As the North Coast Athletic Conference basketball season begins this weekend, Nov. 15-16, the Hiram College men’s and women’s basketball teams are looking forward to new seasons under new head coaches.
The Hiram College men’s basketball team enters the 2014-15 season with a new mindset. Under first year head coach Chris Kibler, the Terriers will look to return to the NCAC Tournament after a two-year absence.
“We are very young team with 19 of our 24 players being underclassman,” said Kibler. “We have a lot that is not known about us that can work to our benefit. Everyone is hungry to prove what they can do and we have worked extremely hard to be ready at the opening tip.”
Hiram will open the season on November 15 against La Roche (Pa.). The Terriers will follow that with two more home contests against Ottberbein on Novemeber 18 and Westminster (Pa.) on November 22.
Other non-conference games include road games at Geneva (Pa.), Penn State-Altoona and a appearance in the Bluffton Tournament.
NCAC play opens on December 3, when the Terriers host Allegheny (Pa.). Hiram will follow that up with a home game against Kenyon on December 6.
The season will draw to a close on February 21, with a road game at Wittenberg. The eight team NCAC Tournament will tip-off on February 24, with the winner earning an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament.
“We have teams on the schedule early in the season that will be similar to us and provide a good measure as to where we are,” said Kibler. “The NCAC is one of the top conferences in the country. We will need to be ready every game because we will be tested night in and night out.”
The Hiram College women’s basketball team enters the Emily Hays era looking for a fresh start. The Terriers went 5-20 overall in 2013-14 and 1-15 in the NCAC, snapping its seven season run of qualifying for the NCAC Tournament.
Hays welcomes back three starters and nine letterwinners from last seasons squad. “We are very excited heading into the season.” said Hays. “There may be some bumps with a new staff in place, but I feel we have the foundation to overcome anything that is thrown at us.”
Hiram opened the season at Mount Saint Joseph on Nov. 2, in an emotional game that got national attention, as the Terriers, along with the country, rallied for opponent Lauren Hill. The Terriers will return home for their home opener on November 16, when it host Chatham (Pa.) at 2 p.m.
Hiram will host its annual Victory Promotions Terrier Tip-Off Classic on November 21 and 22. Hiram will host Albion (Mich.) on the 21st and Calvin (Mich.) on the 22nd.
Other non-conference contests include road games at Bethany (W. Va.), Thiel (Pa.) Westminster (Pa.) and a appearance in the Otterbein Smokey Ballanger Classic.
The NCAC season begins on December 3, with a home matchup against Allegheny (Pa.) followed by another home contest against Kenyon on December 6. The Terriers first NCAC road contest will be at Wittenberg on January 2, followed by another road game at defending NCAC champion DePauw (Ind.) on January 3. Hiram closes out the season on February 18, with a home game against Denison.
“We have some games early on that will be a good measure for us,” said Hays. “We also have some tough match-ups that will be great preparation for the conference season.”