The Hornets will travel to Fayetteville, NC to play Methodist in the season-opener
By Samuel Graham ~ Guest Writer
Lynchburg Men’s Basketball will open its 2021-22 season this Sunday as it travels to Fayetteville, North Carolina to take on Methodist.
Lynchburg defeated the monarchs 78-65 to start last year’s campaign before going on to finish with an overall record of 6-4 and a runner-up finish in the 2021 ODAC tournament.
“Methodist is a very scrappy and competitive team, which is good for our first game of the season,” said graduate student Tharon Suggs. “For us to win, it will require us to stay locked in and work hard for everything throughout the entire game.”
Suggs averaged 16.9 points per game in 2020-21, leading the Hornets in scoring and starting nine of the Hornets’ ten games.
The veteran guard is one of three graduate students returning for the Hornets this season, along with transfer Carrington Young and 2021 VaSID All-State selection T. C. Thacker.
Lynchburg was picked to finish fourth in the preseason ODAC coaches’ poll, but believes it is one of the better teams in the conference.
“We have the experience, talent, depth and leadership to be the best team in the country,” Suggs said. “I’ve seen what good teams look like throughout my years of playing in this league, and I have nothing but confidence in our ability to be the best.”
While the fourth-place ranking was disappointing for a team which finished as conference runners-up a year ago and returns such an experienced roster, both coaches and athletes realize where you finish matters more than where you start.
“We continually talk about how it is more important on where you finish the season than where you start in preseason polls,” said head coach Hilliary Scott. “This is the toughest conference in the country and this year is like no other. We are striving not to prove others wrong but rather to prove ourselves right.”
It is certainly important to get off to a good start in order to finish the season in a desirable spot, and that is what the team will look to do when it takes on Methodist this Sunday.
“It’s great to get out to a hot start at the beginning of the season because it gives you momentum as you move through the season,” Suggs said. “You have to spend the early stages of the season growing as a team and striving to reach your potential, so by the time the end of the season comes, we are playing our best basketball.”
Lynchburg got out to a hot start during the 2021-22 season, winning its first three games before having its next five postponed due to COVID-19 protocols.
“Last year was a great experience for our team and it taught us to cherish every day we have as a group and to show gratitude for the opportunity to put on a Lynchburg uniform,” Scott said. “We want to play with that gratitude for our teammates, coaches and university.”
Sunday is likely to be a difficult test to begin the season, but the team feels prepared and excited as it gets set to officially embark on the journey that will be the 2021-22 season.
“Methodist is always a tough opponent who is well coached and filled with some talented players,” Scott said. “Opening on the road is a tough task but our guys are ready for the challenge and excited to get the season started. I’m extremely excited about this team’s character and it’s going to be exciting to go along with them on this journey.”
The Hornets and the Monarchs will play Sunday at 2 p.m. in Fayetteville, North Carolina.