Basketball teams look to go deep in complete season


Michael Guido, Managing & Sports Editor

The Gannon University men’s and women’s basketball teams are back for yet another season competing in the PSAC.

The men’s team, led by third-year head coach Kelvin Jefferson, is looking to build on an abbreviated 10-4 season that saw the Knights power through a COVID-19-influenced season.

The Knight women, meanwhile, will look to replicate last year’s outstanding season, as they went an impressive 13-1 a year ago.

On the men’s side, the 2021-22 Knights will have momentum heading into the season, as the squad was recently picked fifth in the PSAC Western Division preseason poll.

Benefiting the Knights this season is the return of their top four scorers from last year.

Both starting guards, redshirt sophomore Chris Clancy and redshirt junior Braden Olsen, were the offensive leaders of the Knights last year, averaging 13.5 and 13.4 points per game, respectively.

The remainder of the Knights’ supporting cast is returning and is poised to strengthen the team’s depth.

Players such as redshirt freshman guard Ike Herster, who recorded 13 steals a season ago, and redshirt junior forward Kevin Dodds, who averaged 9.2 points per game, are just some of the key figures that will help bolster the roster.

The lineup will also feature a few transfer students who figure to see playing time.

Redshirt sophomore forward Demetrius Mims, who comes from the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, guard/forward graduate student Alonde LeGrand, who comes from Harlem, N.Y., and redshirt sophomore guard Lance-Amir Paul, who previously played at the Putnam Science Academy, will all be lineup additions in the 2021-22 season.

Gannon’s women’s team was also saddled with an abbreviated COVID-19 schedule that featured multiple cancellations and postponements, yet still finished with a stellar record that resulted in an accomplished season.

Coming into the 2021-22 season, the Knights, led by head coach Cleve Wright, who is entering his third stint of his second tour with Gannon, will start out as the top-ranked team in the PSAC West Division preseason coaches poll.

This marks the first time since the 2013-14 season that the Knights have been ranked first in the preseason poll.

Gannon will have five starters returning from last season, including three double-figure scorers.

Sophomore Sam Pirosko was the leading scorer a year ago, averaging 15.9 points per game while shooting 60% from the floor.

Both senior guard Sydney Mitchell and graduate student guard Emma Wright averaged 10.6 points per game.

Mitchell has started 76 straight games and 78 in her overall career, allowing her to improve on the court.

Junior guard Emily Poling and senior post Delaney Dogan each started in 14 games last season. Poling averaged 8.2 points per game while the 6-foot Dogan scored 7.8 points per game and provided the Knights with an inside presence.

The Knights also benefit from the return of two players who missed significant time with injuries last year in Tori Obenrader and Boston McKinney.

The 5-foot-11 Obenrader, a first-team All-PSAC West pick in 2019-20 after averaging nearly 17 points and more than eight rebounds per game, played in only five games before being sidelined with a knee injury. McKinney, a point guard, missed the first eight games due to an injury but did manage to appear in the last six games.

After a preseason-opening 89-64 loss to the University of Pittsburgh, the men’s team will play one more exhibition game against Old Dominion University before opening its regular season at home against Ashland at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 15.

The women’s team will begin its season at home against Bluefield State at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 13.


[email protected]