It will be no ordinary conference opener for the Black Hills State University men’s basketball team when the Jackets host Western State Colorado University Friday night in the Young Center.
On the opponents sidelines will be former head coach Bradd Schafer, who left the Jackets after last season to coach at his alma mater. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
It’s not unusual for a coach to come back and go up against his former team, although it doesn’t always happen in the first year. What makes this a little unique is that not only is it in Schafer’s first year away, but it just happens to be in the conference opener at the old stomping ground.
Schafer spent eight seasons in Spearfish, four of which as the head coach. During those eight years at Black Hills, Schafer was 55-58 with the Jackets as head coach. Schafer also led the Yellow Jackets during a transitional period as Black Hills State moved from the NAIA to the NCAA Division II and into the RMAC.
As far as the game goes, the Mountaineers are 1-3 overall, coming off two losses last weekend at the Colorado Mesa Invitational, losing to Texas A&M International University 70-67 and Angelo State University 89-73. Their lone win was over West Texas A&M University 97-88.
The Jackets, 2-4 under first-year head coach Jeff Trumbauer, own wins over rival South Dakota School of Mines 72-67 in overtime and Montana Tech 70-58. Both were at home. In their last outing on Saturday in Billings, Mont., Black Hills State fell to MSU-Billings 79-61.
Senior guard Brody Brisk leads the Jackets in scoring this season at 10.0 points a game, followed by junior guard Myles Henry at 9.5 per game.
Western State will be at Chadron State Saturday night, while Black Hills State will host Colorado Mesa on Saturday night, Colorado Mesa is 5-1 overall and has received votes in the latest NABC/Division II Coaches Poll.
As is normally the case in the Rocky Mountain Athletic conference, the BHSU women’s team will open things up both nights as they look to get off to a strong start in league play. Western State is 1-3 on the season, while Mesa is 3-1 and ranked 14th in the country in the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) poll.
The Mesa game will be a matchup of last year’s RMAC tournament title contest in which the Mavericks held off the Yellow Jackets 73-55.
Mesa was picked first in the RMAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll, while the Jackets were selected second.
Senior guard Chelsey Biegler once again paces the Yellow Jackets in scoring at 10.3 points a game, followed by sophomore Taylor Trohkimoinen at 9.0 a game.