Fans are fickle creatures, aren't they? The real ones, like the Hilbert fans to the left (disclaimer: my 4 grandchildren are only posing as disgruntled Hilbert fans
), are always complaining about this player or that player and why the team isn't doing better. They question the plays called by the coaches, and pine for the days when their team can be feared when playing an opponent. Of course, Hilbert's closest fans are the family and friends of Hilbert players, and even though they might wonder why the team isn't wining more than they are, they are unconditional supporters.
This past weekend saw a young Hilbert team come back from winter vacation and almost pull an upset at Mount Aloysius
before losing 71 -66. With Mount Aloysius going to the charity stripe 32 times to Hilbert's 6 forces a question in this blogger's mind: WTF? Did the ref only swing one way? Did he swallow his whistle half the time? Was he texting while reffing? Seriously?
But often in defeat comes some inspiration, specifically Sarah Lorusso hitting for three treys and Jessica Jamison hitting for five three-pointers! That is a great coming out party for perimeter shooting for Hilbert. Had the refereeing been more balanced, this could have had a different outcome.
And then there was the game against almost-national power La Roche College, a strong contender again this year for their third consecutive conference championship. As a team who is rebuilding, this is one of those games you play, learn from and then get ready for Pitt-Bradford. There is always a chance things will be different on Hilbert's home court February 16th. If you believe anything's possible (trust me, in sports, played by humans, stranger things have happened!), then anything is possible
! By the way, I like the fact that Wyann Jackson, a solid three-point shooter, hit for two treys in that contest... there is always an upside.So here we sit at 3-10 overall, and 1-5 in the AMCC
... with 12 conference games (7 home games) to go. Some may scoff at this suggestion, but Hilbert is within reach of its first playoff appearance in several seasons because this team is just getting started
. Just take a look at how well Hilbert is playing on the perimeter (outside shooting is now beginning to take shape) and the players who are coming to play underneath. And then take a look at the teams who are ahead of Hilbert today in the standings... Franciscan (2-4, 3-10), D'Youville (2-4, 3-10), Mount Aloysius (3-3, 6-6), Pitt-Bradford (3-2, 5-6)... all of these teams are beatable on any given night, and now is the time to decide to beat them. None of these Hilbert women like to lose, and as they keep discovering their skillsets and gain confidence in their abilities, they could gel at the right time
Always keep in perspective that this is just a string of basketball games that we call a season. But since you're playing anyway, why not take advantage of the situation and aim high
? In a few years, you'll remember the camaraderie and overall experience, but you'll tell stories about the season you decided to take it to the next level. And, don't forget, you'll make my grandchildren smile again :)
Good luck at Pitt-Bradford!
Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.
-- Michael Jordan
I've watched lots of basketball games in my life, and it's always fun to see team leaders emerge over a season. Leaders are not only those who score the most points or start the game, some of the best have been leaders in practice and on the bench. Others are those who sit on the bench but when called to play, are ready to keep the level of play high as a back-up player. These are almost always the unsung leaders of a team, if they keep up their end of the bargain. This team -- this scrappy women's basketball team trying to make their mark -- is starting to show us who their leaders are, and who may be on the cusp.
Scoring is obviously important to any team, and Natalie Whitman (Jr., Lockport, NY; Starpoint/St. Andrews) is showing her strength. She has a great shot from 15 - 20 feet, driving to the basket and drawing the foul. At 71% from the charity stripe, she is by far the best free throw shooter on the team. She's also crashing the boards accounting for several double-doubles so far this season. If Natalie is ready to carry the team on her shoulders along with a few of her teammates, this group has a shot at some great results. Natalie will only get better as the season goes into full gear.
Bringing the ball safely to its destination is Sarah Lorusso's (So., Lakeview, NY; Frontier) specialty. A superior point guard, she is fearless moving the ball in transition and getting it to the open player, making her the assist leader on this team. Her team lead in steals is also testament to her quickness. One of the characteristics of a great point guard is the willingness to take chances; Sarah has that in her DNA. As this group gets to know each other's skills, especially when there is little time to think on a fast break, Sarah's ability to see the open player will become more and more effective.
A strong starting player is usually much more effective when she has a consistent and talented back-up, and Hilbert is fortunate to have a steady point guard off the bench in Lauren Eggleston (Fr., Clymer, NY; Clymer). Lauren always seems to be ready the moment Coach Peterson calls her into the game; for me, the sign of a great team is a strong bench, and Lauren is part of that strength..
Jessica Jamison (So., Irving, NY; Silver Creek) is often on the receiving end of Sarah's passes, and her ability to slash to the basket or take the three is a headache for her defenders. A solid ball handler as well, Jessica is strong on the boards and in transition. One of this team's strengths is its quickness, which is one reason Jessica is right behind Sarah in steals.
I have enjoyed watching Amber Grosch (Sr., Depew, NY; Depew) on and off the court. As the only senior on this team, she has great perspective as to where this program was in her freshman year and where it is today. Amber is the type of player who can turn a game around or help a player on the bench. I look for her to contribute in many ways down the stretch as this team solidifies its approach.
With Courtney Coots (Fr., Bath, NY; Haverling) appearing more on the court, the team has added more rebounding and scoring punch. Playing time is something that is earned, and she's earning it; her abilities and confidence are improving in real time. As a first year player, she can contribute significantly to creating a winning program.
As Coach Peterson settles on a strong starting five, Jenah Labuski (So., Horseheads, NY; Horseheads) is sealing the deal with solid rebounding, scoring, shot blocking and court awareness. Jenah, like several of her teammates, are just learning how to play together and take advantage of their talents. With more experience comes greater confidence; look for a breakout game soon.
Wyann Jackson (Fr., Red Oak, GA; Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy) has a great 3-point shot and I hope to see her put it up more often. I've mentioned the word 'confidence' several times in this post, and for a three point shooter it is essential. As she develops more confidence in her shot, watch her stats improve dramatically. I am looking for some big games from her during the rest of this season that will have a significant impact on the season's outcome. In D-3 basketball, the trey is huge!
I noticed Kateland Ball (So., Hammondsport, NY; Hammondsport) the first time I watched this team practice. A fierce competitor, she wins the hustle award in my book. Defensively she reacts quickly and can get open for the shot, and isn't afraid to take the three. I love watching Kateland play and I hope she knows how important she is to this team.
Tiara Thomas (So., Geneva, NY; Geneva) is a player who I see breaking out when she's ready... she has the skills and athleticism necessary to make a huge impact on this club and I look forward to seeing it happen.
A team sport is not only competitive with other teams, but it is also competitive within itself, and as such, some players play more than others (trust me, I know this all too well... I rode the bench most of the time!). That's just a fact of life. So for those who don't see much playing time, consider this. There are very few great teams out there without a solid bench that keeps improving. A long season can brings injuries, a player can foul out of a game, and sometimes a player can't play for a hundred other reasons, so a dependable bench is essential. Without a strong bench, starting players have little competition during practices. As a bench player, you should be playing your teammates like you would another team, and improving your game where you need to. Not all basketball players are created equal, so learn your role, do it well, and if you think you should be on the court more, work harder. It is really that straightforward. In the meantime, on the bench, be in the game and get ready to go in. As such, I'd like to mention three players who don't see much action yet during the games, but are just as important as the starting five. Erin Smith (Fr., Woodbourne, NY; Tri-Valley) is strong on the inside, Dashlyn Johnson (Fr., Buffalo, NY; Charter School for Applied Technologies) is really fast which should give her great potential defensively and Jenna Crans (So., Addison, NY; Addison) is not afraid to put the ball up. You should be ready when your number is called because you never know what opportunity it presents. That's true for anything in life.
The athletic talent on the team is above average, which will only help basketball skills improve. So practice becomes important for players and coaches to learn how to take advantage of both. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. This is a very good basketball team. In its first 9 games of the 2012 - 2013 season, this Hilbert team has lost 6 games by a total of 95 points. Four of those games were lost by an average of only 11.5 points. When you think about it, with 39 missed free throws (41-80) and 55 missed threes (12-67) in those 4 games, anything was possible. If this team replayed those 4 games today I think the results are different, because they are improving as a team.
I hope all the members of the Hilbert team know I respect the fact that you are going to Hilbert for an education, and you are playing because you love the game. You have made an impression on me -- a very good impression -- and would make my mother-in-law proud. :)
Good luck against Keystone College and SUNY Fredonia!
“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.” ― Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture
The Hilbert College Women's Basketball team is, in my opinion, a solid group; they are much better than their current 2-4 record, and will continue to improve as the season rolls on. But I wonder if this team knows how good they are
, and if they believe in how much better they can be
? As I ponder this remarkable group of young women, I must ask them, 'What is your philosophy on winning and losing?
'Playing any game at a superior level
-- whether on the field of business, athletics or politics -- involves the mind
much more than the body. That may seem obvious in politics and business, but not so intuitive in sports
. Exhibit A is the NBA. How is it that the best basketball players in the country could wind up on one team and win an NBA championship, and yet another set of amazing athletes on a different NBA team end up demoralized and in last place? Not every team has a Kobe Bryant
, and Kobe Bryant doesn't always win. Or take a look at Exhibit B: this season's Buffalo Bills. Why are they so bad and other NFL teams so good? Not everyone has a Tom Brady
, and yet other teams win. Is it better coaching? Better stadium? Better facilities? Better fans?Remember the NY Giants last year? They had a horrible start to their season... very similar to this year's Bills. But they tiptoed into the playoffs as a wild card team, and rolled to a Super Bowl win. Did they suddenly get better players? Was the football manufactured better? Did they wear better uniforms? Maybe the weather was nicer. Or did something change in their minds
that made them winners?Winning is not just about winning. It isn't always about getting more points than the other team. Winning is learning how to show up every time. It's about the realization that if you lose with a great effort then you've lost to a better team on that day. It's recognizing that a momentary lapse in excellence will not be acceptable to your boss in a few years and may cost you a raise or promotion. It's understanding you may
not always win the contest, but you left everything on the table in that conference room, exhausted. It's rehearsing that speech until you know it backwards and you're losing your voice. It's reviewing a document three times and then three more times to be sure it's perfect. And then it's realizing, even with all that, you may not get the contract and you may not win the election, but you can walk away and hold your head high. Although getting more points than the other team is always much more fun, losing a game knowing you gave it your all
feels better than losing because you didn't show up. And it's all determined by how you think
.When one looks over the competition in most leagues, for the most part the difference between the best team and the worst is actually not that different
, unless a team thinks so
. A man named Earl Nightingale
once said, 'You are what you think about'
and made that famous in his book and record album 'The Strangest Secret
'. He asserts what you think about
will determine an outcome. If you think you can make the shot you have a high chance of doing so; if you think you'll miss it, you most likely will. However you think, you'll be right
. Showing up is a habit and takes practice. It is the road less traveled, but will determine a winner more times than just talent.So, what is your philosophy? Will you leave it all on the floor the next time you practice? The next time you play? What should you believe in? Believe you can make 75% of your foul shots. And then believe you can make 80%. Believe in that crisp pass to the low post, and then believe in your shot at the elbow. Believe in your coaches and believe in your teammates. And always remember, believe in all those people who love and support you, because they believe in you every step of the way. Good luck against Franciscan. Believe in yourselves... and dare greatly; I believe you'll do just fine.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat." Theodore Roosevelt "Citizenship in a Republic,"
Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910
With 5 seconds on the clock Jenah Labuski (So., Horseheads, NY/Horseheads) hit the winning jumper to put Hilbert up by two points to beat Cazenovia College
in a non-conference game on Hilbert's home court. This gives Hilbert a 2-1 record for the first time in many seasons. This was a milestone win for Hilbert.
After speaking to several fans from Cazenovia, it was clear they came to Hilbert expecting an easy win; they were very disappointed
. Hilbert derailed them the entire game with 75% free throw shooting
, massive rebounding
on both ends and expert ball handling
. Hilbert showed strong ball movement in their transition game and pounded the inside with inbound passes resulting in frequent trips to the charity line.
Hilbert showed something tonight. With signs of exhaustion late in the game, they dug deep and didn't let go. Cazenovia, with their excellent outside shooting, especially from beyond the arc, kept erasing Hilbert's leads to keep it close. But Hilbert didn't fold. It was clear they felt they could win this contest, and when Cazenovia disagreed, the Hilbert women's basketball team, edition 2012-2013, came through and shut the door.
Learning to win takes time and patience, and I must give credit to the Hilbert coaches tonight for keeping their cool and offering a steady hand to the players. The bench came through with some clutch play and players are getting to know each other on the court. If this team continues to play the low inside game, giving them lots of opportunities at the free throw line, and they hit free throws like they did tonight (>70%), they will win a bunch of games. That, I am sure of
Hilbert travels to Alfred University
(1-2) on Saturday, November 24 @2PM and Keuka College
(2-1) on Monday, November 26 @6PM; their next home game is the conference opener against D'Youville College
(1-1) November 28 @6PM at Hilbert.Hilbert
(0-4) 63Show class, have pride, and display character. If you do, winning takes care of itself.
— Coach Paul "Bear" BryantHilbert's Women's 2012-2013 Basketball Schedule
They say winning isn't everything, but man, it sure puts a smile on your face. So when Hilbert beat Penn State DuBois
this past Saturday (November 17, 2012) in convincing fashion, it confirmed what some have been saying... this team can control where it wants to go this season.
Although very early in the season, I will make some very clear statements. This Hilbert team has come to play this season
, and if they continue to improve, they will see the fruits of their labor. But the developing story here is the emergence of leadership
on the court. Regardless of what won-lost record Hilbert eventually compiles, there are women on this basketball team who are learning something about themselves, something more valuable than championships. They are showing this by hustling, focusing, overcoming obstacles and yes, by leading. Coaches make the best assessment they can as to who those players could be; who they should be. But it is the player who emerges on the court. It is the player who screams 'I'm all in'. And it doesn't end there because with leadership comes responsibility. The leader shows those around her this is the way it's done
. And because people learn at different paces, emerge from within themselves at different times, they depend on their leadership to continue to show them the way
. The women on this team who are identifying themselves as leaders are not only doing it on the court during a game, they are doing it in practice and off the court too. That is a true leader. And several players are clearly showing those attributes.They know who they are
. And it doesn't have to be measured by minutes played, total points scored or the number of steals in a game. It's the teammate on the bench helping a starter stay focused.... the shooter who's missed her last six shots and puts up another until she starts to hit again... the hustler who dives for a ball to give her team another shot. And of course, performance. Hitting their shots. Making free throws and throwing good passes.
The Hilbert women's basketball team is learning to win this season. They have the players, emerging leadership, skillsets and coaching to create some wonderful memories. I look forward to watching them play again this Tuesday (November 20, 2012) at home at 6PM against Cazenovia College
. See you there!Hilbert
(1-1) 40If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.
-- John Quincy AdamsHilbert's Women's 2012-2013 Basketball Schedule
In Hilbert's first game of the season, the women's basketball team scored fewer points than their opponent, Wells College. Giving credit where it is due, the 3rd year program at Wells College
did what they had to do to hold on, since Hilbert beat them on every other front. Hilbert put up more shots, had fewer turnovers. and generally out-hustled their opponent, but this is a game of basketball, and you have to put the ball in the hoop. This Hilbert team can play ball
. They have shooters, ball handlers and hustle. They have decent form at the line, can play defense and have a deep bench. The coaching is patient and steady, and team chemistry is solid. What this blogger saw on this Thursday night season and home opener (November, 15, 2012) was a group determined to put it together this season. They have what it takes to determine their own destiny; no one but themselves will decide it for them. I believe even with a loos to Wells, Hilbert will find their way this season. This is a good basketball team.
They just don't know it yet.Wells
(0-1) 45Not only is there more to life than basketball, there’s a lot more to basketball than basketball.
— Phil JacksonHilbert's Women's 2012-2013 Basketball Schedule
The Hilbert Women's Basketball Team 12'-13'
I have had the unique opportunity of watching the Hilbert College Women's Basketball team practice several times and play in two scrimmages in the span of five weeks. It's unique because I have no vested interest in the team. I do not have a daughter playing; I don't know the coaches. I am not connected to Hilbert in any way except that my daughters attended Hilbert's summer basketball camps in the 1990s (yes, I am that
old!) and I know one of Hilbert's recent Hall of Fame inductees
Autumn Lee-Jeffries, a mighty
basketball player in her day who played at Holy Angels Academy with my daughter Noelle. So why am I telling you this? Because I want you to know I am not slanting this in any way, I tell it like it is because I have no favorites. However, I will keep it positive, because that's just the way I am.
I am a great believer in what is possible. And after watching this team play NCCC in a scrimmage a few days ago, I really liked what I saw. This team has size, speed and for the first time, I saw good shooting. And after a month of practice they're getting to know each other on the court. With 5 freshman and 6 sophomores, this is a young team with talent. And with upperclassmen Natalie Whitman (Jr.) and Amber Grosch (Sr.) as team Captains, they are led by two very capable women who have played and persevered in the face of adversity. Combine this team's talent and strong leadership and you've got kindling for a nice fire. Add the solid coaching Peterson and his staff offer and you've got a roaring blaze.
But even that's not enough... you must continue to add fuel to the fire, after all, 24 games plus playoffs is a long season. So what is the heart of this team? What will make this team the surprise of the conference this season? They have all the skills, athleticism, teamwork, leadership, coaching and support they need... so it's up to them. Because in my book, if they light the fire, this Hilbert team will go as far as they'd like to go.
The title for this post is 'No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it.
' The 2012-2013 Hilbert Women's Basketball team has all the right instruments, a strong conductor, and a talented group of musicians. I encourage the entire Hilbert community to watch their season opening performance this Thursday night (November 15, 2012) against Wells College at the Hafner Recreation Center
at 6pm.Hey, why not show up in force?Hilbert's Women's 2012-2013 Basketball Schedule
In twenty-five years, the women on this team will look back on their years at Hilbert and smile. They'll think of all the things they accomplished, including what they did on the basketball court. College is one of those stops in life that can never be repeated... it is truly a moment in time. So when these young women tie their sneakers to play college basketball this season, they'll have an opportunity to paint their future. Sound too dramatic? Maybe. But since this team is playing because they want to (remember, this is D-3, they don't have to play!), why shouldn't they leave it all on the court every single game? When they look back on this season down the road, what will they see?
As a veteran of many, many AAU games all over the northeast, and hundreds of high school and college games, I can tell you by the time a player hits D-3 college basketball many a distraction gets in the way. Players are in a new situation that is very different from high school and they often live away from home for the first time. Academics are more rigorous and social life gets interesting. But they play anyway, because they love the sport and the camaraderie. The difference between a team of sub-par under-performers and a dynamic group of people working together toward a common goal is team chemistry and focus. And I believe this team has it
. In the few practices I have been able to attend I see a team that is unselfish with no obvious prima donnas. They play and support each other as a team should. The coaches and players have a mutual respect that allows for good communication. With all this good karma, why shouldn't they leave it all on the court? And just to be clear, leaving it all on the court does not necessarily mean wins; this team may win 5 games, 8 games, 10 games... it just means being in every game with everything they've got
. That's what they'll remember!
In twenty-five years, the players who make up the 2012-2013 Hilbert College Women's Basketball team will look back and remember what they did that season, a season to remember. I encourage the Hilbert College community to come out and sit in the stands and scream.
“This is not the time to be passive. This is the time to shape, sculpt, paint, participate… the time to get sweaty, to get dirty, to fall in love, to forgive, to forget, to hug, to kiss… this is the time to experience, participate and live your life as a verb.
” -- Steve MaraboliHilbert's Women's 2012-2013 Basketball Schedule
Thanks for landing on my blog. For the next 5 months, you'll be reading about what I think is a great developing story - the Hilbert College Women's Basketball team. But to understand why I think that, let's take a look in the rearview mirror to see where this group has come from.
On February 7th, 2007, Hilbert lost to Pittsburgh - Greensburg 76-62
which began an 81 game skid. That streak ended on November 23rd, 2010 when Hilbert beat The College of New Rochelle 69-36
. Hilbert just missed breaking the D-3 women's basketball all-time infamous record of 83 games
still held by Schreiner University
with that win. But another streak, this time a winning one, started a few months earlier when Hilbert College got serious about their athletic programs and hired Susan Viscomi
to be their Director of Athletics. With Viscomi as Hilbert's new AD, she began a turnaround effort that touched many of Hilbert's teams, but also resulted in hiring Coach Rob Peterson
as the women's basketball coach. Peterson, a career coach who understands the game and people who play it, was the coach at the helm when they broke the streak in November 2010 only three games into his tenure. In his first season, Coach Peterson introduced a winning attitude to his team, and even though they clawed their way to a 1-23 season, it was the beginning of something positive at Hilbert.
Let's also take a look at what schools like Hilbert are up against when it comes to Athletics. Hilbert College is a Division-3 school, meaning, they and 449 colleges and universities
like it do not offer athletic scholarships
. So when a student plays a sport at Hilbert, they do it because they want to play, they love the game; the flip side is an athletic scholarship is not on the line if they decide to quit. That is a serious challenge for any coach, let alone one who is trying to turn a team around. So when Coach Peterson's team broke an 81 game losing streak 3 games into Peterson's first season at Hilbert, it was monumental. For some of his players, it was the first time they had tasted victory on a college court. And then in the month of January, 2012, Hilbert's team won three games. The Coach and his team came closer to finding a winning combination; winning was now becoming a habit. The tide was turning. However, Coach Peterson knew that scouting and recruiting talent was paramount to creating a winning program, and he and his staff went to work. Not only did he have experienced players returning from last season, leaders who now knew they could win and hated to lose, but now had a bumper crop of solid players coming to play basketball with his incoming class for 2012-2013. Susan Viscomi and Coach Peterson now had a chance to turn it up a notch, and I believe they will.
What does a strong athletic program mean to small colleges like Hilbert? Is it all about winning? No; but it is about creating a positive environment for students. It's about hiring coaches who teach more than a certain type of zone defense. It's about showing young men and women a way to handle both winning and losing. In our society, it's obvious learning both skills graciously is needed. And it's about teamwork and the notion that everything is possible. When a potential employer reviews a resume, they are always impressed when they see college athletics, because it means that person can take direction, they understand competition, they support their teammates and they practice their art. So when Hilbert decided to hire Viscomi and Peterson and invest heavily in athletic talent and facilities they did it to build the foundation to help their student population. That willingness to invest and take chances is what will bring benefits to all the students
at Hilbert, but especially those who participate. In my opinion, all the good things in life should be at the D-3 level... where people participate not for reward, but because they want to.
Much is made of winning and losing. Make no mistake, they are both important, but let's not kid ourselves, it's a lot more fun winning. As Vince Lombardi, Jr. once said, 'Winning isn't everything--but wanting to win is.' I think this team wants to win.
I hope you agree this team should be fun to watch, and I encourage you to support the players and coaches who are putting so much on the line for Hilbert College. If you're a student, show up
. Support your team! Join the 'Hawks Nest' cheering section in the stands. Stand up for a team of young women who are willing to go out and create a positive experience, one that will build a solid reputation for all of Hilbert Athletics. Become the sixth woman and help them turn things around.
Hey, life's short, so why not?Hilbert's Women's 2012-2013 Basketball Schedule