The Bulldog’s season is over. No more practice sessions, no more team meetings, no more road trips, no more home stands and no more triumph. Despite winning their first playoff game in their own gym against Winona State 67-64 last Wednesday, the Bulldogs suffered their final loss in Augustana, South Dakota on Sunday night, 62-71.
The Bulldogs finished 16-14 on the year. In essence, their season seemed to play out in a very back and forth fashion. They would find a way to win one game and then lose the next. They would lose two games in a row, then come back and win three.
How perfectly it works out then, that the Bulldog’s season ended their season in this matter. They Bulldog’s closed the book on the 2014-2015 season they way they started it. Through the end, their intangible up-tempo style of play, willingness to share the basketball and team cohesion fought their youth and ability to make defensive stops.
Pierre Newton is taking the loss as motivation for the up coming year.
“I am looking forward to winning the (Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference) tournament next year,” he said Monday. “The game last night was a great experience for the players to see what it takes to get here. Augustana is a great team but we still expected to win and our guys next year are going to use this loss as fuel for the fire.”
However, for Seniors Brett Ervin and Reece Zoelle, this loss is the end of the line.
Both players have been cornerstones of the basketball program and will have to say goodbye this year. For Ervin however, he knows this isn’t the end of the line for his basketball career, as he plans to play overseas, and the Bulldog program alike.
“This was a huge step in the basketball program,” he said. “We went further this year then any bulldog team since 2006. I think getting this far made the returners next year even more motivated. They got a taste of winning and that will help them in the future.”
For next year’s seniors the duty becomes continuing the success that they have built on this year, and that will start with the incoming seniors. Brendon Pineda, Taylor Lavery, Pierre Newton and Kristofer Jackson will be taking leadership roles on the team next year, and will have mold themselves into that position on and off the court.
Pierre Newton has a grasp of what needs to be done.
“The seniors are going to have to step up to take the place of Brett, we’re really going to have to step up and carry the load,” he said. “Personally, I am really going to have to step up my game next year, I’m going to have to implement on my game early and be more aggressive."
BY WILLIAM E. CASSERLY