Both Boxer Basketball teams have high hopes for the rest of the season ahead of them.
Over the Winter break, the Pacific campus may have been empty of students, but the sound of a basketball on the hardwood still filled the Stoller Center. Boxer Basketball has been active over the last few weeks, with the start of conference play.
The Men’s Basketball team entered the thick of conference play on Friday, January 5, against the University of Puget Sound on Pacific’s home court. Before this point of conference play, the Boxer’s record sat at an even 6-6 throughout the first part of the season.
But the Boxers kicked off the new year with a win over the Loggers 77-71 to earn a first conference win. Junior Jake Blazona led the Boxers in the scoring column with 17 points. In their next two games, though, the Boxers lost one, won one.
“At this point in the season, we are very hopeful,” shared junior forward Devin Fortune. “We all know we have the capability of being a very good team, but we’re still very hungry to keep getting better day in and day out to really put ourselves in the position we want to be in come February and March.”
With plenty of season left, the Boxers look forward to building on these past performances. Fortune explained, “We want to continue to get one percent better every day. There will be ups and downs throughout the season, but as long as we focus on things in our circle of control, things will go the way they’re meant to. We have an opportunity to do something that hasn’t been done in a while, but we must continue focusing on bettering ourselves.”
Fortune sits at sixth in the conference, scoring 16.1 points per game, and is also number three in the conference, averaging 7.3 rebounds per game. The Boxers currently are 8-6, 2-3 in the conference, which has them in sixth place in the conference with room to work their way up the standings.
Senior forward Zachary Bates shared, “The message that our coaches have had this year is going 1-0 every day. This can be at practice on game day or even just getting in your own workout. This is all about winning the day and taking it one day at a time. Coach says, “Every game is the biggest game of the year.”
Meanwhile, before the clock struck the new year, Pacific Women’s basketball was 6-5 as they played through the first part of their season. Friday, January 5, was the first game of 2024 as they took on the Puget Sound Loggers in Forest Grove at The Stoller Center—and the Boxers took care of business, winning with a decisive 55-44.
Fifth-year Brilee Kovaloff led the way with 22 points, a team-high, to bring home the victory for the team. The great start to the new year did not stop there; this was the first win of what is now a three-game win streak of conference matchups for the team.
“The energy in the locker room is really good,” said Junior forward Taya McCallum. “A large part of our team returned this season because we know we have a very talented, special team and are determined to reach our goals. We are taking it day by day and looking to consistently improve to meet those big goals at the end of the season.”
McCallum went on: “We want to win the conference, win the conference tournament, and get ourselves a bid to the national tournament. However, these goals take us being locked into every practice and performing each game. We are focusing on the day-to-day so that we can achieve these goals.”
The team currently sits atop the Northwest conference, which puts them in a prime position for the goals McCallum has laid out as the season progresses.
McCallum elaborated, “Our mindset throughout this season and the season moving forward is game by game and week by week. We play in a really good, tough conference, and you cannot overlook anyone. To achieve our goals, we need to be prepared and come out firing against each team. We are focused on improving every day so that we can continue improving as the season progresses.”
An 8-5 record, 4-1 in the conference, has earned them the spot to sit atop the conference with many more games to solidify them and improve their record.