May is Tyler's deadeye

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Makenzi May can take it to the hoop, but does most of her damage from beyond the arc.
Photo courtesy Texas-Tyler Athletics 

Makenzi May is a phenomenal shooter. Especially from beyond the arc.

In fact, less than three years into her career at Texas-Tyler, the junior guard already ranks second all-time in 3-pointers made (142).

Her mindset has a lot to do with her success.

"I've learned to be more confident and stay positive even when the shots don't go in," May said. "As long as I keep playing hard, good things will come."

May has seen quite a bit of good in her career with the Patriots, who are currently ranked fifth in the nation and own a 21-1 record.

She has knocked down 51 treys this season, only seven fewer than she hit all of last year when she connected on 58 attempts from beyond the arc.

"It's all about repetition," May said. "I practice my shooting as much as I can. I feel most comfortable taking 3-point shots and they are easy to make when I'm open."

May is averaging 14.0 points per game and has been on a roll as of late, drilling four or more 3-pointers in five consecutive games. She has made at least four treys in 11 games overall this season. She credits the Patriots' strong play in the post for creating opportunities for her on the 3-point line.

"My teammates do a great job of getting me open for shots," May said. "We have good post players and we work the ball into them first. Once they get going, we will get the ball outside and I will get good looks at the basket. It all starts with our post play, though."

May has been making an impact for the Patriots since her collegiate career began. She nailed 33 3-pointers as a freshman, ranking third on the team in that category, but only averaged 4.1 points per game.

Still, she ended up earning a spot on the American Southwest Conference All-Freshman team.

"Getting used to the pace of the game took time. It's definitely a lot faster at the college level," May said. "But other than that, it wasn't too bad adjusting to the game. Being able to play that first year was a big help. The experience paid off."

And her experience as a college basketball player has been nothing short of enjoyable so far.

"I love it," May said. "I'm on a great team and have great teammates. I couldn't ask for more."

May and the Patriots, who are 13-0 in the conference, are hoping for more, though, as they head down the home stretch of the regular season.

They have their sights set on an ASC tournament championship and a berth in the NCAA tournament, their expectations unchanged despite being under the direction of a first-year head coach in Kendra Hassell.

A year ago, Tyler lost in the conference tourney title game to Texas-Dallas and then lost again to the Comets in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

"It's a little different having a new coach, but things have been going really good," May said. "Everyone has bought into her system and we're excited about our potential."

The Patriots have every intention of living up to their potential but they know that being ready to play is key regardless of who the opponent is.

"We know we always have a target on our backs and that every team is going to play us like it's a championship game," May said. "But we enjoy the challenge."

May is looking forward to helping the Patriots keep their momentum rolling. If there is one thing she would like to improve on going forward it's consistency.

"I definitely want to become more consistent. That is big," May said. "I continue to work at it. The big thing as a team is to stay focused and take it game by game. If we play hard and play consistent, good things will happen for us. We'll have a chance to achieve all of our goals."

Marlins win wild game

In an Old Dominion Athletic Conference game that featured 11 lead changes, Virginia Wesleyan's men's basketball team managed to escape with an 89-87 overtime victory against Emory and Henry Saturday.

The Marlins picked up their third consecutive win and improved to 15-6 overall and to 10-2 in the conference. They remain atop the standings.

Khory Moore rose to the occasion as he lit up the scoreboard for 31 points. It's the most points scored by a Virginia Wesleyan player this season, and Moore actually hit that total twice earlier in the season.

Daevon Brown also had a big game, recording his first double-double. He scored 14 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.

Moore leads the Marlins in scoring, averaging 18.5 points per outing. Brown is now averaging 4.2 points and 3.5 rebounds per game after coming through his best performance of the season. It was his first time in double figures this season.

Tigers cap conference sweep

Trinity's women's basketball team wrapped up a perfect weekend in Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference play with a 66-57 win over Southwestern Saturday.

The Tigers remain in first place in the conference with a 9-2 record. They are 18-4 overall and have won two consecutive games.

Trinity thrived off a balanced attack as four players scored in double figures. Allison Staley fueled the attack, nailing five 3-pointers en route to scoring 16 points.

Staley was the leading scorer in a game for the first time this season, and her performance highlights the depth the Tigers have on their team. Staley is averaging 7.2 points per game and is one of seven players who is averaging at least five points per outing. Her success, in part, has been propelled by her ability to knock down outside shots as she has hit a team-high 41 treys.

The Tigers, who haven't lost back-to-back games all season, have two games remaining in the regular season. They have a one-game lead over second-place Austin in the standings.

Panthers on a roll

Ferrum surged to its fourth consecutive win Sunday, and it came against the top team in the USA South Athletic Conference, stunning Covenant 67-61.

Josh Grimard and Alex Ayer paved the way in the latest win for the Panthers, who went over the .500 mark, improving to 11-10 overall and to 6-4 in the conference. Grimard scored 14 points and Ayer scored 13 points.

Ferrum was in a tailspin before its current win streak, dropping six consecutive games. They have been clutch under pressure during the streak as well, winning the last three games by six points or less. It's the second time this season Ferrum has won four in a row.

The Panthers are already better off than they were a year ago when they won just eight games. Three of their last four wins have been at home, where they are 7-2 on the year.

Grimard ranks second on the team in scoring, putting up 10.4 points per outing. He has knocked down 23 3-pointers. Ayer is third on the team in scoring, clicking for 9.9 points per game. He is one of nine players who is averaging at least five points per game.

Gators keep win streak intact

Pine Manor had only two wins to its credit less than a month ago but has turned things around in a hurry. The Gators won their sixth consecutive game on Saturday with a 67-37 win over Vermont Tech.

Alexis Lee paved the way, pouring in 18 points. Sybil Lynch and Erica Jones finished with 10 points apiece.

The Gators played tenacious defense as well, forcing Vermont Tech to shoot only 20.9 percent from the floor. Tech was just 1-of-9 from beyond the arc.

Pine Manor is now 8-12 on the season and has come a long way since losing 11 of its first 12 games of the season.

Lee is having a phenomenal season, clicking for 17.3 points per outing. Lynch (12.0) and Jones (10.7) have also been key contributors throughout the year.

The Gators are hoping to finish on a strong note and secure their third consecutive winning season. With five games to go entering the new week, they need to win out to finish the year above the .500 mark.

Brian Lester

Brian Lester is a reporter in Florida. He has 15 years of experience at newspapers in Virginia, North Carolina and Ohio, spending 10 at The Courier in Findlay, Ohio. Lester also writes an Around the Region column for and wrote the book Perfect Run as No. 1 about the 2009 Division II men's basketball champions University of Findlay. He is a graduate of Eastern Illinois.