The Oswego State men’s basketball season came to a conclusion after a 77-69 playoff loss at the hands of SUNY Oneonta, Tuesday, Feb. 23.
The Lakers won three of their last four regular season games in order to clinch the seven seed in the SUNYAC Tournament, earning a date in Oneonta last Tuesday.
Oswego State kept the game close for most of the first half, but a 13-3 run by the Red Dragons to end the first half proved to be too much, building the point deficit to 14. Sophomore forward Chad Burridge was the Lakers’ high scorer with 17 points to go with his eight rebounds.
Burridge was the leading scorer for the Lakers all season long,
averaging 17.7 points per game in his second season with Oswego State. He was named one of the team’s co-captains along with senior forward Stanley Francois. Burridge was one of the many bright spots for the Lakers this season, leading the team in not just points, but blocks and rebounds too. First year coach with Oswego State, Adam Stockwell, said he has a lot to look forward to next season.
"This was the first year that he was the primary option at the collegiate level and that is quite an adjustment to make," Stockwell said of Burridge. "I fully expect Chad to make a significant improvement from this year to next, not necessarily in terms of his statistics, but in terms of his growth as a leader. Being a sophomore captain is a hard thing, but he performed well in a tough role."
The Lakers had great production from freshmen Hayden Ward and Sean Michele in their first collegiate seasons. Both Ward and Michele played an integral role in the Lakers’ success this season, as the leaders for the class of 2013.
"In terms of the first-timers at Oswego [State], there is no doubt that Hayden Ward and Sean Michele made the biggest impact," Stockwell said.
Ward grabbed the second most rebounds for the team, with 166, while averaging close to 20 minutes per contest.
"He is a force on the backboards and found his niche offensively as the year wore on," Stockwell said.
Michele led the team with 93 assists and 58 steals, handling the point guard position for the Lakers.
"Sean, around the start of the second semester, settled into the role of our starting point guard and played great," Stockwell said.
The Lakers had to win their final regular season game at Buffalo State in order to make the playoffs. Oswego State defeated the Bengals by seven, earning a playoff berth. Stockwell thought his team played a complete game that night, which is something he liked to see.
"It (the Buffalo State game) showed me the potential that we do have when we put all of our pieces together," Stockwell said."That is the picture that I will have in my mind as we work hard to get ready for next fall."
Oswego State will be without graduating seniors Luke Schrader and Francois next season. Francois finished with 222 points in his final season with the Lakers, second in overall team scoring. A co-captain, Francois was a leader for his teammates.
"Stan consistently worked hard, which is something that our younger players will have to take over in the coming seasons," Stockwell said.
Stockwell thinks his team has the potential to be better next season, as the Lakers were a relatively young team this year. He thinks his team’s on-the-court chemistry can be improved upon.
"For both the players and coaches having had a complete year together, chemistry and consistency are two things that I expect to improve for us in 2010-2011," Stockwell said.
For the first-year coach, this season has not been easy at times. Stockwell cites his team’s inconsistency at times to be frustrating, but something that can be improved. Any way you look at it, the future is bright for the Oswego State men’s basketball team.
"The best part about this year’s team was that we were so young," Stockwell said. "We had a lot of room to grow, which we did through the season, which will increase expectations for next year."