Basketball program kicks off Racer Mania

Staff Report

img_7896The Murray State basketball program introduced the 2016-17 season Thursday in the CSFB Center.

The night consisted of fire exploding from the goals, intrasquad competition and a dunk contest that left the arena in an uproar.

The night began with pyrotechnics flaming from the tops of the backboards. Smoke machines and spotlights set the mood as the Racers — introduced by Aaron Clayton — exited from a lofty stage to greet the fans.
The Racerettes took the floor for a pre-game routine, followed by members from each team and ‘Tan The Man’ as the emcee to entertain the crowd.

img_7939The women’s team took the court first with a two-minute warm up and an eight-minute quarter. Senior guard LeAsia Wright scored the first two points of the 20-14 intrasquad game. Despite the intrasquad structure of the night, the players maintained a competitive spirit throughout the eight minutes. Junior guard Ke’Shunan James said the competitive spirit within the team is what pushes them to improve every day.

“At the end of the day we are teammates, but you’re gold and I’m blue so we aren’t teammates right now,” James said about the competitive energy. “We are rivals right now so let’s just play.”

James also commented on cultivating the familiarity between player and community.

“I think the community likes it because they get to come out and actually see our personalities and they get to meet us as people rather than say ‘player number 20’,” James said. “I think it means a lot to our community and we have a lot fun with it every year.”

The Racer girls and Murray State Cheerleaders took the floor before the men’s team began their two minute warmup. Taking the floor for their eight minute quarter, the men put on a show for the crowd and end
ed the intrasquad night with a 24-26 score.

After the intrasquad wrapped up, both teams competed in a 3-point contest. Junior guard Jasmine Borders and senior guard Krystal James took 45 seconds to make as many three’s as possible. James
won the contest and advanced to the next round against the winner of the men’s contest. Senior guard Bryce Jones advanced past fellow senior guard Gee McGee with 16-11 total threes within the 45 second allotment. Women’s player James and Men’s player Jones then faced off, that resulted in a 16-14 score and James’ bragging rights for the year.

Finally, the dunk contest. In the first round, junior guard Jonathan Stark made a jump that earned him a 27 point response from the judges. He was followed by senior guard Demarcus Croaker, who edged a 28 point judgement from the panel. Freshman guard Jachai Taylor surpassed the earlier two with 35 point net score and freshman forward Gilbert Thomas, Jr. logged a no score after three failed attempts.

In the final round, after several adjustments, Taylor jumped over a team manager for a reverse dunk that cleared every seat in the arena.

Croaker responded though, changing the pace after attempt number two and reverting to a Vince Carter tomahawk throw down.

Both teams wrapped up the night signing autographs for the community.