Seeking Success: FMCC men’s and women’s basketball, bowling teams set for second half

2017-18 FMCC Winter Sports Preview

Above: Fulton-Montgomery Community College’s Dante Morgan, left,brings the ball upcourt in the Raiders’ game against Onondaga Community College on Nov. 11, 2017.  (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)

Above: Fulton-Montgomery Community College’s Dante Morgan, left,brings the ball upcourt in the Raiders’ game against Onondaga Community College on Nov. 11, 2017. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)

All of the Fulton-Montgomery Community College winter sports team will return to action this week after their winter break.

The men’s and women’s basketball teams open the second semester with Mountain Valley Conference games at Clinton Community College on Thursday. Both teams will host Hudson Valley Community College on Saturday in their first home contests of the new semester.

The men’s and women’s bowling teams will face Schenectady County Community College on Wednesday at Boulevard Bowl in Schenectady at 1 p.m. The FMCC bowlers have competed since back-to-back events on Nov. 11 and 12.

All of the FMCC winter teams have also seen roster changes since the first semester came to an end.

Men’s Basketball

Mayfield graduate Julie Hampton (1) sets up a play for Fulton-Montgomery Community College in their game against SUNY Broome at FMCC. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)

Mayfield graduate Julie Hampton (1) sets up a play for Fulton-Montgomery Community College in their game against SUNY Broome at FMCC. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)

After finishing the first semester with six straight wins, the Raiders hope to carry their momentum into the second half of the season.

FMCC lost Courtney Darnley, Shakir Garrett and Damian Prescod from its roster, but gained Chris Touissaint and Dimyrie Sutton.

Darnley started six of eight games in the first semester for the Raiders, scoring in double digits in three of those contests.

Dante Morgan led FMCC in the first semester, averaging 18.6 points per game, while Brandon Cooper scored 11.1 points and 8 rebounds per game for the Raiders. Jaleel Jean Jacques led FMCC on the glass, averaging 11 rebounds per game.

“Our team is mentally tough and finds a way to win. We won our last six games and most were decided in the last couple of minutes. We have also become a good defensive team and have been able to get stops at key points of a game,” FMCC coach Ed Collar said. “On offense, we have learned to share the ball and our scoring is very balanced. Many games, we have six to eight guys scoring between 8 and 12 points. We have a philosophy of it doesn’t matter who scores, as long as we score.”

Five of FMCC’s six wins have come by 10 points or less and the Raiders haven’t lost since dropping their second game of the season to Onondaga Community College, 83-65.

“We are focusing on the continued growth of our freshmen. Many players have made huge strides, as far as their defense, knowledge of our system, and scoring ability,” Collar said. “Our strength has been that everyone pulls for each other and for the team. Each player will do what is necessary to positively impact each game. It could be scoring, shutting down a good player on defense, or getting the bench vocal and energized if someone is not in the game. As far as things we keep trying to improve on: we would like to keep trying to cut down on turnovers and fouls.”

FMCC, which went 4-1 on the road in the first semester, averaged 69.1 points per game in its first eight contests, while allowing 75.5.

“Our goal is to continue focusing on one game at a time, keep working hard daily, continue to grow and develop as a team, and hopefully continue on the successful path we have traveled so far,” Collar said.

Women’s Basketball

Like the men’s team, FMCC has added players to its roster as it prepares to begin the second half of its scheduled.

Mckeia Weeks rejoins the Lady Raiders after suffering an injury last season, while Cheyenne Munson, a Fort Plain graduate, also was added to the roster.

FMCC went 3-5 in its first-semester contests, averaging 56.8 points per game and allowing 59 points per game.

“With a whole new group we just have to be patient and control tempo of game,” FMCC coach Kevin Jones said. “I was pleased how we competed and look forward to second half.”

The Lady Raiders lost to North Country Community College (72-62) and Finger Lakes Community College (72-54) in the final two games of the first semester.

“After a long layoff, we have to get back into shape and be ready to play,” Jones said. “We would like to keep our strong guard play from [Julie] Hampton and [Diasia] Deboue and get more scoring from our inside kids.”

Deboue averaged 20.6 points and 7.8 rebounds per game in FMCC’s first eight games, while Hampton averaged 17.5 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. No other Lady Raider averaged more than 5 points per contest.

“I think we need more balanced scoring in order to be effective down the stretch in second half,” Jones said. “We are hoping to win some games and get ourselves a region tourney spot.”

Bowling

The FMCC men’s and women’s bowling teams bowled just twice in the first semester, but posted solid results.

The men placed second in their home tournament Nov. 11 at Perry Lanes and fifth at the Royals Open in Schenectady on Nov. 12.

The FMCC women were second in their home tournament and third at the Royals Open.

Makayla Williams was seventh overall for FMCC in the Royals Open.

“I think the biggest thing I learned was that our freshman bowlers are so much better than I thought they were,. Anyone of the guys can roll a 700 and some of our females can post a 600-plus at any given time,” FMCC coach Tom Rathbun said. “Our primary focus will be picking up our easy spares at a more consistent rate. Splits are going to happen, but missing easy spares can wreak havoc with one’s average so that is a focus for all of our bowlers.”

FMCC will compete in three conference matches in the second half of its season and will be on the road for every competition.

“Our strength is that all of our remaining bowlers have a great attitude. If they should happen to fall behind early, they never quit, any coach loves that. If we have a weakness it’s that our numbers are at the bare minimum to complete, six guys and six girls. Now we just need to keep everyone healthy,” Rathbun said. “Our goal for the men’s team is to challenge for the league title. We have good enough bowlers, now they just need to focus and do the best they can. Our women’s team should be much improved compared to the first half. I think a second-place league finish would be a major accomplishment for a second-year program.”

In its second year, FMCC has better overall numbers on its roster than it had in its first season, but it has lost several bowlers since the start of this season.

“We have lost one female and three males since the beginning of the season. Some losses were due to grades and other factors that I have little control over,” Rathbun said. “Losing bowlers used to really bother me but it’s hard to measure the commitment of a student when we bring them on board. Some have a strong desire to join and fulfill their commitment to the team, others allow factors become more important and they move on. Now I just keep my fingers crossed and play the cards we are dealt.”

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