The men’s basketball season concluded last weekend after being knocked out of the SCAC Championship in a semifinals match against Schreiner University at Colorado College.
The fourth-seeded Tigers kicked off the tournament with an easy 63-47 victory against Colorado College on Friday afternoon. The team was led by a combination of senior point guard Matt Jones and junior forward Danny Rivara.
Jones led the Tigers by grabbing seven rebounds and dishing out five assists. Rivara scored 14 points in the opening round; the Tigers shot an impressive 40 percent from the floor as they cruised to victory.
It was a different story when the Tigers were stacked up against Schreiner, who went on to win the championship. Though the Tigers lost 74–67, the teams were neck and neck throughout the game, with Trinity behind by just two at the half.
Again, Jones and Rivara led the Tigers. Jones made six rebounds and three assists; Rivara was the team’s high-scorer at 18 points.
Despite the loss, assistant coach Ross Burt was proud of his team.
“It is always a challenge to play back-to-back games, especially in the Colorado altitude, but I thought our guys did a great job at pushing through the fatigue and played well against eventual champion, Schreiner. It was a terrific high-level game, but unfortunately we didn’t shoot the ball as well as we needed to beat a good team,” Burt said. “Overall, I thought we were playing our best basketball as a team at the end of the season.”
Junior Nylan Yancy commented on the results from the weekend.
“I don’t know if anything necessarily went wrong so much as were on the short end of the stick that game. Didn’t quite execute like we needed to down the stretch. However getting that near 20 point win on Colorado, the host team, that was great. Definitely a highlight,” Yancy said.
The weekend marks the end of Jones’ Trinity basketball career.
“Our first game, our defense was locked in. We stopped some of the best offensive players in the conference and made their offense look nearly inept. The next day we just sadly couldn’t make enough plays down the stretch to beat Schreiner,” Jones said.
Jones reflected on his final season.
“I hope they keep this momentum we have built up the last couple of years and keep moving forward in the right direction,” Jones said. “I would say we had a good season overall. We beat several teams that are playing in the NCAA tournament and we improved both our overall and conference records this season from last season. What would I have done differently? Shoot more.”
Yancy also reflected on the season.
“If I had to right our season I’d say the loss to Austin was our biggest blow,” Yancy said, referring to the Tigers’ Jan. 28 game, when they fell 88-85. “The season has its ups and downs, but for a team that wants to contend for a conference title to lose to a team that low really toughened our position going into playoffs. We just learned you have to be ready to hoop every game or risk playing down to your competition and taking a loss you shouldn’t.”
Yancy expressed hope for the future.
“As someone who’s played three seasons for two different schools during his post-high school career I can say I’m happy to be a Trinity Tiger with a little more potency,” Yancy said. “Although we fell short I’m not hanging my head. We’ve got a good group of guys who play hard and are hungry every game for a [win]. We didn’t achieve all we wanted, but I’m proud of our organization from top to bottom.”
Burt is also looking towards the future.
“Anytime you graduate a good senior class, your team’s leadership will shift to the next group,” Burt said. “I think these three seniors have done a great job at getting this team headed towards future success, and I’m optimistic that our returners will continue to improve and come together, like we did towards the end of this season, to have a successful 2018–19.”
with additional reporting by Kendra Derrig, sports editor