Niagara Gazette — A three-week break and single-digit temperatures weren't enough to cool off the Niagara County Community College men's and women's basketball teams.
Both teams enjoyed record starts to their seasons and showed no signs of slowing down Tuesday night against visiting Lakeland (Ohio) Community College. The women remained undefeated with a blowout win, while the men won their second straight after dropping their first game of the season on Dec. 14.
The women tipped off first, pounding Lakeland 71-23.
Jesse DeWaters (Royalton-Hartland) had 15 points, six assists and six rebounds, while Jaclyn Welch had 14 points and seven steals. Maria Faso (Niagara Falls) chipped in 10 points, six rebounds and three assists off the bench, and top forward Kristine Ripson had eight points to go with 11 rebounds and six blocks.
NCCC (16-0) started on a 20-2 run in the first six minutes and led 43-16 at half. A 20-0 run in the first 11 minutes of the second half sealed a win in which all nine players on the roster scored.
The big win was yet another milestone for the Thunderwolves, who were much more likely to find themselves on the losing end of a 48-point decision just a few seasons ago.
"We never want those days back," said coach Nate Beutel. "The girls are hungry to continue what we've started, and that's the calling of a great team, remaining hungry even when you're winning."
Now, the women are off to the best start in program history, though they're only receiving votes in the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II despite leading all teams in wins.
The next poll is released today, and Beutel said he doesn't expect that status to change.
"It's kind of like a mid-major trying to break into the (NCAA Divison I) top 25," he said. "If Duke is 10-4, it's still ranked over Niagara (University) even if Niagara is 14-0.