BY JEFF FALK
Joey Meehan defines success with one simple variable – winning. And by those standards, 2011-12 was not the senior season that he had envisioned.
The sun is setting on Meehan’s very good Division Three basketball career at Lebanon Valley College. But as it does, Meehan’s focus is not on the horizon, but on ways to prolong his daylight.
At 10-11 overall and 3-7 in the Commonwealth Conference, the campaign has been a disappointment for the Flying Dutchmen who Meehan spearheads. Lebanon Valley has lost four straight games and is just 3-7 on the road.
“My main job is to win games,” said Meehan. “I need to score and distribute, both at the same time. I felt like I’ve done it as well as I can. My numbers are down from last year. But if we’re shooting 30 percent across the board, there’s not going to be assists for anyone.
“I really don’t have personal goals,” Meehan continued. “I just want to play well, hopefully play well enough to get my team to a championship. As far as Player of the Year or All-American, I don’t worry about that stuff as much. To be honest, you don’t get those things if your team is 10-15 at the end of the year.
“It’s definitely been and up and down season. We’ve had some games where we came out and played really well. And other games where we’ve been flat.”
Not all hope is lost. If LVC could find some way to get back on track, win its four remaining games, get help and qaulify for the Commonwealth Conference playoffs, the NCAA Division Three and ECAC postseasons aren’t out of the realm of possibility.
“I was expecting a championship,” said Meehan. “That’s what I expect every year. We knew we had a lot of pieces coming back. We thought we had the pieces to make another run. But we still have a chance. We’ve got to win the next four games. We’ve got to come together and hope for some luck.
“Take it back to last year,” Meehan added. “We were 1-4, we won the rest of our games and got second (in the Commonwealth Conference). The league is always like that. Everyone beats everyone.
“It’s a tough question. The season is not over yet. But the spot we’re in, I’m not exactly thrilled with the way my senior has gone. But the season’s not lost yet.”
The sharpest thorns in Lebanon Valley’s side this season has been its shooting and defense. The Flying Dutchmen stroke it at a .444 clip and surrendered about 71 points per game.
“They’re both of our biggest problems,” said Meehan, a biology major. “When you’re shooting 30 percent, it’s tough to win. Defensively, we’ve been trying to find our niche. The games where we’ve gotten it together we shoot 45 percent and hold teams to 60 points.
“It starts on the defensive end for us,” continued Meehan. “We’re not the greatest halfcourt-offense team. We need to get stops, get defensive rebounds and get out in transition and shoot lay-ups. We need energy on the defensive end.”
But no matter what happens Meehan’s place in LVC basketball lore is secure. He is recognized as one of the finest point guards head coach Brad McAleter has recruited.
“Yeah, so far I can’t complain about the career I’ve had,” said Meehan. “I’ve been given a great opportunity to start all four years and run the show all four years. Coach (McAlester) gave me a lot of freedom. To this point, I just wish this year would’ve gone a little better for us.
“I hope the other guys look to me,” added Meehan. “I’ve been a captain since I was a sophomore. I do my best to lead by example, play hard and do the things I need to do.”
Currently in his senior campaign, Meehan is averaging 17.2 points per game and about four assists an outing. But at .659, his free throw shooting is a bit off.
Last season, Meehan was named to the Commonwealth Conference’s first team and was second in the league in scoring. In his Lebanon Valley career, Meehan has tallied almost 1,400 points.
“Winning a championship, whether it’s an ECAC or in the conference, but last year we really came together,” said Meehan, who was the MVP of the ECAC tournament that LVC hosted last year. “That was really a highlight of my career. And getting a thousand points, and giving the ball to my mom in the stands, that was special for me.
“It’s (the end) been lingering in my mind the last five to ten games,” Meehan continued. “I’m trying to prolong it as much as I can. If we can win four, maybe we can play more. I just want to finish on a good note.
“I’m always trying to play my best. This is it, do or die. I’ve got to give it all I got.”