Moonlight Madness introduces hoops squads

Hal Hargrave
Staff Writer

Hakim Arnold, sophomore kinesiology major, stole the show in the traditional slam dunk contest in front of a crowd of more than 500 at Frantz Athletic Court for the annual Moonlight Madness basketball kickoff event Oct. 16.

“Moonlight Madness is held every year and is an opportunity for the fans to come out and see who’s on both the men’s and women’s basketball teams and what the teams are about,” junior communications major Emily Myers, center for the women’s basketball team, said. “It’s a chance for the fans to come out and participate in fun games, raffles, contests and activities and get excited for the start of season,” Myers said.

The night started with players from both the men’s and women’s teams getting introduced to the crowd as they ran down the court and their names were yelled to the cheering audience.

Women’s head coach Julie Shaw then gave a quick introduction to the fans about the festivities going on for the night.

The event was sponsored by Jimmy John’s sandwich shop in La Verne. Jimmy John’s gave away sandwiches throughout the night to fans that were cheering the loudest and showing the greatest intensity.

Niall Harrison, senior center for the men’s team and a sociology major, said that his favorite part of the night was a competition where a man and woman raced to the center of the court to put on baggy clothes then quickly make a layup.

There was also a hotshot competition for fans have to make as many shots as they could in 30 seconds. Different ranges of shots accounted for more point values.

“It was fun to come in and play after not shooting the basketball for forever,” senior football player and kinesiology major Carvante Hill said.

“I bricked a half-court shot right off the bat and tried to shoot a couple of threes after that and realized I was down 2-0 to a girl. Then I tried to start shooting some webs but still lost anyway, even though it was a great time.”

A game of knockout pegged the athletic staff against members of Greek life where participants competed in a shooting competition. The men’s and women’s basketball team competed in a three point competition against each other, where each team also had one person from the audience shooting with them as well.

For the first time in three years, the men’s team was able to take away the victory with solid shooting from the team and one fan from the stands.

“It was good to finally get a win against the women in the three-point competition,” junior guard for the men’s basketball team and business major Weston Newell said.

In the spirit of Halloween, players picked out the best neon outfits in the stands, and the crowd judged them on their outfits.

The loudest cheers from the crowd indicated the winner. The highlight of the night was at the end of the event when the men’s basketball team had a dunk competition that featured four of its players Arnold, Harrison, Anthony White and Evan Roberts.

Both Roberts and Arnold advanced to the final round of the dunk competition, but Arnold’s dunk over a rack that holds basketballs brought the house down and gave him the victory.

“It was a blast to do something we don’t typically do in practice or in games and compete with each other was showing off our dunks to the crowd,” Harrison said.

“But, my favorite dunk of the night was when Hakim threw the dunk down jumping over the ball rack.”

The night concluded with special remarks from the eight-year veteran head men’s basketball coach, Richard Reed, and followed with a meet-and-greet on the basketball floor for fans to meet the players and coaches, and shoot the ball around.

“This is the most athletic team that we have had since I’ve been here and hopefully the fans saw that tonight,” Newell said. “I can’t wait for the season to start and for us to get out and run in transition to see what we can do.”

The men’s team has a lot to look forward to this year after finishing sixth in conference last year and with four incoming freshman and many returning veterans.

The men’s basketball season will start at 5 p.m. Nov. 1, when the Leopards play at Boise State. The women’s team will be right in the thick of conference play this year after finishing fifth last season and having five incoming freshman, two transfers and three new assistant coaches this season. The women’s basketball season jumps into action at 5 p.m. Nov. 1 at the Frantz Athletic Court against Cal State San Marcos.

Hal Hargrave can be reached at hallett.hargrave@laverne.edu.

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