Huntington University’s men’s basketball head coach spoke with the Huntingtonian about his team’s experience on the NAIA National Tournament stage.
By Sarah Disbro, Staff Writer
It had been eight years since then Huntington Men’s Basketball Head Coach Ty Platt led the Foresters to a national tournament appearance. Platt was in his sixth year as coach.
In just his second season, current head coach, Kory Alford, joined Platt in the tournament ranks.
“We try not to talk too much about end-of-year goals; we focus on the daily process,” Huntington men’s basketball head coach, Kory Alford, said. “Making the tournament was something we felt this team could achieve and is an expectation for our basketball program every year.”
Alford’s team had success down the final stretch of their season, posting wins against four conference-ranked opponents, including an upset win over Saint Francis in the Crossroads League Tournament.
This was the first time any current players had experienced a national tournament trip.
“Moving forward it’s a good experience to go through, to understand what it takes to get there, and then what it takes to advance,” Alford said.
During the ten-hour bus ride all the way down to Alabama, the Foresters were able to make a pit stop at Vanderbilt University, which has a Division I athletics program. The team’s excitement could be seen as many took to different social media platforms to show off their time at Vanderbilt.
“Anytime we can experience different things, I think that’s all part of being a part of a basketball program at the college level. It was definitely a big experience for our guys that they enjoyed.”
The team’s success against ranked opponents followed them to Alabama, where the Foresters enjoyed another upset over Georgetown College in their first game.
“I thought it was a testament to our guys and their preparation,” Alford said. “I thought we executed our game plan extremely well. Just really proud of our guys and how we performed, and for them to play as well as they did to get that win was great to see.”
HU’s tournament run ended in the next round against Faulkner University. A close game all the way through, Faulkner was able to pull away in the end to win it 88-80. Speaking on the loss, Alford had nothing but praise for his team.
“It definitely hurt, but I think when your basketball program can get to the point where you care so much that it does feel that way, it is a great thing. I think it helps us become better coaches and a better team moving forward just having been there.”
Looking ahead to next season, the Foresters will return all players except Caleb Middlesworth, a senior who finished his career eleventh in HU’s all-time scoring. Yet, the expectations remain high for Alford’s team.
“We put in a lot of work to get where we got to in March, and it all resets. We’ll work towards that goal of making the national tournament again.”