North Central’s men’s and women’s basketball teams prepare for postseason play
The North Central women’s basketball team has had an up and down season so far. Despite some of the best shooting percentages, rebounds, and assists in the conference, the Rams are struggling to win at home and in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC).
“Our top five or six girls can beat anyone,” said Coach Jeff Grenell. These top six have produced numbers on the top of the UMAC. Jorie Grenell, a senior youth ministry major, leads the UMAC in scoring and 3-pointers and is currently on the verge of breaking the Rams’ all-time scoring record. Senior psychology major Julia Skeesick is leading the UMAC in assists, and sophomore education major Jamie High is lead is rebounds.
“If we can continue to get our rotations and chemistry down, we can win,” said Coach Grenell. “Our bench players are going to be key players in our tourney runs. Our starters are so strong; I want our bench to know that I trust them too.”
According to Coach Grenell, the primary goal for the Rams this year is to make it to the UMAC tournament. To make the tournament, the Lady Rams will have to win all four of their remaining games (all at home) to do so. The secondary goal for the team is to win the regional National Collegiate Christian Athletic Association(NCCAA) championship. If the team passes this hurdle, they will go to nationals where they are currently ranked seventh.
The North Central men’s basketball team is going into the last part of their season after early season struggles at home and in the UMAC. Welcoming back starter senior business administration major Jordan Harrell from injury will help the team.
“Playing without Jordan Harrell is such a huge difference,” said Coach High. “He opens things up outside, because everyone on the other team really has to account for him.” Harrell is a difference indeed. The Rams are 7-4 with Harrell, and 3-6 without him.
Without Harrell, the team only has two players over 6-foot-5-inches tall, while five players are under 6-feet. “We are smaller, but we work hard and we’re smart on defense,” said Coach High. “It is not the players; we just are not playing well.”
The Rams will need to win some key conference games in February. Encouraging the fans to come support the team, Coach High said, “We need to create a home court advantage.” The last four games of the season are all home conference games.
Harrell returned February 7 in time for the four home games and the NCCAA regional tournament held at Faith Baptist from Feb. 28 to March 1. The Rams are currently on track to be the number one seed in the NCCAA tournament.