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Mighty Oaks Men's Basketball Gears Up for Season

Team features seven returning players

The Mighty Oaks men's basketball team is gearing up for an exciting 2013-14 season that includes an NCAA Division II opponent, a tournament in Yonkers and a run of home games to close out the season.

The Mighty Oaks, beginning their second year as a varsity team, are returning seven players from last year's squad, including three who were regular starters. The starters back for another year are point guard Matt Kowalski of Depew (junior, construction management), shooting guard and 2012-13 leading scorer Danny MacElrath of Milton (junior, environmental resource engineering) and center Sage Beemer of Fleischmanns (sophomore, construction management). Also returning to the team are seniors Christian Jenne of Dryden (aquatic science and fisheries), Andrew LaPolt V of Gloversville (environmental resource engineering) and Brett Zimmerman of Round Top (wildlife science) and sophomore forward Ray George of North Java (paper engineering).

The Mighty Oaks will begin their season against a strong exhibition opponent as they visit NCAA Division II perennial power Kutztown University in Pennsylvania Oct. 26.

"The trip to Kutztown will be a good preseason test for the team," said Coach Scott Blair. "The Golden Bears have won three Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference East Division titles in the last five years and developed a handful of NBA and international basketball talent, but I'm confident the Mighty Oaks will rise to the challenge."

ESF will begin the regular season 1 p.m. Nov. 2 at Broome Community College. The fall slate includes games against local opponents Onondaga Community College (7 p.m. Nov. 6), Cazenovia College (7 p.m. Nov. 21), Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (1 p.m. Nov. 23) and the Culinary Institute of America (1 p.m. Dec. 15).

ESF will open the spring schedule with a four-team tournament Jan. 10 and 11 at Sarah Lawrence College . The trip to Yonkers will see the Mighty Oaks match up against the Sarah Lawrence Griffins at 8 p.m. Jan. 10. Second-round play will begin the afternoon of Jan. 11. ESF will play four home games in the spring, hosting the Culinary Institute of America (1 p.m. Jan. 18. at the Institute of Technology at Syracuse Central), Green Mountain College ( 8 p.m. Jan. 22 at Onondaga Community College), Berkeley College of New York (1 p.m. Feb. 9 at Onondaga Community College) and Senior Day against Davis College (1 p.m. Feb. 15 at the Institute of Technology).

"With a talented group of incoming recruits and a strong returning group, the Mighty Oaks hope to be in contention for a USCAA National Tournament berth come March at Penn State Fayette," said Blair.

For the complete schedule, visit the team's website at: http://www.esf.edu/athletics/basketball/default.htm