March 1, 2016
Basketball season is a wrap at Mississippi College. The Choctaws finished their 2015-2016 campaign with an exciting night in A.E. Wood Coliseum. The men’s basketball team defeated Gulf South Conference foe Delta State 71-66 in an epic finale to their season.
The men’s basketball team finished their season with an overall 8-16 record, and 7-15 in the GSC. The team saw several struggles as the season progressed that put a damper on their success. “We had a lot of injuries, and we just had a hard time overcoming them,” Coach Don Lofton said. “Unfortunately, we had the wrong players get hurt, and we just didn’t have enough firepower to replace them.”
Of their 16 losses, 14 of them were lost by ten points or less. The Choctaws fell in six of those games by five points or less. “We just came up short in a lot of those close games,” Lofron said. “We actually had some really nice road wins, though,” The Choctaws upset GSC foes West Alabama, West Florida, Valdosta State, Lee University, and North Alabama on the road.
Although the record book may show otherwise, the Choctaws accomplished quality work throughout the season despite many trials. “It took a lot of us from different schools to come together to try to play as one,” Senior Jonathan McGee said. “Towards the end we came together, but by that point it was too late.”
“We ended the season on a high note with a win against our arch rivals, so that certainly erases some of the pain that we’re feeling from not doing any better than we did,” Lofton said.
The Choctaw’s celebrated their win against Delta State alongside the football team and students. “I didn’t know the rivalry was this big,” McGee said. “It was just amazing to get this win.”
Although the season just ended, the Choctaws are not wasting any time to get back on the court and prepare for the 2016-2017 season. “After spring break, we’re going back in the weight room and we’ll be working with the guys returning,” Lofton said. “They got some experience, so I think they’ll be beneficial for us.”
The Lady Choctaws also had a difficult season due to several different challenges. “We had 13 different lineups, several injuries, six concussions, and three of our scholarship players didn’t get to play,” Head Coach Paul Allen Duke said. “One time we got down to seven players. It was just tough for us.” The Lady Choctaws finished 5-20 overall, and 3-19 in the GSC. “Our girls stuck to it in times when we did play good and when we didn’t play good,” Duke said. “They deserve the credit for sticking with it.”
“We had a lot of things that were thrown our way, and we just had to fight through them,” Senior Shaniqua Love said. “I feel like we did a good job of fighting to the best of our abilities.” The Lady Choctaws earned impressive wins from GSC foes Valdosta State, North Alabama, and West Georgia. The team also defeated cross-town rival Belhaven University early in the season.
With the 2015-2016 season in the books, the players and coaches will soon get back to work to improve for their first full year as a Division II team.
-Michaela Parker, Sports Editor
this article appeared in Vol. 97, Issue 9 of The Mississippi Collegian