The Thomas College men’s basketball team returned just five players from a team that finished 12-14 last season, which forced coach Geoff Hensley to press a proverbial reset button.

“We’re basically a brand new team,” he said. “We had to do a lot of things over in a way. We knew this season was going to be a process.”

It’s certainly been one of streaks.

The Terriers (4-5 overall, 1-2 in the North Atlantic Conference) opened the season with two consecutive losses before bouncing back with two victories. Thomas then proceeded to drop three straight before stopping that skid with two consecutive victories, including a 91-83 non-conference decision over the University of Maine at Augusta on Wednesday night.

“We’re getting there,” Hensley said. “We’ve won two in a row now and I can see us coming together. We have a lot of guys who are adjusting to this game, guys who are learning. We’ve also had a little bit of adversity.”

Levi Barnes, a Skowhegan native and starting senior forward/guard, missed the last two games after getting hit in the mouth in a Dec. 4 game at Green Mountain.

Barnes averages 15.3 points a game — good for second on the team behind Tyheem Simon (19.0).

Senior Justin Murray, of Winslow, has started in Barnes’ absence.

“Justin has been playing great,” Hensley said. “He plays great defense. He played 35 minutes (against UMA) and really did a nice job. The fact that we’ve won two games without Levi is a good thing. When he comes back, we’ll be even better.

“Levi is going to have a great senior year. We talked a lot about winning in the offseason. He’s buying into the process and we need him to do all the little things. He’s going to get his points but if he can contribute with rebounds and on defense, that’s how we’ll win games. He’s really becoming a multi-dimensional basketball player.”

Thomas next travels to the University of Maine at Presque Isle for a 3 p.m. game Sunday before winter break. Conference play resumes Jan. 5 at UMaine-Farmington.

“We have a very high ceiling,” Hensley said. “The guys are looking forward to a little break but they’ll be ready to go when we get back.”

• • •

The Colby men’s hockey team is 2-1-1 in its last four games after getting blanked by Williams and Middlebury to open the season.

One reason for the recent turnaround?

“Our penalty kill has been outstanding,” Colby coach Blaise MacDonald said.

The special teams unit has been perfect, actually.

The Mules lead all of Division III with a 100 percent penalty kill rate (18 for 18). Hamilton College is second at 96.3 percent.

“We struggled with the penalty kill last year,” MacDonald said. “We’ve been much better at it this year. It starts in net as the best penalty killer is your goalie, but we’ve been blocking a lot of shots and just executing it better.”

Colby sophomore goalie Emerson Verrier has a .947 save percentage and is allowing 1.8 goals a game.

The Mules (2-3-1) host Connecticut College on Friday and Tufts on Saturday. The team will host an open skate with the public after the game Saturday.

Colby hopes to have junior captain Geoff Sullivan (leg injury) back this weekend. Top returning scorer Devin Albert is also coming back from a shoulder injury, which gives the Mules a needed boost.

“We’ve lost a few guys to injury but we have been playing well,” MacDonald said. “We’ll be looking for some consistency moving forward.”

• • •

The Colby women’s basketball team is coming off a busy portion of its schedule, playing four games in eight days, including a contest against Division I Maine (an 82-42 loss). The Mules (6-1) won the other three games in the stretch.

“Four games in (eight) days is a lot,” Colby coach Julie Veilleux said. “We came out of it OK, too. I like where we’re at.”

Hall-Dale graduate Carylanne Wolfington averages 11.3 points a game while center Haley Driscoll is right behind (11.0). Veilleux also said senior Mia Diplock, a Cony graduate, is contributing in all facets of the game as well.

“We have a lot of good returning players,” she said. “We have depth this year, which we haven’t always had in the last three or four years.”

The Mules play at Bowdoin on Saturday before going on break until Jan. 2.

“The break will be good,” Veilleux said. “Hopefully, they can catch their breaths and we’ll just keep building.”

• • •

The UMF ski teams recently opened up practices at Sugarloaf, and coach Scot Hoisington likes what he’s seen on the slopes so far.

“We have a lot of good freshmen out this season,” he said. “We’re kind of in a rebuilding process but we have some good skiers out.”

Jedidiah Stevens, a Mt. Abram graduate, is one of the many newcomers out this winter.

Hoisington also said that Skowhegan native Jacob Violett should also contribute this season.

“Jacob skied with us last year and he really improved a lot,” he said.

The teams open the season Jan. 2 at Sunday River.

Bill Stewart — 621-5618

[email protected]

Twitter: @billstewartMTM

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