20211029-SPT-KSCMBB (copy)

The Keene State men’s basketball team was tabbed No. 2 in the LEC preseason poll, it was announced Thursday.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The Keene State College men’s basketball team was picked to finish second in a preseason poll of the league’s coaches, it was announced Thursday.

The Owls received 54 points and a pair of first place votes. Defending regular season and tournament champion UMass-Dartmouth received 60 points and five first place votes, while Western Connecticut State University, the 2020 LEC tournament champion, was in third place with 49 points and collected the remaining two first place votes.

Rhode Island College, UMass-Boston, Eastern Connecticut, Plymouth State, Southern Maine, and Castleton, in order, rounded out the rest of the preseason poll.

Keene State went 6-3 during the abbreviated 2020-2021 season and was runner-up in the LEC tournament. The Owls return a bevy of talent, including junior forward Jeff Hunter (18.0 ppg, 13.2 rpg, 56.4 FG percentage), sophomore guard Mason Jean-Baptiste (13.2 ppg, 37.3 3FG percentage), sophomore guard Nate Siow (11.8 ppg), senior center James Anozie (11.0 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 54.8 percentage), and senior guard Jeric Cichon (8.4 ppg).

The season begins for Keene State with a home date against Colby-Sawyer College on Nov. 9 at 7 p.m.

Keene State women picked to finish fifth

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The Keene State College women’s basketball team was picked to finish fifth in a preseason poll of the Little East Conference coaches released Thursday by the league office.

The Owls, who won four of their final six games a season ago and reached the conference tournament title game after upsetting the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth on the road in the semifinals, garnered 33 points, three behind fourth-place University of Southern Maine (36).

Rhode Island College was picked to win the conference, getting five of nine first-place votes and 60 points overall. The Anchorwomen won all 11 games they played last year, including pulling away to a 50-38 win over the Owls in the LEC championship at the Murray Center. After not participating last year, Eastern Connecticut State University received three first place votes and 55 points, slated for second, and UMass-Dartmouth third with 52 points and the final first place vote.

Western Connecticut State University (31 points) came in sixth, two points behind KSC, while the University of Massachusetts-Boston (25), Castleton University (24), and Plymouth State University (8) rounded out the poll in the seven through nine spots.

Keene State returns 2021 First Team All-Conference selection Hailey Derosia, who averaged 11.5 points on 44 percent shooting (52 percent from three) a year ago, and LEC Rookie of the Year Rylee Burgess, who finished with 6.5 points per game and connected on 53 percent from the floor.

Michelle LaBonte (5.9 ppg), Jenny Freedman, Jackie Alibrandi, and Brianna Metellus also all return for the Owls.

KSC opens their season at home against New England College on Friday, Nov. 5 at 6:30 p.m.

Chris Detwiler can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1411, or cdetwiler@keenesentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter @Chris_Detwiler.