GPA, hopes the players will also grow in their relationship with God this season.

“My expectations are that they grow closer to the Lord and continue to build their relationship with Jesus Christ,” Primm said, “We will play like champions every day. We will live like victors every day.”

The team opens the season on Nov. 11 with a road game against Florida Memorial University in Miami.

This is followed by another away game on Nov. 18, when the Sailfish face the Eckerd College Tritons in St. Petersburg, Fla.

For more information on both programs, visit pbasailfish.com.

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