By Kaitlyn York Contributing Writer
Dearborn Gymnasium buzzed with excitement as dozens of fans piled into the bleachers to support the men’s basketball team during their home opening game against the University of Maine at Machias (UMM) Clippers. Months of preparation for the new season paid off as the Beavers pulled off their first win of the season.
Riley Robinson, a junior on the team, came ready to play with an positive attitude. “I felt confident. We expected a challenge,” said Robinson. “We knew they were a good team, but I was confident in my guys.”
Anthony Owens, also a junior on the team, entered the gymnasium with confidence. “I felt great about what we were going to do, and that’s all that we can control.”
As the team ran onto the court sporting their new uniforms, the crowd roared with enthusiasm. Just twenty seconds into the game, Robinson scored the first two points for the Beavers. For the first seven minutes of the first half the teams were scoring back and forth until the Beavers began to take over both offensively and defensively.
Head Coach, Richard Meader, said that he was very pleased with the way that the Beavers played. “We really played well defensively and got a lot of fast breaks,” said Meader. “We played the way we had hoped to play.”
Coming into the second half of the game the Beavers were up 46-27 over the Clippers. “I felt confident, but I knew there was still a lot of game left and we needed to execute,” said Robinson. Execute they did, the Beavers checked back into the game stronger than before. They continued to secure their lead as they scored repeatedly throughout the half.
The team managed to pull off their first win of the 2018-2019 season with a score of 96-64 over the Clippers giving them a 1-0 record.
Though they won the game, the team recognizes that they have some work to do during their practices leading up to their next games. “We can always become better on the defensive end, though we do play solid defense,” said Meader. “Any team can always shoot better. We need consistency with the shooting. You gotta make shots to win.”
Robinson was the leading scorer for the Beavers with 24 personal points in the game. Robinson was followed in points by Milani Hicks, a senior, who scored a total of 15 points. Overall, the Beavers made 41 out of the 76 shots they attempted during the game, creating a 53.9% average.
Meader has been coaching for UMF for 26 years and has found this years team to be exceptionally special. “They practice well, they listen in practice and try to do what you ask them to do,” said Meader. “They are a good group of guys who are excellent students and they have skills.”
As they look forward to the rest of the season, they have high hopes for their team. “We got a great group of guys and if we keep working together, the goal has to be a NAC championship,” said Owens.
The teams next home game will be Tuesday Nov. 27th at 7:30 p.m. in Dearborn Gymnasium against the Polar Bears of Bowdoin College.