Mighty Quinton Dale
At 6 feet, 4 inches, and 200 pounds, Wheaton College’s Quinton Dale is often undersized in the paint against New England Men's and Women's Athletic Conference foes.
In Wednesday’s 75-57 loss to a 14-4 MIT squad, the freshman from Winthrop went up against a pair of 6-8 forwards in Andrew Acker and Matt Redfield , who rank first and fourth in the NEWMAC, respectively, in rebounding. Dale (inset) posted a team-high 12 points, though Acker and Redfield each registered double-doubles in points and rebounds. Then there’s Tim Swenson , a 6-7 forward at Springfield College, second in the conference in caroms.
Yet that has not derailed Dale from emerging as one of the best young rebounders.
“He's quick off his feet, which is his best advantage,” said Wheaton coach Brian Walmsley of Dale, a Winthrop High and Taft School star. “He's got long arms and excellent timing — he's given us a rebounding boost and is the first interior threat we can go to.”
With six frontcourt players, five who did not have any prior college experience, Walmsley shuffled combinations early in the season and Dale's playing time was inconsistent. But after his team was hammered on the glass, 60-37, in a loss to Worcester State Jan. 4, Walmsley turned to Dale to give Wheaton a boost on the boards.
In the next game against Coast Guard, making his first start, the 19-year-old Dale responded with 18 points and 14 rebounds as Wheaton (7-9, 2-5 NEWMAC) took a 65-53 win.
“Coach gave me a chance against Coast Guard, and I was just trying to keep that spot,” he said. “I was thinking I've got this one chance to make something out of it, and I wanted to make a difference for the team.”
That was first of seven consecutive starts, including six NEWMAC games. In 16 games, Dale is averaging 7.2 points and 5.1 rebounds, but has performed exceptionally well against conference foes (11.7 points, 7.1 rebounds per game). After his game against Coast Guard, Dale fouled out against Clark, but not before scoring 17 points and grabbing 13 rebounds in a win.
So how does Dale make up for the size mismatch he’s often up against? “It's just a lot of effort,” Dale said. “I just try to outwork the guy whether he's 6-10 or 6-2. Height matters and makes a difference, but it just comes down to effort. I learned everything I know from my father. I learned his game and it worked out for me.”
His father, also named Quinton , played with the great Reggie Lewis at Northeastern, captaining the team as a senior (1984-85). Ever since he began coaching his son, he taught him how to neutralize his opponent's size advantage.
“I took a lot of time working with him,” said the elder Dale. “I always worked with him on his spacing, positioning himself for rebounds, and taking away advantages for taller players. We get at it pretty good.”
Dale, who coached his son in Winthrop CYO leagues and on the Fidelity House AAU team, was head coach at Winchester High for 20 years. But after Quinton graduated from Winthrop in 2012, Dale retired to watch his son play at the Taft School, and then at Wheaton.
“It’s been a father’s dream,” he said. “I have not missed one game [at Wheaton] and don’t intend to miss one.”
While the younger Quinton bulled his way into the paint at Winthrop, averaging 18 points per game and 12 rebounds as a senior, he has relied on a repertoire of moves at Wheaton. A right-handed shooter, he uses a left-handed jumper to keep defenders guessing .
He also graduated from Winthrop as the program's leading shot-blocker, and has continued to protect the rim at Wheaton, averaging a team-leading 1.1 blocks per game.
“My dad taught me always to block with my left hand to avoid fouling, and I’ve incorporated a lot of left-handed stuff into my game. He also taught me to play with a lot of emotion and intensity because guys will be bigger than me.”
And even though the younger Dale has had success taking on NEWMAC foes, he knows his dad, at 6-6, is his toughest opponent. Every summer, they play a game of pickup, and he has yet to beat his father.
But the elder Dale knows his days are numbered. “It is circled on the calendar, and I’m not embarrassed to say that I suspect the torch will be passed,” said Dale.
“I think he’ll get me this summer. It’ll be fun.”
Salem State women
After competing as a club sport since 2011, the Salem State women's hockey team will join the ECAC East Conference as a Division 3 varsity program for the 2015-16 season.
“The coaches and players on our current club team have worked tirelessly to lay the foundation for an intercollegiate program and they are to be rewarded with future varsity competition,” said Tim Shea, university athletic director. “Women's ice hockey continues to grow especially in the Northeast, and Salem State is pleased to provide this new and exciting opportunity.”
John Vlachos Jr. has led the Vikings to a 10-0-1 record this season. “This is a great step forward,” said the former Salem State goalie (1981-83).
“This is what our team has been working hard toward the past few years.”
Rookie of the Week
For the fourth time in her exceptional freshman season, Wheelock College freshman Michelle Woods of Wilmington has been tabbed the women’s basketball Rookie of the Week in the New England Collegiate Conference. She scored a career-high 28 points and had 16 rebounds in the Wildcats’ 81-58 victory over Lesley University Jan. 23. She followed with 27 points and eight assists in an 86-62 loss to Elms College Saturday. . . . Salem State women’s basketball junior Rachel Carter netted her 1,000th point Tuesday in the 71-61 win against MCLA. The Merrimack, N.H., graduate needed nine points to reach the milestone.
Anthony Gulizia can be reached at email@example.com.