Sinclair volleyball player named All-American

Jessica

This past season, the Sinclair Community College volleyball team amassed a 35 – 6 record overall, winning 10 of 12 in conference play. Built upon a deep reservoir of talent and experienced coaching, the 2013 team was a huge success; it was the first time Sinclair had been the number one seed in the Regional Tournament in school history, and at the end of the season the team ranked fifth in the nation in kills per set, digs per set and sixth in assists per set.

One of the principal reasons for such success was the continued dominance of two time NJCAA All-American Jessica Thobe. The sophomore led the nation in kills as a freshman, and this past season returned as the key piece in Coach KC Gan’s offense. Thobe was third in the nation in hitting percentage (.423) as well as third in kills with 590. She finished fourth in kills per set (4.61), despite many times playing in pain.

“Last season I had a few injuries that would flame up occasionally, but once you get playing you can kind of put it in the back of your mind,” Thobe said. “I never wanted to let my team down.”

Despite a loss to Muskegon Community College in postseason tournament play, the consensus stands as such: consummate teammate, leader and winner.

“Jess always gave 100 percent, whether leading us in games or mediating with coach … she played on a bad shin most of the last game and never gave up,” teammate Sara Brierly said.

Thobe’s plan for next year is still a work-in-progress. Thobe intends to finish her coursework at Sinclair this spring, and then enroll at Wheeling Jesuit as a full-scholarship athlete this summer.

“The coaching staff there is a nice fit and it allows me to stay close to home, so I am definitely grateful for the belief and support from both Wheeling and Sinclair,” she said.

Coming off two historical seasons already, the third chapter promises to be one to watch.

Women’s basketball update

The following sports editorial was written by Amy Brown, assistant to the athletic director, and submitted by Jeff Price, athletic director.

 

The Sinclair women’s basketball team (11-10, 3-1) hosted Lakeland (3-16, 0-4) on Saturday, Jan. 25. Sinclair’s pressure proved to be too much for Lakeland and they beat the Lakers 71 – 59.

Sinclair struck first as Ashley Morrow hit a shot to give Sinclair a 2 – 0 lead. Lakeland then took control, leading 6 – 4 with less than 16 minutes. O’Sha Owens gave Sinclair the jump-start they needed to regain the lead when she hit a jumper to put Sinclair up 7 – 6 and then hit a three to give Sinclair the 11 – 8 advantage with 14 minutes and 30 seconds left to play.

Sakia Prude snatched the steal, followed by the put pack rebound to tie the game 21 – 21 with less than six minutes to play. Jenae Curtiss got the layup and Sinclair regained the lead 23 – 21. Lakeland and Sinclair exchanged one-point leads back and forth for the rest of the half with 13 lead changes.

It was a very close first half, which led to a tie ball game going into halftime 30 – 30.  O’Sha Owens led Sinclair with 10 points and three rebounds in the first half.

Jenae Curtiss hit a jumper to start off the second half 32 -30. Ashley Morrow got a lay-up after a Sinclair steal and put Sinclair up 40 – 32.  Lakeland’s Emily Elkins hit a three, cutting their deficit to 42 – 35. O’Sha Owens hit a three to give Sinclair a 10 point lead over Lakeland with 11 minutes remaining.

After gaining a 10-point lead Sinclair began to pull away and capitalized on Lakeland’s 28 turnovers. Breanna Ball was fouled with seven minutes, 3 seconds to play, went 2 – 2 from the free throw line and gave Sinclair the lead 58 – 43. Sinclair scored 24 points off of Lakeland turnovers.

Sinclair proved to be too much for Lakeland and beat them for the second time this season. Sinclair shot 51.5 percent in the second half and shot 75 percent from the free throw line.

Sinclair was led by O’Sha Owens (5-4/FR – Elida H.S., Elida, OH) who tallied 21 points, brought down six rebounds and got four steals. Other leading scorers included Jenae Curtiss (5-9/FR – Thurgood Marshall H.S., Dayton, OH) who recorded 12 points.  Breanna Ball (5-6/FR – Belmont H.S., Dayton, OH) tallied 11 points, grabbed six rebounds, dished out four assists, and had three steals. Ashley Morrow (5-6/FR – Springboro H.S., Springboro, OH) added 10 points, three steals and led the team with five assists. Darnesha Wesley (5-7/FR – Meadowdale H.S., Dayton, OH) was a co-leader on the team for rebounds with seven, and also recorded six points.  Sakia Prude (5-3/FR – Thurgood Marshall H.S., Dayton, OH) had a career-high seven rebounds and eight points.

Sinclair will be on the road for the next three games and then will finish the season off at home with five home battles in a row. The next home game will be on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014 when they face Edison at 5:30 p.m.  The men’s game will follow at 7:30 p.m.  All home games are held at Sinclair Community College in the gymnasium in Building 8.

Men’s basketball update

The following sports editorial was written by Amy Brown, assistant to the athletic director, and was submitted by Jeff Price, athletic director.

 

The Sinclair men’s basketball team (18-3, 3-1) hosted Lakeland (10-9, 2-2) who handed them their first conference loss in overtime at Lakeland. Sinclair is now ranked eighth in the nation for the eighth consecutive week and coming off with road wins at Columbus State and Edison. Sinclair Head Coach Jeff Price and Lakeland Head Coach Terry Bowe joined together on Jan. 25 to raise awareness about the fight against cancer as they both sported suits and sneakers as part of the Coaches vs Cancer Suits and Sneakers weekend.

The first half was much like the game at Lakeland — close, with every basket being contested and every rebound being hard-fought. Lakeland hit first, getting an underneath bucket and taking a 2 – 0 lead.  The first half was a physical battle and Sinclair came out on top leading at halftime 32 – 30.  PJ Weaver led Sinclair with 13 points in the first half and he also grabbed five rebounds.

The second half remained close with Lakeland starting to pull away until Deiontay Walters and Ramar Hairston hit back-to-back three-pointers and trailed by three with 10 minutes to play (53 – 50).  Sinclair pulled to within one point off of a Deiontay Walters shot, 53 – 52.  As the game started to wind down, Trace Cureton hit a three and put Sinclair up by four with less than five minutes to play, and PJ Weaver followed, hitting another three and Sinclair took a 64 – 59 lead.  Trace Cureton hit another three to put Sinclair up 67 – 63 with one minute, 35 seconds remaining before Lakeland started to foul.  Lakeland was able to pull to within one point at 74 – 73 with seven seconds remaining and the ball at center court.  Lakeland missed their final attempt and Deiontay Walters collected the rebound and was immediately fouled, making both free throws to end the game.

Sinclair survived a tough battle defeating Lakeland 76 -73.  Sinclair shot 70.8 percent from the free throw line in the second half as well as shooting 71.4 percent from the three point line.

Leading scorer for Sinclair was PJ Weaver (6-5/SO – Meadowdale H.S., Dayton, OH) who put up 21 points and grabbed six rebounds.  Other top scorers included Deiontay Walters (5-10/FR – Princeton H.S., Cincinnati, OH) who tallied 12 points and had three assists. Trace Cureton (6-4/SO – Cathedral H.S., Indianapolis, IN) recorded 11 points and snatched five rebounds. Conner Myslowski (6-4/FR – West Carrollton H.S., West Carrollton, OH) led the team with nine rebounds and added five points. Ashier Poole (6-0/FR – Benedictine highschool, Cleveland, OH) led the team in assists dishing out four and adding six points.

Sinclair will be on the road for the next three games and then will finish the season off with five consecutive home contests. The next home game will be on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014 when they face Edison at 7:30 p.m. following the women’s game at 5:30 p.m. All home games are held at Sinclair Community College in the gymnasium in Building 8.

 

Women’s basketball update

sinclair-womens_team13-14

After losing four starters and a head coach from last season, the Sinclair Community College women’s basketball team had work to do and shoes to fill.

Assistant men’s Basketball Coach Marcus Stewart was promoted to women’s head coach to fill the void left by 10-year veteran Jeff Dillon, and although he has taken a different approach to coaching the team, the transition has been seamless.

“My goal going into the season was to expand the program in the community, develop my players and compete within the conference,” Stewart said.

The Lady Tartans to date have registered a 7-8 record overall, including two losses to nationally ranked teams.

Over the semester break, the team competed twice and broke even at 1-1, facing additional adversity with cancelled games and the temporary loss of sophomore guard Ashley Morrow.

“Ashley is our overall best player … even so, one of our strengths is our depth on the wings, where we have four players averaging 15 points per game,” Stewart said.

Freshman guard JeNae Curtiss leads the team in scoring and rebounding at 16.8 ppg and 7.8 rpg respectively, and Osha’ Owens the assist leader with 3.7 apg.

“If we continue to improve, I like the direction this team is headed,” Stewart said.

Marcus Stewart named women’s basketball coach

Marcus Stewart is the new Sinclair Community College women’s basketball coach.

The conversation that Stewart had with himself after he hung up the phone with the athletic director and fellow member of the men’s coaching staff, Jeff Price, was along the lines of, “Is this really happening? Heck yeah.”

Stewart is familiar with the program, because he has been the assistant coach for the previous two seasons.

Price said his confidence in Stewart stems directly from working with him in the men’s basketball program for the previous five seasons.

Stewart said that he plans on following the model set forth by the men’s program to move the women’s game forward.

“I want us to have a local flavor, bring kids in from the city league and establish a reputation as a program that works hard, plays hard and helps athletes move to the next level,” Stewart said. “We want the ‘937’ [area code] to be represented at nationals.”

According to Stewart, when you lose the fun, the game becomes work. Because of this philosophy, he uses a ‘smile and have fun’ approach to coaching.

Stewart said his kids help him keep a balance between competition and fun.

After a successful high school playing career, Stewart was recruited to play for Brown Mackie College in Salina, Kan.

As the eighth man on the depth chart as a freshman, Stewart said he spent a great deal of time sitting next to the coach. He took this opportunity to learn coaching techniques — he asked and was allowed to sit in on the coaches meetings.

After finishing his sophomore season, Stewart transferred to Missouri Baptist University. After an injury, he endured a red shirt senior season by coaching the junior varsity team. It was at this stage that he realized that coaching was in his future.

As the head coach, Stewart expects to preach hard work because that’s the kind of player he was.

According to him, he wakes early before his kids, takes a moment to look at each of them, and says, “This is what I work for each day, this is why I wake up each morning.”

Jeff Price named Sinclair’s athletic director

When Sinclair Community College went looking for a new athletic director to replace the departing Jack Giambrone, they quickly realized the right person was already on staff.

Jeff Price, who had been serving as the assistant athletic director since 2008, was appointed to bridge the gap during the interview process as the interim athletic director.

The college announced on July 2 that Price would be the school’s new athletic director.

Price said his decision to accept the job was based primarily on his age and maturity. Earlier in his career, he never envisioned himself as an administrator, but rather a head coach at a Division I, NCAA program.

Seeing those programs trending toward younger coaches such as Shaka Smart, Billy Donovan and Brad Stevens, Price began to consider other ways to remain influential in the development of scholar athletes.

“I realized that my window was closing,” Price said.

Price said his primary objectives include growing both the Athletic department and student awareness about the sports programs on campus.

“I hope to help the student body understand that athletics are more than the posted scores,” Price said. “I view the athletic events as an opportunity to enhance the student experience.”

According to Price, some changes are already happening.

“Some of those changes are already appearing as softball is being added to the roster of sports offered by the college,” Price said. “This demonstrates the school’s desire to continue to grow by looking at our conference and finding ways to balance the competitive opportunities for our students.”

Price said he hopes that Sinclair will be part of the journey, rather than the destination.

“The coaches that are currently on staff share a passion for placing students in programs after Sinclair,” he said. “It needs to be a primary concern to help our athletes matriculate into a 4-year program.”

After graduating from Marshall in 1988, Price began his coaching career at Davis & Elkins College.

He served as the assistant coach from 1990 until 1992. He stayed there until 1999, during which time he added the positions of Head Golf Coach and ultimately added Women’s Basketball Coach to his resume.

He became Sinclair’s head basketball coach in 2003. Having grown up in the Dayton area and graduated from Twin Valley North High School, this was a “coming-home” moment for him.

“The key to being successful is to keep it simple,” he said. “One of my favorite quotes that I try to live by everyday comes from a banner in Coach Calipari’s (University of Kentucky) office. It says ‘just coach your team.’”