Basketball teams gear up for final stretch of KCAC play with strong break performances
Bethel women go 2-0 over the holidays, men go 1-2.
Over Christmas break, both Bethel basketball teams had a handful of games to prepare for the final stretch of KCAC play in the spring semester.
The first game took place on Dec. 16 when the men’s team took on MidAmerica Christian at home. The Threshers lost, 72-69. Bethel jumped out to a 12-point lead early in the second half, but MACU found its momentum late, which carried them to the victory. Three players had double-digit scoring in the contest: Bryant Mocaby with 17 points, Harper Jonas with 14, and Nick Bonner with 10.
Both Thresher basketball teams then had two conference games to close out Christmas break. The first was against Southwestern on Jan. 4 in Winfield. The women came out on top, winning 81-45, giving them their second conference win of the season. The men lost in a close battle, 90-79.
In the women’s win, four Threshers came out with double-digit points. Jasmine Peete had 23 with 10 rebounds, Jaycee Freshour tallied 19 points and 10 rebounds, and Troi Lucas and Josie Stupey had 12 points each as well. Another key in the win was Parker Schroeder’s seven steals. For the men, Byrd carried the load for the Threshers with 33 points, three steals, and a block.
The basketball teams’ last game of the break took place in McPherson, where both teams took victories back to North Newton, the women winning, 89-71, and the men winning, 92-78.
Some key statistics in the women’s win were three Threshers having over 20 points. Lucas led the way with a career-high 26, Peete with 23, and Stupey with 21. In the men’s dominant win against the Bulldogs, Bryant Mocaby led the way with 26 points, capturing the 1,000-point mark in his career.
“Over the course of the last few games, I think we’ve done a much better job of just playing fast,” head men’s coach Jayson Artaz said. “One of our emphasis going back to just before the break when we blew out Tabor and York was just to play more relaxed offensively and play fast.”
“I think that has really helped us to play better offensively and for the most part,” Artaz added. “We’ve figured out how to play harder and more consistently. Our guys worked really hard over Christmas break and I think we still have areas that we can improve upon going into the second semester.”
The women are currently 5-10 overall (3-7 in conference) and on a two-game winning streak, while the men sit at 8-7 overall (6-4 in conference).
“Going into the second stretch of the KCAC [schedule], I think we can still be more consistent and work to finish off games against all of the good teams in the KCAC,” Artaz said. “We have to find ways to get stops when we need it and be able to score consistently when the game is slowed down for us. The good news is our guys are focused on improving in those areas and I hope that we can see that improvement soon.”
The Threshers take on Bethany at home on Wednesday with the women scheduled for 6 p.m. and the men’s game to follow.