Editor in Chief
Men’s varsity basketball was part of only 44 select teams across the nation selected to play in the Hoop Hall Classic in Springfield, Mass. (home of the basketball hall of fame) on Sunday, Jan. 16.
“It’s a huge honor; the hall of fame payed for everything. It says a lot about the program we’ve built,” said head coach Jay Blossom.
Tip off was scheduled for 4:30 p.m. at the Blake Arena, as the Statesmen took on the Red Rams from Jamestown Dewitt, the defending state champions for big schools last year from New York.
Going into the game, Blossom knew that the statesmen would have to look out for their “big man,” number 15, Dajuan Coleman, at 6’ 8” and around 280 pounds.
“He is the number two ranked junior in the country,” said Blossom.
Coleman seemed to give the Red Rams the upper hand as they defeated the Statesmen 62-50.
“We played well, but just fell a little short. They came out firing in the first half. We fought our way back, but then in the second half their big guy really turned the game around,” said senior Gabe Smith. “The 6’ 8” guy was a rebounding monster.”
“The big guy really just overpowered us,” said senior Kendall Shell.
“Their coach said it was the best game they’ve played all year,” said junior Rayshawn Simmons. After the game, the Red Rams continued on with their winning streak of eight games, and the Statesmen record turned to 10-4.
“I think if we played them again we’d beat them,” said Shell.
Despite losing, in the end, the thrill of the big game seemed to be enough for the Statesmen.
“You just walked in knowing it was a big deal,” said Smith. “There was a huge crowd; the best atmosphere we ever played in.”
The Statesmen were invited to the Hoop Hall classic because of the impressive stats they’ve put up in the past nine years. They have won nine straight conference titles, had seven straight 20-win seasons, and are currently riding a winning streak of six straight conference games.
“The expectations are pretty high based on what we’ve done in the past nine years,” said Blossom.
The Statesmen’s next game is scheduled to be on Saturday, Jan. 29, at 7:30 p.m. at Roberts Gym.