Two Wins, 1,000 Points, One Successful Trip

By, Lauren Raziano & Adrianne Hutto, Social Media Editor & Asst. Production Editor

The Jasper basketball teams competed in the ASun Tournament at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World in Orlando, Florida from November 19th to the 21st.

The men’s team dominated their end of the tournament. In their first game, the team won against North Alabama with a score of 55 to 51. The game was so close, with emotions so high, Coach Masiello’s passion for the game was visible to the crowd. At the end of the first half, Jaspers were down by two only to come back to win by the skin of their teeth.

At their Saturday game, the men’s team secured a much less exciting win against Liberty University, with a final score of 76-60.

Coach Masiello expressed his gratitude for the teams to be able to travel after a limited ability to do so last season.

“Anytime you get to get on planes with a group of guys for 5 or 6 days at a time it’s a lot of fun, so it was really awesome, especially coming off last year,” Masiello said.

Thanks to the trip to Florida, the team was given a lot of opportunities to bond off the court, going out to dinners and to Disney.

“It’s what life as a college athlete is about. Building and bonding,” Masiello said.

What he describes as “candid” moments with the team, Masiello saw their time as a team as a vital part of the trip.

“You bond over two things: great memories or adversity, and this happened to be a great trip because we won and had a lot of fun,” said Masiello.

The basketball teams had the support of the band, cheer team, and dance team by their side during the tournament. This helped to keep them in high spirits during their games.

“We were the most well-represented college of the four teams. Jasper nation, when we travel it’s awesome,” said Masiello.

Matthew Glassman is the captain of the Men’s basketball team, a role he takes very seriously. Ensuring that the members are doing what they are supposed to be doing and properly representing the team.

“That’s that’s like my, my main goal is just kind of like, keep everyone on onboard of the ship,” Glassman said.

The women’s basketball team celebrates their season at the Cinderella castle in Disney. CHRISTINA KATSAMOURI/COURTESY

The crows went wild when Glassman went in for the last minute of the game. It is moments like these that he finds joy in as a college athlete. “Honestly, I don’t really go into that much. I haven’t gotten that much since I’ve been here. But it’s always fun going in, no matter how much time is left, no matter what the score is,” Glassman said.

“After the game I talked to some of the people from the band, and they were saying how much they love cheering for me. It’s always nice knowing that there’s people rooting for you. It was a good moment to have.” Despite his season nearing an end, Glassman is grateful for the time he has had and plans to make the most of the games he has left.

“I don’t have that much time left, honestly and every time that I go out, whether it’s practice or a game, you try to cherish having moments,” Glassman said. “Whether it’s on or off the court, being with your teammates is nice because at a certain point we’re not going to have any more moments with your teammates, it all comes to an end sooner rather than later. I just think honestly the best part is just being with my teammates.”

The Lady Jaspers did not have as much success in Florida but still had an exciting moment as Courtney Warley scored her 1,000th point at Manhattan College.

“If you don’t know Courtney, personally, she is one of the most wonderful human beings you will ever meet,” said women’s basketball head coach Heather Vulin. “So it was just a really big moment for our program for her to get that accomplishment.”

The team lost their first game against Florida Gulf Coast University 88 to 57. Number 1 on FGCU, Kierstan Bell, dominated three-point shots and was eventually taken out when FGCU took their big lead in the 4th quarter. In their game against Stetson University, they lost 57 to 55. Courtney Warley scored a total of 20 points in the game against Stetson, two of which being her 1,000th point during the 3rd quarter.

“It was really awesome. Some of my family also came down for the tournament as well. But it was also nice that they were able to be there for that personal milestone,” Warley said.

As Warley scored, an announcement came over the microphone and the stands burst into applause. But she remained focused on the task in front of her.

“It’s kind of weird because we’re in the middle of a game so we can’t really celebrate because we have to stay focused. So it’s always like a little bit of an awkward moment. But I’m glad that it’s kind of out of the way and we can just focus on the rest of the season now,” Warley said.

Warley was then named MAAC player of the week for her success.

“It’s a nice accomplishment. We’ve been lucky in these first two games to win, although we didn’t have the result we wanted down in Florida,” Warley said. “But I think it was a big personal lesson and for the team as well, just to keep moving forward and figuring out what we have to do to start winning games in the future.”

Despite losing five seniors and gaining eight new players, meaning half the team is in their first year, the Lady Jaspers are having a great season. With five wins and three losses, their next games appear promising.

Vulin explained how incredible of an opportunity it was for the Lady Jaspers to be able to travel for the Disney tournament especially after the limited travel last season and with almost half the team never having been before.

“One of the teams is in the top 25 and was just a really incredible opportunity for us to have non-conference play,” Vulin said. “The experience, the beautiful hotel, and to play in a beautiful venue, and take part in some of the activities that Orlando has to offer was just a lot of fun and I feel that it will definitely accelerate our growth in terms of getting us ready for conference play.”

However, they were fortunate enough to be able to attend the Women’s Basketball Invitational Tournament last year and have post-season play, which school administration allowed them to travel to participate in.

“Yeah, it was an incredible experience. A number of the kids made a point to come thank us for the opportunity and basically said it’s going to be one of the best memories they’ve ever had while they got to play here at Manhattan,” Vulin said.

The men and women’s team were able to have a great tournament in Disney with the opportunity to play outside of their conferences and have time together off the court as teams. With the cheer team, band, and dance team there to support them as well, it is clear the Jasper pride is immense. The bond these two teams have shows in their strong bond and their love for the sport.

“I would definitely say my teammates and just who I’m playing with. We’re together all the time and on the court and off the court,” said Warley. “They’re just such a great group. of girls and they make everything fun, whether that’s going to a 6am practice, whether that’s celebrated by 1000 points. It’s just I love the people that I’m with doing this and that’s definitely my favorite part of all.”

The joy that basketball gives for the players and coaches is what helps propel these two teams into victory and earn the achievements that they have. It is clear that the rest of their seasons will have fans on the edge of their seats.