Hamlet nabs NECC honor, ‘Neers travel to league leaders on Tuesday
BENNINGTON -- After another impressive week, Southern Vermont College forward DeShawn Hamlet was named the New England Collegiate Conference Player of the Week for his performances in the team's three games last week.
Hamlet averaged 25.7 points and 11.7 rebounds per game last week, including a game-high 26 points on 10-of-20 shooting in the team's come-from-behind win over Daniel Webster College last Tuesday. Hamlet led the team in scoring in all three of the team's games last week. The Mountaineers beat Daniel Webster and Wheelock, while falling to Regis. SVC is 11-5 overall, 5-2 in the NECC heading into the week.
"Offensively, he is going to score," said SVC coach Dan Engelstad. "He has a knack for it. When he is right, and locked in, he is really good. His improvement going forward is on the defensive side of the basketball, and taking as much pride on that side of the court."
Engelstad and Hamlet won't have to wait long to test that defensive commitment, as the Mountaineers head to NECC foe Mitchell College on Tuesday. Mitchell is currently 7-0 in the league, and is in poll position to host the conference tournament at the end of the season.
The Mountaineers were dealt a setback in their race for the League crown when the team fell to Regis 71-62 on Saturday to fall to 5-2 in the league.
"We defended well in the first half, but the second was one of the worst [performances] in the whole season," Engelstad said. "We exchanged buckets with them for a while, and got a false sense of hope. We didn't do anything right defensively in terms of how we practice. I think the guys were embarrassed by Saturday's showing."
Engelstad said that practices since Saturday haven't been focused on Mitchell. Instead, the sessions have been about addressing what went wrong on Saturday.
"We focused more on us, because we weren't right against Regis," Engelstad said. "[Mitchell] is a very good basketball team. We have to hit on all cylinders, be locked in and be aggressive. If we can do that we can compete."
Mitchell (11-3, 7-0) is led by reigning NECC Player of the Year Joshua Ford, a forward who is averaging 22.7 points and 12.3 rebounds per contest heading into the game. Parris Hill is another player the Mountaineers will have to contain. A mid-season transfer, Hill has scored 22.7 points per game in the six games he has played for the Mariners.
"It will be a big-time challenge for the team," Engelstad said. "We need to have a better effort than we did on Saturday. If we can play like we are capable of, it should be a great game."
After Tuesday's road game, the Mountaineers will be off until Saturday, when the team hosts Elms College at 4 p.m.
After dropping three games last week, the Southern Vermont College women's basketball team (4-12, 2-7) will play two games this week.
The Mountaineers start with Bay Path College on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Mountaineer Athletic Center. Bay Path is led by Kayla Skiffington, who is averaging 15.7 points per game heading into Tuesday night. Across the NECC, Skiffington's numbers put her in the top five scorers.
Southern Vermont will look to counter with its own top five scorer in Amber Flagg, who is averaging 16.8 points heading into the week.
Kala MacKenzie has continued to be a presence in the paint for the Mountaineers. Last week, she averaged 7 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks across the three games.
Bay Path is right ahead of Southern Vermont in the conference standings, entering Tuesday with a 5-11, 4-5 record. While the Mountaineers only have four wins all season, three have come in the confines of the Mountaineer Athletic Center, where the team is 3-3. On the road, the Mountaineers are 1-8 on the year and 0-1 in neutral sites.
On Saturday, the team will head to Lesley College for a league contest at 2 p.m. Earlier this season, the Mountaineers topped Lesley at home, 80-62.
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