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Saturday June 6, 2020
Norse Men Set To Open 2019-'20 Season Downstate

This story was written by Bay College SID Mike Pankow

The Bay College Men's Basketball Team will look to improve on a 20-10 record as they begin play their 2019-2020 season this weekend.  The Norse roster will feature five returners and nine freshmen.

Third year Head Coach Matt Johnson boasts a 42-17 record over his tenure at Bay College.  A season ago the Norse dropped their first two games before setting the tone of the season with six straight victories. 

They would finish the regular season strong, winning five of their last six, including their last four games.  Bay would fall in postseason play, losing to Dakota County Technical College, a team they split with in the regular season.

Coach Johnson talked about the preparation for the season.  "As a coach you are never ready enough for the first game, but I couldn't be more proud of the work this group has put in.  They stood nose-to-nose with NMU last week, and while it displayed plenty of room for improvement, we played hard, didn't back down, and did some really good things.  I'm excited to get the season underway and I know the guys are as well."

Local standout, Ryan Robinette (SO, Escanaba, MI), leads the group of returning student-athletes on this year's team.  Robinette was second on the team in minutes played (25.4 per game) last season, as well as being the second leading scorer (12.1 points per game).  He also led the team in three-point attempts, shooting 32.9% from beyond the arc, all while accumulating 48 assists and 37 steals. 

Also returning as a team leader this season is Christian Alexander (SO, Dorset, UK).  Alexander shot 63.1% from the floor a year ago, averaged 7.9 points per game, 5.0 rebounds per game, and blocked 25 shots.

Cade Contreras (SO, Munising, MI), Dondre Yohe (SO, Ishpeming, MI), and Luke Mattson (SO, Negaunee, MI) round out the list of returners for the Norse.  Contreras appeared in 27 games last season and shot 38.5% from three.  Mattson also gained valuable experience, playing in 26 games and shooting 37.5%.  Yohe averaged 7.8 minutes in 14 games, but showed a knack for rebounding as he would pull down 15 rebounds in his limited time.

Coach Johnson reloaded his roster with plenty of talent.  Five of the nine players call the U.P. and the surrounding area home, one is from just across the border in Marinette, and three have made the trek up from the Detroit area.

Tyler Beauchamp (FR, Kingsford, MI) left Kingsford as the all-time leading scorer in school history.  He averaged twenty points a game, five rebounds a game, and three assists per game.  Another guard, Chris Dobessi (FR, Detroit, MI) scored 14 points a game and grabbed seven rebounds a game and was a Honorable Mention All-Conference selection from Wayne Memorial High School last year.  

Khalid Fleming (FR, Detroit, MI) is another well-decorated athlete.  He surpassed the 1,000 point mark in his high school career and averaged 16 points and six assists per game his senior year at Lincoln Park High School.

Austin Forbes (FR, Gwinn, MI) is the third guard on the list to score more than 1,000 points in his high school career.  He would end up averaging 17 points and seven assists his senior season.  

Marcus Harris (FR, Brimley, MI) would help lead his high school team to 23 straight victories his senior year.  He managed to score 17 points, grab five rebounds, deal out four assists, and have three steals per game while surpassing 1,000 points in his career. 

Rounding out the backcourt freshman group is Mason Saubert (FR, Wakefield, MI) and Matt Wagner (FR, Marinette, WI).  Saubert set school records in three-point baskets in a game (11), three-point baskets in a season (98), and points in a season (422), all while averaging 16 points, five points, and five assists in his senior season.  Wagner is a four-year varsity letter winner and scored 22 points, grabbed seven rebounds, and had three assists a game as a senior. 

Xaviel Fields (FR, Detroit, MI) and Tristan Masuga (FR. Cedarville, MI) will look to add to the front court this season for the Norse.  Romulus High School graduate Fields stands at 6'6" and averaged ten points, five rebounds, and five steals during his senior season.  Masuga was a three-year varsity starter in high school, and averaged 14 points and eight rebounds during his senior campaign. 

"We are excited to get the opportunity to play a game against someone wearing a different jersey," said Coach Johnson.  "This is the hardest working group that we have had in the three years here, they have been beating each other up and are ready for game action."  

Bay will kick off the season on the road with games at Grand Rapids Community College and Kellogg Community College on November 1 and 2.  Their regular season home opener is scheduled for November 18 against UW-Green Bay, Marinette.  They will also play host to Alpena Community College on November 25, before they host their first of two Holiday Tournaments.

The Qulaity Inn & Suites Holiday Classic will take place on December 14 and 15.  Bay will host Harper College and Milwaukee Area Technical College on those two days.  New to the schedule this year is the Quality Inn & Suites New Year's Tournament on January 3 and 4.  The Norse will face Sault College in the opening round. 

As it is being played in a true tournament fashion, the January 4 time and opponent will depend on the results of the first day of competition.  Bay will face either Gogebic Community College or Western Technical College.

Bay will start the second semester slate of games with a home matchup with Gogebic Community College on January 15, Dakota County Technical College on January 18, and Finlandia University on January 25. 

They will finish their regular season home schedule with a match up against Bryant & Stratton College (WI) on February 8.

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