SVC basketball opens practice with Midnight Madness

BENNINGTON — The 2017-18 Southern Vermont College men and women's basketball teams were introduced to the school and the rest of the world at Saturday night's Midnight Madness event at the Mountaineer Athletic Center.

October 15 is the official start of practice for the Division III basketball season, and SVC hosted a bunch of events, including a fans vs staff game, a bunch of raffles and a fan half-court shot challenge.

Those events led up to midnight, which meant it was time for the teams to do a three-point shooting contest and a dunk contest before a pair of short intrasquad scrimmages to start the official practice schedule.

"It's terrific to get the student engagement and to get some of the community out," said SVC men's coach Daniel Engelstad. "We've never had this many people from the town come out and support, and that to me is a sign that people are anticipating a fun season."

The Mountaineer men were 17-10 overall after a really tough non-conference schedule, but ended up 14-2 in the New England Collegiate Conference and lost to Becker in the NECC championship.

"We have some really talented players and it's a great time for our guys to let loose and showcase some of their talents, something that we hope will be on display against Keene State [in the team's opener]," Engelstad said. "We brought in some really talented players to go along with some great returners, the job for the next couple of months is to get it to jell."

New women's coach Christen Gowan said it's exciting to have a lot of support for her team.

"The community here is more supportive then most schools that we play against," Gowan said. "It's a different environment and it makes you want to work that much harder with that support."

Gowen came in as coach in April, so she didn't have a full recruiting class this season. But she's been able to pull in some local talent including former Mount Anthony Patriots, Maddy Main and Reileigh Harvey.

"The players have bonded really quickly," said Gowen, who said her team this season is about half new and half-returning.

The men begin its season on November 15 at the Mountaineer Athletic Center against Keene State, while the women begin the 2017-18 campaign on November 15 at home against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.


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