A Look at the Lynx: NHTI basketball’s playoff pictureThe playoff picture for Lynx Basketball

Sterling Blakely shoots a 3-pointer for NHTI.

Sterling Blakely shoots a 3-pointer for NHTI. Berkley Stevens—NHTI

Published: 02-19-2024 10:00 AM

NHTI Lynx men’s and women’s basketball teams wrap up their regular season this week. The men’s team closed out the regular season with a 96-88 win Sunday afternoon over Five Towns College. The women’s team has one remaining game against Northern Essex Community College on Tuesday night.

Both teams have played their final in-conference game, and their playoff seeds have been determined. Heading into the quarter-final round of the Yankee Small College Conference Tournament, the women’s team is seeded seventh. They will be on the road to face off against the second-seed, University of Maine-Augusta, this Saturday. While they may be an underdog in the tournament, Lynx women’s basketball is also eyeing other great accomplishments still possible this season.

The Lynx men’s basketball holds the top seed for the upcoming tournament. Their opening-round matchup is set against Paul Smith’s College this Saturday at 1 p.m. In what was the largest upset in the tournament last year, Paul Smith’s College beat NHTI 86-80 to end the playoff run for the Lynx. 

Power, not pressure

Last year the expectation for Lynx men’s basketball was to at least make an appearance in the YSCC Championship Game. Having their hearts broken at home against Paul Smith’s College in the opening round was not on anyone’s radar. With the same opening-round matchup this year, it raised questions with how the returning men’s basketball players feel about the pressure of the rematch.

There is a more serious tone surrounding the playoffs this time around. When asked about the rematch, Lynx point guard, Joe Cantey said, “It’s more motivational than pressure. I know what we are capable of achieving and so does the rest of the team.”

The Lynx met the Paul Smith’s College Bobcats twice in the regular season. In both meetings, the Lynx won. The first by a score of 101-66, and the second by a score of 108-70.

If the Lynx make the second round, they will face whoever wins between No. 4 Vermont State University-Randolph and No. 5 U-Maine-Augusta.

This season’s YSCC Tournament is being hosted at NHTI. Meaning that after the quarterfinals, the Lynx would have home-court advantage the rest of the way.

The goals for women’s basketball

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Lynx women’s basketball has a difficult road ahead. They face Northern Essex Community College on Tuesday to finish the regular season. NECC is a team the Lynx have already beaten in a close contest 55-50 earlier this season. It’s a chance to hone their approach to the playoffs in what will be a highly competitive game.

Opening their playoff run against the U-Maine Moose is no easy task. They have one of the highest scoring offenses in the nation and have only lost two conference matchups this season.

There is some comfort in being such a massive underdog. The Lynx will be shooting freely and quickly on each possession. The goals are realistic. A first-round victory is unlikely, but there are other milestones on the line.

For Lynx senior Janessa Lofton (Nashua / Nashua North High School), it is likely her final week of collegiate basketball. With the season down to its final few games, she has been an offensive machine in hopes of hitting the 1,000-point milestone.

Currently, Lofton has 978 career points, 22 shy of 1,000. Oddly enough, she has scored 22 points in each of the previous two games. With two guaranteed games left, it seems she could hit the coveted career milestone.