Hoops trending upward
by Scott Harris, Assistant Sports Information Director
basketball2012The Tiger Basketball team continued their year-to-year improvement under head coach Dee Vick ’94 as they won 19 games after winning 17 a season ago. H-SC earned a first-round bye in the ODAC Tournament, courtesy of securing the #4 seed in the tournament. Facing #5-seeded Lynchburg College in the quarterfinals, the Tigers defeated the Hornets 82-60 to earn a shot against #1-seed Virginia Wesleyan in the semi-finals. After leading for most of the second-half, the Tigers ended up falling by just two points. The team had a chance to win the game at the buzzer, but a three pointer hit off the front of the rim.

Hampden-Sydney had several notable regular season games. On Senior Day, the Tigers defeated archrival Randolph-Macon 79-71. H-SC also defeated Patrick Henry College 140-40, en route to getting airtime on SportsCenter and other ESPN shows. The Tigers won the Huntingdon College Classic and the Bojangles Christmas Classic. Hampden-Sydney swept conference foes Washington & Lee, Lynchburg, and Bridgewater, while also defeating Eastern Mennonite, Roanoke, and Emory & Henry. The Tigers also secured a season split with Randolph-Macon and Randolph College.

The 19-8 record is the most wins by a Tiger team since 2007 (19-11) and the highest winning percentage (70.4%) since the 2004 team won 83.3% of their contests. Two student-athletes earned All-ODAC honors: junior forward Harrison George was tabbed First-Team All-ODAC for the second straight year and sophomore center Khobi Williamson earned Third-Team honors.

George finished the season averaging 16.7 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.9 steals. He shot 57.5% from the floor and 69% from the free throw line. He led the team in rebounds, assists, steals, and total points scored, making him one of only three players in the conference to lead his team in all four categories. George also eclipsed the 1,000-point mark early in the season and now has 1,335 points, good for 11th in school history. Williamson averaged 10.8 points along with 6.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks a contest. He led the conference in field goal percentage at 63.7% and was fourth in blocked shots.
Seniors Ru White and Ben Jessee closed out their career this year. Jessee concluded his career with 1,164 points, placing him 26th in school history. He also canned 216 three-pointers as he made 50 or more in all four of his seasons. This year, he averaged a career-best 11.3 points and 43.9% shooting. White played just two years at H-SC but made a big impact in both seasons. A full-time starter both years, he finished his career with 576 points, 295 rebounds, 129 assists, 71 steals, and 46 blocks.

The Tigers will lose just two players to graduation, and with a strong freshman class and many players showing tremendous year-to-year improvement, look for the 2013 Tigers to contend for their 11th ODAC Championship and a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

Mavromatis Brothers Ready for Final Run Together
by Jac Coyne
(This article originally appeared in Lacrosse Magazine on January 25, 2012, and is reprinted with permission.)

Carter Mavromatis has a stress ball in the center console of his car; you know, those memory-foam orbs that supposedly whisk away angst with a couple of squeezes. On his drive back to Hampden-Sydney from his home in Virginia Beach earlier this month, Mavromatis had that ball in a death grip.

As a pre-dental major, it’s somewhat understandable, but all of the agitation Mavromatis was feeling was due to the impending lacrosse season.

“I was sweating coming back from Christmas break just thinking about the exciting games we have coming up: the Roanokes, Lynchburgs, and W&Ls,” Mavromatis said in his standard coastal twang. “I’m pumped. I’m up for the challenge, for sure.”

The senior middie is typically known for his laid-back, beach attitude, but as one of the key cogs in the Tiger machine that has sky-high expectations this spring, he can’t help but get excited about the prospects that this season hold. It will be extra special for Mavromatis because he’ll have a very familiar face on the field with him—his younger brother Corey, a freshman this year.

He’s familiar to Carter, but the rest of the players and coaches on the team feel like they know Corey, as well. That’s because he’s basically a replica of his older brother. They are even confused with each other on campus with roughly the same build—5-foot-10 and 160 pounds, or so—and looks.

“Around here we’re getting that all the time, people saying we look like twins,” Carter said. “From our eyes, we just sort of say, ‘What?’ But we get that all the time.”

“Corey is just like Carter, other than fact that he is right-handed,” said Hampden-Sydney head coach Ray Rostan. “Corey is the same kid. He comes in and he smiles. Those kids never make you unhappy. They never have a down day. If they have a down day, you wouldn’t know it. They come in, smile and work hard.”

Where they appear as identical twins—or at least mirror images—is when they step on the field.

“We have our differences, but from me growing up going to his games, watching what he did and what made him successful, I would try those things in my practices and games, and I found that they made me successful, too,” Corey said. “I grew up watching him and mimicking what he was doing.”

Unlike some brother combinations that compete over everything imaginable, the Brothers Mavromatis have a more laid-back relationship. “For the most part, we’ve been really close friends rather than brothers,” Corey said. The only time the two would really get heated was when they competed against each other growing up, whether it was in soccer, basketball or lacrosse.

“We had the brother duel once in a while, but it was mainly just feeding off each other,” Carter said. “He was someone who I could actually play one-on-one. My senior and junior year of high school, kids my age wouldn’t put up as good a one-on-one battle as Corey would in ninth grade. He has great athletic ability. I just grew up playing with him and getting better at whatever it was.”

Said Corey: “I remember when my brother was playing JV basketball and I would just go and hang out at practice. Their coach would grab me and say, ‘Guard your brother and foul him as much as you want to.’ We’d get after it. I wasn’t always playing by the rules because I was a lot smaller, but it definitely helped him and it definitely helped me toughen up.”
The two may combine one last time in hopes of getting Hampden-Sydney into the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2003.

Carter is a proven playmaker out of the midfield, and has produced since the day he arrived at Hampden-Sydney after starring at Cape Henry Collegiate School. He has notched at least 30 points every season, including last year’s 56-point performance, and he led the Tigers in assists (30) last year. Corey is a natural attackman who is extremely dangerous behind the cage, but Rostan said the rookie will likely see the bulk of his time in the midfield considering Sydney’s senior-laden attack unit returning this year.

If Corey is running at attack or on the same midfield line as his older brother, they’ll be hoping to reenact their lone season together four years ago when Carter was a senior and Corey a frosh.

“I’d credit about 70 percent of my goals to him that year because he was getting double-teamed left and right, and he’d set me up for crease dunk,” said Corey. “That was probably our strongest year where we connected the most.”

However, if Corey winds up on the second midfield line with two other highly touted rookies, including the younger brother of Cole Hawthorne, who led Sydney in points last spring, Carter knows he’ll do just fine. Even though Corey blew out his knee during his junior soccer season, he’s back to full strength heading into 2012.

“There are not many guys who can stop his quickness,” Carter said. “He’s a real shifty guy. We’ve got a lot of good freshmen, which is pretty exciting.”

If the two brothers mesh as well on the field as they do off it, that stress ball may get a long rest this spring.