Senior hoopers prepare for ‘last dance’
With only two games left in the season, six Eagle seniors, three men and three women, are preparing to play their last games in a Chadron State College uniform.
The Eagles will play Black Hills State University, Spearfish, South Dakota, Friday, and South Dakota School of Mines, Rapid City, Saturday, for Senior Night. Tipoff for the women’s game is set for 5:30 p.m., with the men to follow, for both games.
The three seniors for the men include Myles Busby, of Niles, Michigan; Cody Martinz, of Custer, South Dakota; and Warren Gordon, of Indianapolis, who all came to Chadron as transfer students.
Busby, who tore his meniscus in the Eagles 75-71 overtime victory against the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs on Dec. 9, 2016, will be back to help coach the Eagles next season before pursuing another career.
“I’ll be back next year to help coach,” Busby said. “In the distant future, I want to be an athletic director at the high school level.
“I’ll miss being in the locker room after practices and laughing at all the funny stuff Coach Reed says the most,” Busby said. “It’ll be great to be back next year.”
Martinz joined CSC after two years of junior college. When in for the Eagles, Martinz brings energy to both the team and the crowd.
Against New Mexico Highlands University, Las Vegas, he started and scored six huge points for the Eagles in only seven minutes of play.
“Getting to start the night my family came to the game and having amazing support from my teammates will always be remembered,” Martinz said.
Martinz plans to work as a basketball skills trainer somewhere after graduation. He doesn’t care where, as long as he’s in the gym with a ball in his hands every day.
“The sound of the crowd when we score and the energy of game night will surely be something I’ll miss,” Martinz said.
Gordon, the only senior to play more than one year, opened the season strong for the Eagles, scoring a season, and career-high 30 points against Bellevue University, Nov. 15, 2016. Averaging 12.4 points as a junior and 11.2 so far this year.
Gordon has always been a reliable player for the Eagles and been there when the team needed him.
The senior women include Maddie Metzger, of Georgetown, Texas; Erin Graham, of DeLand, Florida; and Havannah Newens, of Mitchell. Each senior chose CSC for different reasons but all made an impact once they arrived, witnessing multiple players leave and a head coach step down but decided to stick with the program to help start the rebuilding process.
Metzger came to CSC as a freshman in 2013.
“I just knew I wanted to get out of Texas and see somewhere new, to get a fresh start in a different part of the country,” Metzger said. “I’ve visited Nebraska before and loved it.”
Metzger graduated with her bachelor’s degree in business administration in spring 2016 and plans to finish up her MBA at her home in Texas this summer and then start looking into becoming an officer in the Air Force.
“Basketball has been such a huge part of my life for so long, but I’m ready to close that chapter and start something new,” Metzger said. “I’m ready to get out in the real world and make new memories.”
Newens, also came in 2013 as part of a recruiting class put together by former Head Coach Tim Connealy. Newens’ journey didn’t bring her far from home.
“I had already received a full-ride scholarship for my academics,” Newens said. “So the decision to play basketball here was easy.”
Newens said her favorite moment during her four years was beating UCCS, who at the time was ranked No. 1 in the RMAC, on a buzzer-beating layup during her sophomore year.
“Senior Night means a lot to me especially being just one of two fourth-year seniors,” she said. “It’s something that I would have never expected to do when I was in high school so I’m just blessed to have had this opportunity.”
Graham arrived in fall 2015 as a transfer student from Indian River State College, Fort Pierce, Florida. One of the moments she will never forget is “beating UCCS by 20 before we went on Christmas break.”
Once her time at Chadron State is done she plans on becoming a business owner and helping the children in her hometown become better basketball players.
“Senior Night means turning off the lights to the gym, hanging up my shoes and giving my body a rest,” Graham said. “But not without going out one last time and giving my all for 40 minutes for the game that gave me a chance, a chance to meet new people, go new places, and expand my mind.”
Graham has been an important piece for the Eagles offense this year averaging just under three assists while scoring 12 points a night.