LOCAL COLLEGE SPORTS: Wesley men look to next season after late-season surge

 

Even when his team managed to win just three of its first 14 games, Dean Burrows didn’t throw in the towel.

Yes, it was clear that Christopher Newport and Salisbury were the two best men’s basketball teams in the Capital Athletic Conference.

But Burrows, the first-year Wesley College head coach, thought the Wolverines could compete with just about anybody in the league.

He still had visions of sixth-seeded Wesley making a Cinderella run through the league tournament on Monday.

“I told our guys the other day, ‘Dream about it,’” Burrows said at the time. “I dream about it every day — I envision it. … Why not dream about winning three in a row and getting in (the NCAAs)?”

It didn’t happen, of course — not that Wesley didn’t come close.

In the CAC quarterfinals on Tuesday night, the Wolverines couldn’t hold a three-point lead in the closing seconds of regulation against No. 3 Mary Washington. The Eagles eventually posted a 92-91 win in overtime.

So now the question is, did Wesley learn something from this late-season run that can carry over to next winter?

The Wolverines finished 10-16 after winning seven of their final 12 games. Of their total losses, five came by five points or less.

And Wesley loses just two seniors in Anthony Bowers and Wayne Lennon, who were two of the three top scorers on the squad. The leading scorer, J.W. Lawson (15.7 points), is only a sophomore.

“This is a life lesson in my mind,” said Burrows. “It’s not always going to be easy. … They showed a lot of character and a lot of class. It was inspiring to all of us. All the credit goes to those kids. We (the coaches) didn’t do anything different. They just came together.”

Smyrna’s Price
honored by MAC

Taylor Price, formerly of Smyrna High and now at Eastern University, was named to the All-Middle Atlantic Conference women’s basketball second team.

Price capped off a solid sophomore season scoring 347 points averaging 13.9 points per game. She also recorded 163 rebounds and 92 assists. Price scored 20 or more points four times this season including a season-high 25 against FDU-Florham on Jan. 13.

“Taylor is a very hard-working individual who comes in day in and day out to work on her game and only wants to get better,” said coach Eric Houston in a press release. “She plays both ends of the floor at a high level whether it be matching up against top players defensively or scoring on the offensive end. She is a mentally tough kid, and I am very happy for her to receive this award.”

Strong debut for Graham

Dakota Graham’s first collegiate plate appearance was certainly a memorable one.

The former Dover High All-State player and current Eastern Kentucky outfielder pinch-hit against No. 2-ranked Louisville in the seventh inning on Tuesday. Graham knocked a single up the middle for his first college hit and RBI.

Graham batted one more time in the contest, singling through the right side to finish his first game 2-for-2.

Notes

•Magnolia native Becca Shipper, a sophomore on the UNC-Charlotte softball team, has been named the Conference USA Player of the Week.

Shipper had 13 hits in 20 at-bats over six games for the 49ers, who started the season with nine straight wins. Batting leadoff, the catcher reached base in 20 out of 25 plate appearances with 10 RBI.

•Juwan Gray, a member of last season’s Polytech boys’ basketball team, has reportedly received offers from Hofstra and Miami (Oh.) according to various recruiting sites. Gray is currently at Scotland Performance Institute, a prep school in Pennsylvania.

•Seth Brosius, a former Caesar Rodney High baseball standout, has started his season going 5-for-15 (.333 batting average) with York (Pa.).

•The Delaware State baseball team got some brief air time on ESPN this week when the Hornets passed the time during a rain delay at George Washington by using bats and catchers equipment to hold a jousting match at home plate.

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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