College Corner: Holy Redeemer’s Darius Washington off to fast start for Eastern basketball

By Bill Arsenault - For Times Leader
Darius Washington leads the Eastern men’s basketball team with a 19.2 scoring average in the early going during his senior season. - Submitted photo

The Eastern University men’s basketball team is off to a 5-1 start and leading the way for the Eagles is senior Darius Washington.

The 6-foot-1, 174-pound point guard leads the team in scoring with a 19.2 average and has scored 15 or more points in all six games including 23 in a 79-74 loss to Webster in the Maryville (Tenn.) Tournament on Nov. 18, 23 in an 83-50 triumph over Rutgers-Newark on Nov. 26 and 21 in a season-opening 84-79 victory over Cabrini on Nov. 13.

Washington, a Holy Redeemer grad, has connected on 25 of 60 3-point attempts (41.7 percent) and is averaging 6.8 rebounds with 12 assists and eight steals. He averaged 13.2 points, aided by 76 of 180 from outside the arc (42.2 percent), and 3.1 rebounds with 55 assists and 22 steals as a junior.

“Darius has worked hard on expanding his game and it has shown through the first six games,” coach Eric McNelley said. “He’s done a great job handling point guard duties and is doing a great job getting us into our offense all the while staying aggressive and finding his own opportunities.”

According to McNelley, Washington has improved on the defensive end and has taken on a leadership role in the Eagles’ locker room. And he likes the way the senior has taken freshman Draig Ruff (Wyoming Valley West) under his wing. The 6-foot-3 Ruff is averaging 7.0 points and 3.7 rebounds.

“He finds a lot of joy watching Draig excel,” the coach said. “I’m excited to see what this season holds for Darius and our team.”

Madisyn Hawkins (Lehigh)

The sophomore kicked off her indoor season with the women’s track team in fine style. The Coughlin grad captured the pole vault at the Lehigh Season Opener last Saturday in Bethlehem. She cleared 11 feet, 11 ¾ inches, 11 ¾ inches ahead of the runner-up.

Hawkins had a big freshman season for the Mountain Hawks. She finished third in the pole vault (12 feet, 1 ½ inches) outdoors and was fifth (12 feet, 7 ½ inches) indoors at the Patriot League Championships. The latter mark is a personal record.

Taylor Montana (Bloomsburg)

The 5-foot-11 junior forward was named PSAC East Co-Athlete of the Week on Monday after she led the women’s basketball team to a 3-0 record last week. It was her second honor of the season. Montana, a Berwick grad, averaged a double-double in the three games.

She had 16 points and a career-high 15 rebounds in a 77-62 victory over Chestnut Hill on Nov. 27 and 16 points and 14 rebounds as the 6-2 Huskies upset No. 19-ranked Edinboro 70-62 last Sunday. She’s second on the team in scoring with a 12.4 average and is averaging 3.4 rebounds with 10 assists.

Katrina Mikitish (Pace)

The senior midfielder and the Setters field hockey team saw the season come to an end with a 3-0 loss to East Stroudsburg in the NCAA Division II semifinals last Thursday in Pittsburgh, the team finishing 18-3. The Berwick grad started all 21 games and had three goals and four assists for 10 points and had a goal and an assist in a 6-1 victory over St. Anselm in the quarterfinals.

Mikitish played in 68 games with 46 starts in her career and finished with nine goals and five assists for 23 points with two game-winners.

Sarah Holweg (West Chester)

The 5-foot-6 freshman guard scored a college career high 11 points but the women’s basketball team dropped a 67-52 PSAC decision to unbeaten California last Sunday in West Chester. The Wyoming Area grad was 3-for-7 from 3-point range.

Helweg has played in all nine games with seven starts and is averaging 3.7 points a game with 12 rebounds and seven assists. The Golden Rams are 4-5 overall and 0-2 in PSAC play.

Nick McGuire (Bloomsburg)

The 6-foot-2, 145-pound senior wrapped up his career with the men’s cross country team by finishing 108th out of 261 runners at the NCAA Division II Championships last Saturday in Pittsburgh. The Crestwood grad covered the 10,000 meter course in 34:41 over a course that was so slick that the race was halted less than 100 meters in after several competitors fell.

McGuire was 180th through the first 700 meters and then moving to 94th before finishing 108th. It was his first trip to the Nationals.

Savanna Robinson (Keystone)

The junior was named Colonial States Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Week on Monday after helping the women’s basketball team open the league season with a 60-41 victory over Wilson on Nov. 28 and an 83-42 triumph over Bryn Athyn last Saturday.

The Coughlin grad had 11 steals and a blocked shot in the two games. She also had 14 points, four rebounds and three assists to go along with five steals in the Bryn Athyn game. Robinson is averaging 7.9 points a game for the 4-5 Giants.

Jake Hendricks (Penn)

The true freshman is off to a 2-0 start in dual meets for the wrestling team. Hendricks, from New Ringgold and a Wyoming Seminary grad, is competing in the 174-pound class and posted a 14-9 victory as the Quakers dropped a 20-18 decision to Rider last Thursday. He came back to post a 2-1 decision in a 26-6 victory over Maryland last Sunday in Philadelphia.

Hendricks is 4-4 overall and has a pin in 2:45, that coming when he kicked off his college career by going 2-2 at the Michigan State Open on Nov. 3 in East Lansing.

Erin Gibbons (Mansfield)

The 5-foot-8 sophomore guard leads the 0-4 women’s basketball team in scoring with a 15.5 average. She’s second on the team in rebounding with a 5.5 average and has nine assists and 11 steals.

The Wyoming Valley West grad opened the season with a 22-point effort in a 77-57 loss to Roberts Wesleyan on Nov. 20. She had a team-high 20 points with a career-high five steals as the Mounties were beaten in 98-93 in double overtime to Pitt-Johnstown last Saturday in Mansfield.

Michael Thamert (Chatham)

The 5-foot-9 sophomore forward has scored two goals for the men’s hockey team. The Crestwood grad had a goal late in the third period to tie the game at 5-5 and the Cougars went on to score a 6-5 overtime victory over King’s on Nov. 9. His other goal was the only score for Chatham in a 4-1 loss to Nazareth last Friday.

Darius Washington leads the Eastern men’s basketball team with a 19.2 scoring average in the early going during his senior season. Washington leads the Eastern men’s basketball team with a 19.2 scoring average in the early going during his senior season. Submitted photo

By Bill Arsenault

For Times Leader