BY MAKENNA ALLEN
The two-week drought of Tiger basketball ends this weekend as the women’s team plays host to Emporia State in a twice rescheduled contest on Saturday. The men were set to take on Central Oklahoma the same day in Edmond, Oklahoma; however, COVID-19 issues have postponed that contest. Instead, the team will tip off against Missouri Western on the road at MWSU Fieldhouse.
The women’s makeup game was originally set for Nov. 21 before it was moved to Dec. 15 and then rescheduled yet again for the current date. The Tigers are coming off a traditional two-week break in the season and are looking to continue the momentum that has allowed them to achieve an undefeated season record of 5-0.
Their most recent victory took place in Hays against Rogers State, Sun. Dec. 20. The win marked the fourth straight 20-point victory for the women’s team. It also provided the opportunity for the younger members of the team to shine on the court.
Indeed, freshman guard, Katie Wagner, led the team in points scored with 13. Freshmen, Jessie Sallach and Olivia Hollenbeck, also joined Wagner in the double-digits with 10-points apiece. Senior, Jaden Hobbs, recorded 11-points of her own during the game.
The victory over the Hillcats was truly a team effort as senior, Whitney Randall, and junior Cydney Bergmann, contributed nine points each. The combined effort allowed the Tigers to maintain their lead from the first quarter. FHSU forced 15 turnovers while shooting 44.4% from the floor and 37% from behind the arc.
While the Tigers are returning to play just two weeks after the victory over Rogers State, the Tigers’ weekend opponent has not seen competition in nearly a month. In fact, the last contest in which Emporia’s women’s team played took place against Newman on Dec. 3. After just three conference games, the Lady Hornets are 2-1 for the season. Their sole loss occurred during the first week of play when the Hornets came up short against Nebraska-Kearney.
Despite the long break from official competition, the Hornets are on a two-game winning streak after soundly defeating both Northeastern State and Newman. Throughout their three games in a season altered by COVID-19, Emporia averages 70.7-points per game. The team is 41.8% from the field, 36.8% from beyond the 3-point arc, and 73.7% from the free-throw line.
As the Tiger women prepare to host the Hornets, the Tiger men’s team will hit the road for Saint Joseph, MO to face the Missouri Western Griffons. Similar to the women’s team, the Tiger men are looking to extend their winning streak.
After going 0-3 in the first three games of the season, the men have emerged victorious from their last three matchups. Most recently, the Tigers defeated Rogers State at home on Dec. 20. After the 78-71 victory, the Tigers are 3-3 in their regular conference season.
The game held even greater significance for the Tigers as it was the first win in team history against Rogers State. It also marked the largest margin of victory this season for Fort Hays.
Throughout the game, the Tigers led by as much as 15 points. Freshman Quinten Rock contributed to this lead and the team’s overall victory. He led the team with 24 points, 20 of which came in the second half. Senior, Jared Vitztum, also shone during the game with yet another double-double.
Vitztum put up 17 points and had 10 rebounds. Senior, Alvin Thompson, also recorded 17 points while sophomore, Bjarni Jonsson, had 11. Redshirt Freshman, Kaleb Hammeke led the team in assists with six during the contest.
Throughout the game, the Tigers were 43.5% from the field, 53.8% from beyond the arc, and 85.7% from the line.
The Tigers look to continue this energy as they travel to Missouri this week. They will come against a strong opponent as the Griffons are 5-1 for the season. Their most recent victory was a narrow two-point win over Missouri Southern. The prior week, the team fell by three points to Pittsburg State in their first loss this season.
Throughout competition this season, the Griffons are 45.5% from the field, 32.5% from beyond the three-point arc, and 70.9% from the line.
As the men’s Tiger team looks to secure a winning record for the first time this season and the women fight to remain undefeated, fans can support both teams by either logging on to the MIAA Network portal page or by purchasing general admission tickets for the women’s game at GMC. Both contests are set to tip-off on Saturday at 2:00 p.m.