WILKES-BARRE — There aren't any simple answers at this point. Not as January winds down with Wilkes still looking for its first Freedom Conference win.
This is largely uncharted territory for the Colonels, who fell to 0-8 in league play and 7-11 overall following Saturday's 67-54 loss to Delaware Valley at the Marts Center.
For the shorthanded Colonels, who played a third straight game without injured leading scorer Chris Shovlin, there's little to do but keep working at it.
The circumstances and the situation have made things really difficult, coach Jerry Rickrode said. But (today) is Sunday. I'll get up, go to Mass, spend some time with my family, catch a workout and take the garbage out at night. I'm going to do the same thing I always do.
I'm going to do the same thing I always do. And that's all we can do at practice on Monday.
On Saturday, the Colonels managed just 16 points in the first half on 6-of-24 shooting as the Aggies built a 35-16 lead at the break.
Delaware Valley (12-7, 6-2) used a 29-4 run to take control of the game as Wilkes had scoreless stretches of five and six minutes.
It was disappointing being back on our heels, Rickrode said. It's been like that the last three games. We dig a hole, and then in the second half we play a lot more aggressively.
It's some inexperience. We had a couple guys out there playing today that haven't even gotten a rep for two-and-a-half weeks. It's (about) chemistry, cohesion, playing together.
Four freshmen played more than 20 minutes in the loss, with Alec Wizar and Jim Brackett in the starting lineup along with Devin Dunn and Steve Stravinski coming off the bench.
It was one of the team's two seniors who breathed some life into the offense in the second half.
Tyler Breznitsky scored 16 of his game-high 19 points in the final 20 minutes and gave the Colonels a shot down the stretch. He was the only Wilkes player to finish in double figures.
He did a nice job and we did some good things to find him, Rickrode said. But you can't force-feed the ball to one guy the whole time.
The senior guard knocked down three threes and added a conventional three-point play during a five-minute stretch to bring the Colonels back within single digits.
Wilkes got as close as five points at 48-43 at the 9:40 mark. A late run cut the deficit to 57-49 before Delaware Valley finally put the game away.
DELAWARE VALLEY (67): Francis Arnold 6-11 4-4 16, Zach Sly 3-4 4-6 10, Jeremy Beckett 2-7 9-12 13, Daulton Derr 2-7 0-0 5, Jay Donovan 2-8 0-0 4, Cam Lee 0-0 0-0 0, Nick Sullivan 0-2 0-0 0, Chris Moran 3-4 0-0 6, Zach Sibel 4-7 1-4 13. Totals 22-50 18-26 67.
WILKES (54): Tyler Breznitsky 5-13 5-6 19, Alec Wizar 3-9 1-2 9, Pat Furst 2-6 0-0 4, Jim Brackett 2-3 0-0 4, Lee Strause 0-0 0-0 0, Craig Thomas 0-0 0-0 0, Jeremy Hartman 1-5 0-1 2, Devin Dunn 0-0 4-4 4, Cameron Hinkel 1-2 0-0 2, Steve Stravinski 1-5 0-0 3, Cliff Richardson 1-3 2-2 4, Nic Wilkins 1-8 1-2 3. Totals 17-54 13-17 54.
Halftime— Delaware Valley, 35-16.
3-point field goals— DVC 5-18 (Sibel 4-7, Derr 1-3, Arnold 0-1, Beckett 0-1, Sullivan 0-2, Donovan 0-4); WU 7-20 (Breznitsky 4-6, Wizar 2-5, Stravinski 1-5, Furst 0-1, Hartman 0-1, Wilkins 0-2).
Twice, Wilkes had the momentum. Twice, Delaware Valley snagged it right back.
Looking to rally in the second half, the Lady Colonels couldn't hit that one big shot to pull even. Delaware Valley held off both charges from Wilkes for a 63-53 win on Saturday at the Marts Center, sending the Lady Colonels to their fourth straight Freedom Conference loss.
The Aggies earned a split of the season series with the road team winning both games.
Missing down the stretch was a timely shot from the perimeter, as the Lady Colonels finished 2-of-21 from behind the arc. Leading scorer Elena Stambone (21 points) hit both of them, but the second one didn't come until 1:59 was left in the game with the Aggies up double digits.
We shot nine-and-a-half percent from the three-point line. I mean, even on our worst night we should be shooting 20 percent, Wilkes coach Chris Heery said. You hit a few more of those out there and it's a different ball game. It's a different approach at the end of the game.
Down 31-23 at halftime, Wilkes (10-8, 2-6 Freedom) quickly reeled off three straight buckets in the opening 1:30 out of the break.
But Delaware Valley (8-11, 2-6) never surrendered the lead, regrouping after a timeout and answering with a 9-0 run to stay in control of the game.
A three-point play off a steal by reserve Cara Basile pulled Wilkes back within 46-42 midway through the half before the offense went cold.
The other thing we did – when we did get it down to three, four points – we had defensive breakdowns, Heery said.
With just six league games left, Wilkes will need to turn things around quickly to climb back into the postseason picture.
And as the Aggies showed Saturday, it won't be easy.
There is no bottom of our league, as far as I'm concerned, Heery said. Everybody can beat everybody. Once you get into this part of the season, every game is close like that.
DELAWARE VALLEY (63): Agatha Drozd 3-8 1-4 7, Emily Soper 6-15 2-3 14, Brenna Coll 5-11 6-11 17, Shannon Barlow 4-7 3-3 11, Eireann Anastasi 2-10 2-2 7, Amanda Turowski 0-0 0-0 0, Kelsey Kilpatrick 2-5 2-2 7, Bridget Sobon 0-2 0-0 0, Katelyn Donohue 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-58 16-25 63.
WILKES (53): Amanda Pawlowski 1-3 0-0 2, Elena Stambone 8-20 3-5 21, Megan Kazmerski 2-10 1-2 5, Chelsea Brown 3-9 4-4 10, Ellen Rich 0-2 0-0 0, Kate Thomas 0-1 0-0 0, Kayla Brahm 0-2 0-0 0, Cara Basile 2-2 0-1 4, Lindsey Chester 1-1 0-0 2, Jana Martin 1-3 0-0 2, Angela Palmerio 0-6 0-0 0, Megan Dragan 1-1 0-0 2, Ginny Edwards 2-8 1-2 5. Totals 21-68 9-14 53.
Halftime— Delaware Valley, 31-23.
3-point field goals— DVC 3-14 (Kilpatrick 1-2, Coll 1-4, Anastasi 1-6, Drozd 0-2); WU 2-21 (Stambone 2-9, Pawlowski 0-1, Thomas 0-1, Brahm 0-1, Kazmerski 0-4, Palmerio 0-5).