When it comes to being frustrated, nothing compares to the men’s basketball team’s latest frustrations: overtime. The Lions have yet to take the win in overtime, losing these last two games against San Diego Christian College and The Master’s College.
The Lions fought hard, and did a much better job shooting the ball in this matchup. Junior Christopher Raybon and seniors Billal Azizi and Alex Chapman led the Lions to what would be another “heartbreaker struggling down the stretch.”
However, the Blue and Gold already struggled in the first period as the Hawks jumped out to a quick lead of seven, eventually leading by nine points in the first half. The Lions battled back to take the lead and stay on top, but did not succeed in keeping the lead.
“We came out flat and didn’t start playing the way we know we can play until it was too late,” junior Billy Thompson said. Eventually, the Hawks regained the lead and were not willing to let go of it without putting up a fight.
Junior Chris Pynch helped the Lions tie the game in the final 18 seconds with a three-point basket.
Again, when it came to playing in overtime, the Lions were defeated by the Hawks, managing only nine points in the extra five minute session compared to 15 for the home team. The Blue and Gold were sent back home with a loss of 77-83 against SDCC.
“Everyone is obviously upset with the losing efforts but we have to move on and continue to learn and grow as a team. We have had a lot of ups and downs this season but we continued to work and never gave up. A lot of teams in our position would have,” sophomore Taylor Kelly said.
For their final regular season home game, the Lions had to prepare to play their best against The Master’s College Mustangs in a battle for the eighth and final spot to make the GSAC conference tournament. The Lions took on the Mustangs at the Pit for VU’s homecoming game Saturday, Feb. 26, and battled for that last chance to make it to the playoffs.
In what was his final game for the Lions, Alex Chapman scored 11 points in the first half to set the pace. Thompson and Azizi added to those.
Raybon led the offense in the second half and was a key player against the Mustangs. The determination and hard work of the Blue and Gold showed and they battled back, leaving the score tied three times.
Unfortunately, the Lions lost the battle against The Master’s College in the final seconds of overtime, finally being defeated 78-77. Their final loss to the Hawks drops Vanguard to the tenth spot in the GSAC standings, ending their season with a 6-22 record, 4-16 in conference.
“We obviously did not accomplish some of the goals that we had as a team as far as making it to the playoffs, but I believe that this group set the foundation for what Vanguard Basketball is going to be about in the future,” Thompson said.
Despite the record, the Lions have grown remarkably as a team and have changed VU’s basketball reputation with the help of first year coach Rhett Soliday.