Matt Csakai | Echo
Senior night for the men's basketball team resulted in disappointment. While Taylor planned to celebrate its seniors and bring them a victory in possibly their last home game, Huntington had other plans.
Taylor suffered a loss against Huntington in a shocking finish, losing 102-99 in overtime. Taylor forced the game to overtime, but came up short, as Huntington prevailed to give the Trojans a heartbreaking loss on Senior Night.
Junior forward Jake Heggeland and sophomore guard Ryan Robinson led the Trojan effort with 28 points and nine rebounds and 23 points and four rebounds, respectively.
The Trojans battled throughout the game and would not let Huntington get away easy.
The Trojans found themselves down seven points with 44 seconds left in the second half. Taylor quickly went on a 7-0 run, capped by a two-point shot converted by sophomore Mason Degenkolb.
Again, the Trojans were down by four in overtime with 1:31 left. Once more, Degenkolb saved the day with another two-point basket to cap a Trojans 4-0 run and tie the game at 99-99. Senior guard Mike Bush for the Foresters put the Trojans down for good after his 3-point dagger fell at the buzzer.
For the Trojans, this season has been a trying one. After a highly successful season last year, hopes were high coming into this season. However, the team has struggled off and on after a 8-1 start.
"One word I would use to describe our guys is resilient," said head coach Josh Andrews.
They have had some difficulties finding an identity and the team as a whole has attempted to figure out how they want to play both defensively and offensively.
According to Andrews, they want to play with great tempo and pace, but also be a strong defensive team.
"We've had some trouble finding a team rhythm on the court," said senior guard Tim Fleming. "We get along incredibly well and care about each other, but it's definitely difficult to find a consistent rhythm and identity on the court."
While this season hasn't always gone according to plan, Andrews has seen his seniors grow in their time in the program, in putting in time working with younger players and caring about them as people.
Andrews said Fleming and Hendricks are top-notch men and are big reasons why Taylor basketball is where it is now.
"I've grown to truly care about and invest in the people around me," Fleming said. "I've learned to focus on the process and not simply on the result. I've learned that my level of influence is directly proportional to my level of sacrifice. And I've learned that anything can be used as a vehicle to our growth as men and women in Christ."
Hendricks also echoed this idea of looking out for others. He hopes to apply the things he has learned through Taylor basketball to life after college.
Taylor's last regular season game will be at Grace on Saturday at 3 p.m. Taylor will begin the Crossroads League Tournament on Wednesday.
"Photograph by Brad Timmerman"