College notebook: Steinman, Guachione set for tournament debuts

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The postseason begins for Division II basketball this weekend, and Pittsfield residents Peyton Steinman and Grace Guachione are looking for a successful debut.

Steinman and Guachione play for Saint Anselm, a member of the Division II Northeast-10 Conference. The Hawks lost in the NE-10 semifinals, but earned an at-large bid to the NCAA D-II tournament.

Saint Anselm (19-9) will travel for its first-round game to Philadelphia, where it will face a familiar foe.

The Hawks played Bentley (28-3) three times during the season, twice in the Northeast-10 regular season and once in the NE-10 semifinals. But when the Hawks show up at the University of the Sciences for Friday's game, they'll see Bentley once again.

The Falcons hold a nine-game winning streak over the Hawks, and have beaten Steinman and Guachione five times. Bentley won 60-51 on Dec. 8, 69-54 on Feb. 16, and 74-59 in the NE-10 semifinals on March 7. In the tournament, Steinman had 18 points, while Guachione did not score.

The last time Saint Anselm beat Bentley was back on Feb. 20, 2016.

The Hawks haven't won an NCAA D-II tournament game since 1999, when they beat Northeast-10 foe Franklin Pierce. Saint Anselm then dropped a four-point decision to Bentley.

This is the sixth time Saint Anselm and Bentley have met in the NCAA Tournament. Saint Anselm's last win was in 1995.

University of the Sciences (29-2) is the top seed in the East Region, while Bentley is No. 2, followed by Jefferson (29-2) and Le Moyne (24-5).

The tournament starts with Jefferson vs. Stonehill (19-9) on Friday at noon. Bentley and Saint Anselm will play the second game. In the night session, USciences will host NYIT (23-8) while Le Moyne (24-5), who beat Bentley in the NE-10 championship game, will play St.Thomas Aquinas (26-4).

The championship game will be Monday.

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Steinman and Guachione are not the only Berkshire County basketball players playing for a title. Freshman forward Anika Helmke is on the road with her Bowdoin College coaches and teammates to the NCAA Division III Final Four.

The Polar Bears are in Salem, Va., at Roanoke College, to play St. Thomas (Minn.) in the first of two Final Four games on Friday.

In the second game of the doubleheader, unbeaten Thomas More will play Scranton.

The four schools have combined to lose four games altogether. Bowdoin (30-1) and St. Thomas (30-1) have dropped on game each, Scranton (29-2) has lost twice while Thomas More is 31-0.

All four teams in the Final Four are the top-ranked teams in their respective regions.

Helmke played in 22 of Bowdoin's 31 games, averaging 2.0 points per game. She scored a career-best nine points in a win against Bates.

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Williams women's hockey coach Meghan Gillis is one of 11 finalists for the CCM-American Hockey Coaches Association's Division III coach of the year.

Gillis led Williams to its second NESCAC championship and its first win in the NCAA Division III tournament, and she was named NESCAC coach of the year.

The 11 finalists include six-time winner Kevin Houle of Plattsburgh State, the team that knocked Williams out of the NCAA Tournament last Saturday. The other 10 finalists, including Gillis, have never won the award.

To be considered a finalist, a coach must be named a conference coach of the year or advance to the NCAA semifinals.

The award will be given out at the women's hockey banquet at this weekend's Frozen Four.

Amherst College's Jim Plumer was the last NESCAC coach to win the award, taking it home in 2009.

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The season ended earlier than the members of the Williams College men's basketball team might have liked. But while the Ephs have put away the uniforms and basketballs, the accolades continue to roll in.

Senior guard Bobby Casey has been named to the National Basketball Coaches Association's Northeast Region first team All-Star team. The team was voted on by the Northeast region's coaches.

"This season he demonstrated the ability to lead a team to success with his personality, play-making and scoring," Williams coach Kevin App said in a release. "That balance is incredibly difficult."

Casey was a starter for all 30 games, leading the team in scoring (18.2 points per game) assists (133) and minutes played (947).

He scored 1,516 points good for sixth on the all-time list at Williams. He is 10th all-time with 320 assists, and now holds the career mark in 3-point baskets with 273.

Hamilton's Kena Gilmour, the NESCAC player of the year, and Amherst's Grant Robinson were named to the Northeast Region first team, and Amherst coach Dave Hixon was named coach of the year. Wesleyan's Austin Hutcherson earned second-team honors.

Casey, meanwhile, was named to the D3hoops.com All-Northeast Region second team. Casey, Robinson and Hutcherson were all members of the second team. Gilmour was named to the first team, Jack Farrell of Middlebury was named to the third team, while Williams' James Heskett was named to the fourth-team.

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Former Monument Mountain swimmer Emma Wilber of New Marlborough was named to the Liberty League's All-Academic team.

Wilber, a sophomore at William Smith, is majoring in environmental studies and made it for the first time.

To be eligible, scholar-athletes must be at least a sophomore academically and have a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.3.

Howard Herman can be reached at hherman@berkshireeagle.com, at @howardherman on Twitter, or 413-496-6253.


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