CSC Coach Likes ‘Must Win’ Problem

Photo Courtesy: Zachary Carlson, CSC Sports Information

After downing South Dakota Mines 63-60 on Saturday night, the Chadron State men’s basketball team will strive to wrap up the regular season with more wins by stopping Metro State and Colorado Christian in the Denver area this weekend.

Now 5-5 for the season, Coach Shane Paben and his players hope a 7-5 record will be sufficient to get them into the RMAC playoffs that begin next week. It also would be the Eagles’ first winning season since 2001-02.

Thinking about first things first, it’s anticipated the Eagles will have to play extra well to get a victory at Metro State on Friday night. The Roadrunners are 8-6 overall and 8-5 in the conference after winning their last four games.

Metro was slated to play in Chadron on January 30, but the Eagles had to cancel because of COVID issues.

Four Roadrunners are averaging in double figures, led by 6-foot-6 junior Mavrick Gildyard at 14.4 points. He’s followed closely by Kobe Sanders, a 5-11 freshman, at 12.5 a game. Sanders poured in 32 points in Metro’s most recent game, a 108-71 verdict over Colorado State-Pueblo.

Another Metro force is Laolu Oke, a 6-8 sophomore who is averaging 10.8 points and 11.8 rebounds, the best in the RMAC by more than four a game.

The Colorado Christian men have won just one of their 14 games. That was by 84-79 over Fort Lewis in December. But the Cougars have some firepower. Ross Williams, a 5-10 junior is averaging 20 points, 6-4 senior Andy Stafford is averaging 17.1 and 5-11 junior D.J. McDonald is at 15 a game.

Paben was naturally pleased with the hard-earned victory over South Dakota Mines.

“It’s always fun to win,” he said. “We had a good effort and that’s what it took. We know we’ll need to win these last two games to make the playoffs, but that’s a good problem.”

Teddy Parham, Jr., sparked the win by scoring a career-high 32 points on 13 of 19 shooting from the field that included four 3-pointers and five steals. The Eagles also continued to get steady play from fellow guard Marcus Jefferson, who scored 16 points and had five assists and five rebounds.

The coach said his team will work on getting the ball inbounds after turning it over three times while trying to do that so they could run out the clock in the final minute against the Hardrockers. Thankfully, the Eagles had a five-point edge at that point and Mines cashed in on only one of the opportunities.

The CSC women haven’t played as well so far in February as they played in late January, but they should have everyone available for the trip to Denver.

Metro defeated the Eagles 83-67 in the Chicoine Center on January 30. Freshman Kendra Parra led the Roadrunners with 26 points while 6-foot senior Allie Navarette poured in 23. Navarette is averaging 22 points and has led her team in scoring in 11 of the 15 games with highs of 29, 32 and 33 points. She’s also averaging 8.7 rebounds.

The Colorado Christian women are 3-14 with wins over South Dakota Mines, Adams State and Colorado Springs. Seniors Brookelyn Hurlburt and Lourdes Gonzalez are each averaging about 12 points.