For Alec Peterson and Tyler Ault Feb. 22 was the last time they would don the Forester Green jerseys as the men’s basketball team played its final game of the regular season. The 75-72 loss to Taylor University halted the seniors’ dreams of putting together a run at making one final return trip to the National Stage in Branson.
The Foresters finished the season 14-16 overall and 4-14 in conference.
Despite the fact that HU finished in a three-way with Taylor and Spring Arbor University, the eighth spot in the Crossroads League tournament was granted to SAU. SAU had the best record against the other two teams, therefore stealing the eighth and final seed.
Suffering from the growing pains of a young team, head coach Ty Platt said that one of his team’s biggest obstacles was learning “what it takes to compete in the [Crossroads] League.”
“It is a fine line between winning and losing,” Platt said. “We have been right against that line. Our guys will continue to strive to get over that line and win.”
Looking back at the season, sophomore Daniel Woll said that communication will continue to be a big area to improve on.
“We’ve really been working on [a] way to communicate better on and off the court,” Woll said. “We’re kind of a quieter team with being such a young team with all of the freshmen.”
Woll said that being able to be physical on both the offensive and defensive end of the court as well as rebounding will be aspects the team will continue to focus on as well.
Going into the offseason, freshman Trevor Lockwood says that the team plans to work on becoming mentally and physically tougher, growing together as a team.
“I think the team is looking to improve our strength,” sophomore Derek Hinen said. “That has been the biggest thing we’ve had problems with – strength and toughness.”
One of the strengths of the team was their closeness, Woll said.
“I think our greatest strength this season has been our ability to grow closer to each other,” Woll said. “We’re a pretty tight knit group of guys. We all love each other, loving going to practice and going to games together. I think our unity as a team really keeps us together and keeps us going.”
While the team will greatly miss Peterson’s height and both his and Ault’s defensive contribution, the team will look forward to its incoming freshman class. Platt has already begun to sign notable high school standouts, such as twins, Zach and Josh Rutland of Scecina Memorial high school. Both are three year starters who have helped guide their team to successful seasons as well as a No. 1 ranking for Scecina in its 2A class.
Also signing with the Foresters is Columbia City’s Mason Coverstone.