BY EMMA PRESBERG – STAFF WRITER
Centre men’s basketball finished the season after falling to Birmingham Southern 77-71 in the SAA conference tournament semi-finals. The Colonels ended the season 14-11 overall and 9-5 in conference play.
First year guard Perry Ayers came into his first collegiate season and quickly found his place. Ayers finished second on the team for points scored with 259, only following sophomore Tucker Sine who finished the season with 367 points.
Ayers described the process of transitioning from high school to college basketball, “It’s a huge difference mentally and physically from high school basketball. From the first day of practice to the first game I could see what I needed to do to up my game and be a successful college basketball player.”
Ayers was certainly successful in elevating his game, earning SAA Newcomer of the Year honors despite only starting in two out of the 14 conference games.
“Being able to provide that spark off the bench for the team helped me to gain much confidence throughout the season,” stated Ayers, crediting his success to the support of his teammates.
Along with winning SAA Newcomer of the Year, Ayers was also garnered an All-Conference Honorable Mention and Tucker Sine was named to the All-Conference First Team.
The Colonels scored an average of 78.2 points per conference game, and allowed an average of 73. This resulted in many contested affairs where the Colonels lost or won by close margins.
Two of these included losses to Birmingham Southern and Hendrix by two points during conference play.
Despite losing in the conference semi-finals, Centre men’s basketball finished second in SAA rankings.
With their two top scorers returning, along with an abundance of young talent, the Colonels hope to continue their success to the 2017-2018 season.
The Centre’s women’s basketball season also came to a close as they fell to Millsaps 63-51 in the first round of the conference tournament. They finished 7-19 overall and 5-9 in conference play – good enough for a 7th place finish in the SAA conference.
Despite a sub-.500 record, the Colonel’s season still had its many bright moments.
Sophomore Abigail Stewart led the Colonels with an average of 6.5 points per game and she gained an SAA All-Conference Honorable Mention.
“I had a great time this season,” said Stewart, “we might not have had the best record, but the team became family this season.”
Stewart is also looking forward to what the future holds for the Colonels, “From this season we can learn that we need to practice as we play. We have to bring the same intensity that we would in a game. That way when it comes game day, we will be ready.”
Senior captain Olivia Alford spoke on the intensity of the Colonels schedule:
“We faced one of the toughest out of conference schedules in the country. Facing these challenges so early in the season, our young team struggled a little bit,” said Alford, who also added,
“Conference this year was more evenly matched than it has been in a long time. Surely any game was winnable for the team that showed up to play…we started out strong with a good with over Sewannee…Our stretch of conference was marked by ups and downs, but when we followed the scout closely and executed defensively we were successful.”
Senior captain Caroline Andresassen finished second in scoring for the Colonels with an average of 6.2 points per game and Lakken Miller chipped in 5.5 points per game as well.
The Colonels top three rebounders were sophomores and with so much young talent atop the stats sheet, the Colonels have a solid foundation for the returning season.