For Carr And Cabrini College, Rough Ride In New Season The Junior Has Been Sidelined By Illness And A Knee Injury. The Team Has Struggled To Go 4-4.

Posted: January 02, 1995

Cabrini College men's basketball coach John Dzik has grown into an unabashed Billy Carr fan over the last couple of seasons.

Carr, a 6-foot-5 pogo stick, has been a legitimate NCAA Division III star

from the day he stepped on the Cabrini campus. In fact, the former Monsignor Bonner forward averaged 17.5 points per game and was one of the reasons that the Cavaliers went 23-4 last season and earned a bid in the Middle Atlantic Region Division III playoffs.

Dzik expected Carr, a junior, to continue to progress this season, then next season perhaps make a run at Division III all-America honors.

However, Carr has had nothing but bad luck this season.

First, he was slowed by spinal meningitis. After he overcame that, Carr suffered a double tear of the medial meniscus in his left knee. He had arthroscopic surgery on Dec. 7, and when he will return is still up in the air.

"It's really been a shame for Billy," Dzik said. "He was on pace to go over 1,000 points by early December. Plus, he was on target to set some pretty nice school records here."

Without Carr, the Cavaliers have struggled, logging a 4-4 mark as they head to Dubuque, Iowa, to begin play in the National Catholic Basketball Tournament. Despite its .500 mark, Cabrini enters the tournament as the No. 1 seed. That's because the Cavaliers are the winningest team in the tournament's history and are coming off last season's fine record.

Cabrini will play its first-round game Wednesday against Illinois Benedictine College, a Division III school. The winner will face the winner of the St. Xavier (Ill.)-Carroll College of Montana game.

Cabrini's nationally ranked women's team (10-0), led by former Cardinal O'Hara player Megan Dillon, also will make the trip, taking on St. Thomas Aquinas (N.Y.) in Wednesday's first round.

"We love to go to this tournament because it gives us a chance to play against good teams from all over the country," Dzik said. "But the tournament directors aren't doing us any favors by seeding us number one. Now everyone will be gunning for us."

Another former area high school standout, Eric Tidwell, has been a bright spot for the men's team. Tidwell, a Penn Wood graduate, has averaged 10 points and 12 rebounds per game at forward.

"Eric has been our most consistent player through the first eight games," Dzik said. "Which is great for Eric. He has toiled in the shadow of Danny Barracliff, Brad Dever and Billy Carr in his career. But now, with Danny and Brad gone to graduation and Billy battling injuries, Eric has worked hard and has emerged as a star for us."

LONG LAYOFF. When his team returns to action on Sunday, Valley Forge Military Junior College coach Jim Casciano might have to pass out those ''Hello, my name is . . ." tags to his players before he rolls out a single basketball.

The reason? His team's last game was on Dec. 14.

"It's a really long layoff. . . . I just hope my players have been running and playing some pickup ball while they've been back home for the holidays," Casciano said. "It's really like starting all over again."

Leading the way for Valley Forge, which is 5-2, have been guard Brian Butler and forward Michael Bryson, both 20-points-per-game scorers.

It shouldn't be tough for Casciano to motivate his troops to get back into shape quickly. That's because on Jan. 13 Valley Forge will host Community

College of Philadelphia, which beat Casciano's team, 89-81, earlier this season.

WIDENER WINS. The Widener men's basketball team ended 1994 on an up note. The Pioneers improved to 7-3 by winning the King's College Holiday Tournament last week in Wilkes-Barre.

In the first round of the tournament Wednesday, Widener overcame a four- point halftime deficit to defeat Hilbert College (N.Y.), 57-51. Widener guard Chris Carideo, a Division III all-America candidate, led all players with 30 points.

The next night, the Pioneers captured the championship with a 79-58 victory over host King's College. Once again, Carideo took scoring honors with 19 points. He was selected all-tournament, along with another Pioneers guard, Christian Albert, who had 16 points in the title game.

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