2010-04-02 / Sports

Rockaway College Basketball Wrapup: Hillaire Shines In Tournament

By Elio Velez

Lionel Hillaire capped off Baruch College’s excellent basketball campaign with an award winning performance on the court.

The Far Rockaway native captured the Eastern College Athletic Conference Metro Tournament MVP as the Baruch Bearcats defeated York College, 93-70, in the championship game at SUNY-Old Westbury on March 7.

Hillaire, a 5-11 junior point guard with the Bearcats, scored 21 points and hit 4 out of his 6 three-point attempts. He had scored a game high 29 points in the ECAC semifinals in a 88-81 victory over SUNY-Old Westbury.

In the win over Old Westbury, Hillaire became the 18th player in school history to score over 1,000 points. The Bearcats win eight out of their final nine games to end the season with a 23-7 record.

Hillaire, who graduated from Archbishop Molloy High School, earned accolades for his performance in the regular season. After averaging 16 points per game, he was named as a CUNYAC First Team All-Star.

Along with his teammate George Kunkel, Hillaire was selected to the All-Atlantic Region Second Team. By D3Hoops.com, a website, devoted to covering NCAA Division III basketball,

Ryan Pearson ended his sophomore season at George Mason University as a participant in the losing end of the biggest comeback in NCAA Division I postseason history.

Fairfield University came back from a 27-point deficit in the first round of the College Insider.com Tournament to stun the Patriots, 101-96, on March 16.

Pearson scored 16 points in the defeat for the Patriots, who finished at 17-15. The sophomore kept improving this season and was one of the top players in averaging 11.9 points per game, which was second on the team to top scorer Cam Long. He started 28 out of 30 games, led the team in rebounding and was second in steals.

Michelle Kenel enjoyed a fine season playing with Babson College, the Division III basketball program which plays in the New England Men’s and Women’s Athletic Conference.

Kenel received more playing time in her sophomore campaign, starting 19 out of 30 games while averaging 5.1 points per game. Babson College advanced to the sectional finals of the 2010 NCAA Division III Championship Tournament before losing to undefeated Amherst (31-0), 80-65, on March 13.

Babson won the NEWMAC Conference with an 18-0 record and finished with a record of 28-4. The school set new records in terms of victories and also had a winning streak of 20 games which was snapped by Amherst.

Michelle Cashen continued to shine after completing her second year at Yale University. The Belle Harbor native earned a spot on the All-Ivy Second Team basketball honors. Cashen’s teammate Megan Vasquez was selected to the All-Ivy Rookie Team.

Yale finished with an under .500 record at 13-15 overall, but that record is the best they have finished since the 2001-2002 season. The Bulldogs have continued to show improvement in the Ivy League as they finished with an 8- 6 record.

Cashen, who was selected to the All- Ivy Rookie Team in her freshman campaign, averaged 8.5 points and a teamhigh 6.9 rebounds per game in 2009-10. She appeared in 26 contests, making 25 starts, and ranked among the Ivy League leaders in free throw percentage (fourth, .797), rebounds (sixth) and field goal percentage (seventh, .446).

A member of Calhoun College, Cashen registered four double-doubles this season, including an 18-point, 11- rebound effort at Colorado on Jan. 4.

“I’m very proud of both Michelle and Megan,” said Chris Gobrecht, the Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women’s Basketball.

“Our style of play isn’t really geared toward individual honors- we play our best when everybody is contributingbut Michelle and Megan are both very deserving of All-Ivy recognition.”

Juanita Whyms scored 17 points and grabbed 23 rebounds in her final game with the Hunter College Hawks on March 3, but New York University ended her team’s season with a 70-51 win in the ECAC quarterfinal tournament.

Whyms, who starred at Stella Maris High School, finished out her two-year Hunter career with 575 points, 604 rebounds, 71 steals, 62 blocks, shot .562 from the free throw line and .415 from the field in 53 games.

Megan McKenna, a junior point guard who now switches to play shortstop with the softball team, scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds.

Shamar Stewartson, the former Far Rockaway High School star, averaged 12 points per game this season for the Hawks.

Former St. Edmund Prep star Cody Gauvard had a short stint with Mount St. Vincent, but the 6-6- sophomore forward made a big impact on the floor.

Though Mount St. Vincent finished with a 11-14 record and 7-13 in Skyline Conference play, Gauvard led Dolphins in scoring with 13.1 points per game. At one point this season, Gauvard scored in double figures for eight straight games.

In a 108-85 loss to SUNY Purchase On January 15, Gauvard scored a game high 26 points and grabbed 15 rebounds.

Jill Brady ended her final college campaign with the College of Mount Saint Vincent women’s basketball team with a 56-53 loss to Drew University in the first round of the ECAC Metro Division Tournament on March 3.

Brady, a Rockaway Park native who attended Bishop Kearney High School, averaged 9.9 points per game and played 24 games this season. She scored a career high 23 points in a game this season over Old Westbury.

The Dolphins finished the season with an 18-10 record and the ECAC Tournament for the third straight year.

Brooklyn College sophomore Kathleen Haggerty played 17 games this season as the team was defeated in the ECAC playoff semifinals by Stevens Institute. Haggerty graduated from Stella Maris High School.

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