After a rocky start at the beginning of the season, the men’s basketball players pulled themselves together as a team and came away with a dominating finale. Because of this, the Cru secured a spot in the ASC tournament held in Dallas.
After winning it’s first game against LeTourneau University, the team made it to the semi-final round against U.T. Dallas. The first half was close, but the Cru managed to get a lead. At half-time the gap between the two teams was 34-25 with the Cru ahead. Nearing the end of the second half though, the Cru lost their rhythm. The Comets put in their star three-point shooter, and from there the Cru couldn’t shoot the number of points needed.
Head Coach Ken Deweese is always happy when his team does well and sets their minds to winning and doing their best.
“I am very proud of these guys. We had an extremely difficult and frustrating early season but they stayed strong in their conviction that we could play and that we would play well,” he said.
Deweese gives most of the credit to the team and the dedication from each player. He is also appreciative to the fans who are always at home games and the ones that even make the drive to away games.
“Our fans are outstanding,” he said. “They are basketball smart, they are rowdy, they are respectful to the other team and most of all, they are very loyal to UMHB. We absolutely love our fans.”
One key player this season was guard Matt Caskey, who is a senior and played his last game of college level basketball in the semi-final round.
“(It) was a combination of disbelief, sadness, anger and thankfulness,” he said. “After I got over the initial shock, I just thought about everything I’ve been through and how thankful to the Lord I am.”
The men’s basketball team will lose 10 seniors.
The Lady Cru also made it to the ASC tournament but lost in the semi-final round. The women played against arch rivals Hardin-Simmons University, leaving the conference with a score of 64-48.
After trailing most of the first half, the women took the lead at the beginning of the second. But HSU battled back and won the game through a series of freethrows.
Many Crusader fans hit the road and traveled to several of the games. Sophomore Nursing major Ashley Hibbard was among the fans who drove to some of the various away games like the season opener at Southwestern University and one of the games against Schreiner University.
“I love supporting the basketball teams, both men and women,” she said. “Everyone gets so into the games and that’s what makes it so exciting. I’m sad that our teams couldn’t go the to championship game, but there is always next year.”
Head Coach for the women’s team is Kim Kirkpatrick. She believes the Lady Cru could have done more, but is happy with the season.
“We could have scored better. It’s definitely an area that we battle with,” she said. “I feel like we made progress on our level of intensity throughout the season and throughout games.”