Men’s Basketball Falls on Senior Night, 70-56

BY ALEC MENDES // Feb. 18, 2018 //

Curry College men’s basketball gets out-muscled by Eastern Nazarene College, 70-56, en route to their third consecutive 24-loss season.

The Colonels came out battling on their senior night, battling to a 36-34 lead at the half.

Sophomore guard Jared Thorpe-Johnson produced a big first half, dropping 15 of his game-high 22 points to help give the Colonels the lead.

Five minutes into the half, the Colonels extended their lead to seven but the Lions began to roar back eventually capturing the lead with 10 minutes remaining in the second half.

Despite shooting a better percentage than the Lions, the Colonels were severely out-rebounded all game but it especially hurt them on the offensive boards where Eastern Nazarene held a 12-2 advantage in the second half.

Those second-chance points and their free throws did in the Colonels.  They could only convert on seven of their 15 opportunities while the Lions reached the line 23 times and sunk 16 of them.

Senior center John Coleman ended the game with seven rebounds but he knew it was an issue for the Colonels.

“All season long we’ve struggled on the boards,” said Coleman.  “It’s hard because we don’t have the size some of the other schools have and it ended up hurting us again”.

Senior guard Barak Schwartz was disappointed with loss but happy with how his team battled all game.

“It’s been a tough season, it’s not the way we wanted to go out, we definitely wanted to get the victory for the fans in the last game,” said Schwartz.

The loss dropped the Colonels to 1-24 for the second straight year, putting the team’s record at 2-73 for the past three seasons.

 

Women’s Hoops Grab Win on Senior Night

BY JOHN CATALONI // Feb. 18, 2018 //

The Curry College women’s basketball team capped off their senior night with a 48-39 win over Eastern Nazarene in a low-scoring affair as both teams were jockeying for seeding position.

Curry took control of the game early when they received a huge lift from sophomore guard Samantha Bamford who came off the bench four minutes into the game. She had an instant impact by forcing turnovers and turning up the defensive pressure, adding four rebounds, four assists, and two steals in 29 minutes.

In addition to Bamford, junior guard Emily Irwin scored eight of her team-high 14 points in the first quarter to give the Colonels the 16-11 advantage at the end of the first.

The offense struggled in the second quarter as the team shot 4-of-14 from the field only managing 10 points but luckily their defense tightened up to hold the Lions to just four points, going up 11 at the half.

Adversity struck the Colonels late in the third when junior forward Molly Plunkett went down with an ankle injury that sidelines her for the fourth quarter, forcing reserves to step up.

Eastern Nazarene started the fourth on an 11-0 run, cutting the Colonels’ to just one.  Irwin derailed the run with a three of her own and the Lions wouldn’t score a point for the rest of the game.

For Curry it was a huge moment for both seniors Nicole Rice and Stephanie Rizzo who played their last home game for Curry on Saturday.

“It was a good way to finish my four years here,” said Rizzo who is usually a bench player but drew the start on her senior night.

Bamford, the usual starter, was happy to step into that bench role for her team on Saturday.

“There is no other way I’d want them to go out,” said Bamford. “They work really hard.”

Prior to the game the Colonels held a one game lead over both Eastern Nazarene and Gordon so it was crucial for Curry to secure the win and remain the sixth-seed in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) playoffs.

The Colonels will travel to third-seeded Endicott College on Tuesday for the first round of the tournament.  Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.

  • Curry’s defense forced 25 turnovers while scoring 15 points off them en route to their win.
  • Eastern Nazarene’s Shelby Holmes scored a game high 17 points while earning a double-double.
  • The win officially secured the CCC scoring title for Irwin who led the conference with 18.2 points-per-game.

 

Hockey Suffers Another Quarterfinal Exit

BY STEVEN SOUSA // Feb. 18, 2018 //

For the second year in a row, the fourth-seeded Colonels hosted a Commonwealth Coast Conference Quarterfinal and fell to the visiting #5 seed.

Curry limped into the matchup with the Nichols College Bison Saturday night having already split the regular season series.

The game started out favorably for the Colonels, as they jumped out to a two-goal lead after Adam Valadao and Matthew Henderson found the back of the net within a minute of each other.

But soon their lack of depth and fatigue would catch up.  With 1:40 left in the first period, Bison forward J.B. Baker capitalized on a Curry penalty to cut the lead in half.

Later in the second frame, forward Matthew Menta tied the game before forward Vincent Crivello buried Nichols’ third unanswered goal to grab a 3-2 lead going into the final stanza.

Colonels’ head coach T.J. Manastersky attributed the lapse to key players being banged up.

“You have to lean a lot on guys so they’re exhausted, they played too much, especially some of our top guys,” said Manastersky.  “They played too many minutes but they were still one bounce away from overtime, twice.”

The game started to get chippy towards the end of the second period which usually can be a sign of frustration, but Manastersky felt it was a good thing for his team.

“I actually liked what I saw on the bench because I thought since we were so short and that we were tired, we needed some adrenaline to fire us up and get us going,” explained Manastersky.

It did give Curry a little bit of the spark it needed with five minutes to play when forward Zachary White put the puck in the net to tie the game at three apiece and put the Colonels on the brink of overtime.

However, the Bison had other plans and about a minute later, Menta registered his second goal of the game to grab the lead and the win for the visitors.

“It’s a game of bounces, we didn’t get one or two but that doesn’t change the way we played or our effort in everything we did tonight; I’m really proud of this team,” Manastersky noted.  “Resiliency; no one quit, they stuck together, they kept working to the very end.”

Ironically for the seniors, their final season ends the same way their freshman year did, with a one-point, playoff loss to the Bison.

Manastersky feels for the seniors but at the same time, he has an eye on the future, which he considers to be very bright.

“Our seniors have done a great job in terms of leading the way and with thirteen freshmen who got to see that, learn that, and develop this year, it’s incredibly positive for them,” said Manastersky.

“You gotta build on it, but right now you’re in a period of mourning. It’s going to be tough for a couple days but then you slowly come out of it and before you know it, you’re back at it trying to build this team,” Manastersky concluded.

Emily Irwin Joins the Rafters as Ninth Woman to Score 1,000 Points

BY STEVEN SOUSA // Feb. 16, 2018 //

Since coming on campus as a freshman, Emily Irwin has been re-writing the Curry College Women’s Basketball record book and has since etched her name in one more spot.

On Jan. 20, 2018, the Billerica native achieved something that only a few other student-athletes have been able to accomplish at Curry, score 1,000 points as a junior.

Almost as impressive as achieving this feat as a junior, this is also the second time Irwin has scored 1,000 points in her illustrious amateur career, surpassing the millennium mark over her four years at Shawsheen Technical High School from 2011-2015.

At this point, it’s hard to believe but Irwin was once deemed just not good enough.

She was cut from her travel team in fifth grade and then was only good enough to make the ‘B’ team in following two years.  It wasn’t until eighth grade when Irwin finally broke through with the best.

How did she fight from being cut to being one of the best in a matter of four years? How did she score 1,000 points in both high school and college?  The answer is the same.

“Constant practice,” Irwin stated simply. “If I ever gave it up for a year or two I wouldn’t be the same.”

In the three years that Colonels’ head coach Fran Elms has coached her, that drive has been what stuck out to him.

“There’s a motor that she has that others don’t have,” said Elms.  “She’s driven to go as hard as she can, as long as she can.”

Elms recalled the first time he saw Irwin play, back in her AAU days.  She sent him an email talking about her interest in the nursing program at Curry, but also in playing basketball. Elms figured he would give her a look but she was playing hurt at the time.

“She looks like a tough kid so maybe we’ll keep an eye on her,” Elms thought post-game.

That statement turned out to only be scratching the surface of her durability as she went on to break her nose and wrist on top of suffering horrible blood blisters on her feet. However, after three years, the only game she has missed was because of a nursing conflict, not due to injury.

What sold the coaching staff on Irwin was when assistant coach, Stacey Cotter, watched her play one of the best AAU squads in the state.  Irwin’s team was outmatched but she put on a show.

There was a particular sequence in transition where Irwin was handling the ball and made a one-handed pass from half court to the baseline that displayed her ability and vision which convinced Cotter that the Colonels needed her.

Ever since then, Irwin and the coaching staff have developed a relationship that seems to bring out the best in each other.

“I drive them nuts, they drive me nuts, but we kind of have an understanding,” Irwin noted. “And they definitely push me as well.”

From day one, Irwin has been in the backcourt for Curry and despite seeing a seven-point increase in points-per-game from her freshman to junior year, Elms said that her role on the team hasn’t changed much.

“She matured with the game, she’s learned more of when to shoot, when not to shoot, not to the best of her ability yet but she’s matured that way,” said Cotter.

Elms echoed her statement, saying that it went from him calling all the plays her freshman year to Irwin calling about 50% of the plays in her junior year.

Irwin has also grown as a leader during her tenure at Curry, achieving captain status in her third year.

“She’s not one to miss, not one to skip, not one to take a play off,” Elms said.  “She might not be as vocal but I think she leads by example and speaks up when she’s supposed to.”

The 5’6” guard has a relentlessness and a fearlessness to her.  In fact, she leads the Commonwealth Coast Conference with 9.5 free-throw attempts per game, almost four full attempts over the next closest.

“She wants to get to the rack and sometimes she doesn’t see the five people in front of her,” Elms said.

“Usually I do after I go to the bench,” responded Irwin.

In addition to her tenacity, she also has a lot of selflessness to her.  She didn’t even know she was approaching the 1,000-point milestone until Elms informed her a few days before the game, and even then she just wanted it to be over.

“I’m kind of happy it’s over in a sense because now I don’t have to worry about it or hear about it,” said Irwin.

However, for a while in that game against the Gordon Fighting Scots, the milestone was in great doubt. After the first half, Irwin recorded 0 points, missing on all seven shots taken.

Things turned around in the third frame as she finished 5-6 from the field, moving to within nine points of the benchmark. With time bleeding out in the final quarter, Irwin inched closer and closer but still hadn’t scored that 1,000 point with under a minute remaining.

She took the ball on the wing and drove to the basket to lay one in with 38 seconds showing although the Colonels still trailed 54-47. Irwin finished with a single-game record of 37 shot attempts and only needed to make 10 of them to enshrine her forever.

“Emily’s not an individual or statistic person, she’s all about the team,” Elms explained. “If its two points or 32 points, it doesn’t matter to her.  All that matters is that she wins that game.”

She now sits at number 18 overall on the all-time scoring list at Curry College and the fifth-highest woman scorer, just 333 points behind Kylie Beltz, who finished her career with 1,465.

With a year of eligibility remaining, surpassing Beltz is certainly within her reach but she’s not concerned with it in the slightest bit.  Her goal for next year is simple.

“Go to the championship and win it, win it all,” said Irwin emphatically.  “I want it.”

Before then, the Colonels end the 2017-2018 regular season tomorrow afternoon when they host Eastern Nazarene for a 1 p.m. tip-off.

Curry currently holds the #6 seed in the playoffs with a 7-10 CCC record while the Lions cling on to the final seed with a 6-11 record in the conference.

Women’s Hoops Drop Second Straight Game

BY MATT EVANS // Feb. 9, 2018 //

A poor shooting performance from the Colonels does them in on Thursday night as they fell to Western New England, 53-35.

The loss was the second straight for Curry, who remain securely in sixth place in the CCC.

From the tip, the Golden Bears led this one and didn’t relinquish the lead for the whole contest.  The Colonels could only muster five points for the entire first quarter.

Curry shot a measly 19.7% from the field on 61 shots while the Golden Bears were able to convert 39.6% of their 53 shots.   It didn’t help that Curry was out-rebounded 49-35 either.

The Golden Bears’ winning effort was led by Courtney Carlson who led the team with 18 points.

The loss didn’t come without positives for the Colonels, as they forced 20 turnovers on the night and scored a total of 16 points as a result of them.

Emily Irwin did everything she could to keep the home team in this one scoring 15 points and grabbing 7 boards but it wouldn’t be enough.

Molly Plunkett also pitched in with 13 points and 7 rebounds.

The Colonels will look to get back on track against conference leading Roger Williams University as they head to Bristol, Rhode Island on Saturday for a 1 p.m. tip-off.