By the time you are reading this, the Lycoming College Men's Basketball Team will have already played in the first round of the NCAA Division III Tournament. I am hoping the Middle Atlantic Conference Champs knocked off Cabrini to advance. But there is no time for celebrations kids, as the winner will face either SUNY Farmingdale or their weekend hosts Middlebury College the very next day. Perhaps then the Warriors found a way to win that game and made the six and half hour trip back to campus from Vermont with a huge tub of Ben & Jerry’s. That would be grand.
Now my lovely editor asks us part time scribes to get our content to her by Friday. So I always do my best to be optimistic about future sporting events. I have a good feeling about this weekend. But regardless of this outcome — I am still extremely proud of my alma mater, Coach Guy Rancourt and his Lycoming squad. Their 2016-17 campaign was one for the ages.
The Warriors are currently 23-4 overall and ranked 15th in the nation. That's a school record for wins and Lycoming has never cracked the top 20 in the rankings before. They earned an automatic bid to the tournament by winning their second straight MAC Commonwealth crown.
"We really had a great year," Rancourt said. "Our seniors have been tremendous all season. Their mental toughness and leadership has been the key."
The Warriors were in a totally different situation last year. Lycoming was the number 5 seed in the 2016 Commonwealth tournament and got hot at the right time. They won three straight road games in one short week to win the title. Just incredible.
"We were the preseason favorites and had a target on our back all season long," Rancourt continued. "But again. I can't stress enough how important our senior class was. They have been solid."
Guy is as smooth as they come. He can sell ice cubes to Eskimos. The Long Island native is now in his ninth season as the Warriors’ boss. His teams are always fun to watch as they play up-tempo and above the rim. I had the pleasure of seeing my friend and his team in action at practice this past week.
"We need to pay attention to this guy right here," Rancourt explained. The team and I were in a room watching video and going over the scouting report. "FREEZE it. Show that again. Watch the weak side. Notice the rip? There's that post up out of transition."
It was a just a short breakdown as Guy told me they would go into much more detail tomorrow at the hotel. I understood everything coach was saying. We used the same terminology back when I played. But I was in total awe on how much the technology has changed. We used VHS and Guy simply sends his players a multimedia text. Crazy.
I then was invited upstairs for a brief walk through. The Warriors were very relaxed but when Guy brought them together at center court — you could hear a pin drop. His boys were so focused. Coach had the floor and his players were on alert. I was impressed in just the first two minutes.
I then watched a short series of defensive breakdowns and thought to myself wow this GUY is the man. #seewhatididthere. Sure I have been to many of my friends' games over the years but that was my first behind the scenes look into his program. You can learn a lot in just a few minutes of practice. I was amazed at his passion and drive. Rancourt was in total control. It was evident that his players and coaches respected him.
Now Guy never takes credit for any of Lycoming's successes. He always praises his players and is the first to pass it. That's what good coaches do. Stay humble. But man we sure are lucky to have Guy Rancourt in our backyard. Great season Coach. Cheers.