By Angel Vadillo
Playing college sports can be a challenge, especially the first year, but some people tend to adapt faster than others. The Builder basketball teams have three freshman players who have settled in the court since the beginning of the season.
The Lady Builders possess Jana Reichenberger, freshman forward.
“Jana has adapted to our team from day one,” said head women’s basketball coach, Dave Denly. “Her abilities as a basketball player have fit into our system and our team extremely well. Her attitude and unselfishness has been great and has made the transition very easy.”
Reichenberger arrived for the Lady Builders this season from Bishop Carroll High School in Wichita.
“College basketball is really fun to play because the competition is awesome,” said Reichenberger. “Everybody is there to compete every day.”
She played her first official game on Nov. 2 against Doane College (Neb.). Reichenberger registered seven points during the game.
Lady Builder No. 34 scored a total of 280 points in the regular conference season. She also closed the regular play with 164 rebounds.
Reichenberger said, “Without my teammates and coaches, I would not be where I am now. The team is always giving me pointers on how to do a certain thing better.”
Her career-best was on Jan. 12 when she managed to put up 23 points. She went 6-for-7 on the floor and 11-14 from the free-throw line against the Lady Threshers.
“The biggest benefit she brings our team is her attitude. Jana brings a presence in the middle both offensively and defensively to our team that we have not had over the past few years,” said Denly.
Apart from that, she also caught the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Week Award during the 11th week of play, Feb. 4.
“I still have a lot to learn, but excited to see what the future holds,” Reichenberger said.
For the Moundbuilders, Cameron Clark, forward, and Taylor Johnson, guard, represent the men’s freshmen basketball team.
“Both adapted really well to Southwestern and their first year of college basketball,” said head men’s basketball coach, Matt O’Brien. “Both players are very humble, which is a key factor in having a successful freshmen year.”
Clark checked in for the Moundbuilders last spring but did not play because he redshirted. This is his first season playing with the Moundbuilders.
“I feel like when I am on the floor that I can’t be stopped, and I try to play with confidence and effort to prove that,” said Clark.
Clark’s first game was on Oct. 26 and ended up scoring 10 points versus Hillsdale.
“There is nothing like playing college basketball. The speed, aggressiveness, the intensity, it is truly indescribable,” said Clark.
The freshman forward’s career high was 28 points and 13 rebounds against Bethany. Clark came off the bench to score his career-high the week before he was named conference player of the week on Feb. 4.
Clark said, “There is not a greater feeling than putting on that jersey and stepping on that floor to give it all you have. God gave me the talent to play and it is not me out there. Let God get all the glory and honor.”
Clark ended the regular season with 409 points and 262 total rebounds. Clark was the top rebounder for the Moundbuilders and was placed 11th for total rebounds in the country.
O’Brien said, “Cam is one of the best rebounders in the nation and is becoming a very good offensive player.”
Johnson is the other fresh face for the Moundbuilders. He entered the Moundbuilders this season.
“Taylor is an extremely good shooter and does a nice job of taking care of the basketball for us,” said O’Brien.
His opening game was the same as Clark’s. He marked 13 points helping the Builders beat the Saints 79-74.
“The competition is very tough, but it has also made me a better player. I learned very quickly how tough I’m going to have to play in order to compete at the college level,” said Johnson.
During the regular conference season, he recorded 327 points and 74 rebounds. He had 22 points, making it his career high, on Dec. 1 facing Kansas Wesleyan Coyotes. Johnson finished the game with five triples and five-for-five from the free-throw line.
Johnson concluded regular play with 40 percent field goals, 38 percent from long range and 82 percent from the penalty line.
“I just go out there on the court and play to the best of my ability each time I play,” said Johnson. “It’s very competitive, and that is what I love most about it.”
“Sky is the limit for both players if they continue to work hard,” said O’Brien.
These three new faces have helped in abundance the Builder basketball teams throughout the season.
Angel Vadillo is a sophomore majoring in communication. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.