Men’s basketball finish sixth in IIAC

The Storm men’s basketball team finished the season with a disappointing 86-70 tournament loss to Buena Vista University in the semi-finals.

This loss set them in sixth place overall in the conference, but the team was not all that far from a conference championship.

Team camaraderie seemed to be the biggest struggle for the determined Storm basketball squad. At times throughout the season, the team seemed on top of the world and completely unbeatable, and at others, it all just seemed to fall apart.

Junior guard Elijah Knox thinks the team had the talent to go all the way in the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (IIAC).

“We started off the season pretty rocky, but came back after Christmas break and won seven out of nine games, and it seemed that we were going to put it all together from there on out, but this is a very tough conference and many of the teams improved as much as we did,” Knox said. “The season went well at times, but we didn’t get a chance to put all our talent together, but that is just growing up in a program that is young.”

Knox feels that this year’s team had the talent to make it to the conference championship game, but the cards just never fell in their favor through the season.

“This year we were right there, the last six times we played Buena Vista we beat them five of those times, and they made it to the championship game,” Knox said. “And we beat Coe, and the only team we never beat was Luther, but they didn’t make the tournament.”

Assistant men’s basketball coach Brandon Stromer is not quite satisfied, but is confident that this recent success will bring more in future seasons.

“We are still trying to rebuild the program to where we want to be,” Stromer said. “No good coach is ever satisfied with a season, but we are going to keep building on it.”

Although this season did not end as well as the team had hoped, there are high expectations for next year from the players and the coaching staff alike.

“I think we are going to look really good next year,” Knox said. The fact that we lose some key contributors will help us play more as a team, instead of just depending on one or two guys every game. Everyone will have to step up and bring it”

Senior guard Zack Barragan, who set the all time 3-point record this season, has high expectations for next year’s team.

“They definitely have a lot of potential,” Barragan said. “Coach Zanders has done an awesome job recruiting and the sky is the limit for the guys who are coming back. I thought Elijah was the best point guard in the league and has the ability to do so again next year and take over games.”

The team is planning a new approach for this upcoming off-season to help improve its aggressiveness on the court. They hope that adding some mass could create an unstoppable force in the IIAC.

“Next off-season, Coach Zanders has been preaching getting big and strong in the weight room,” Knox said.

Barragan said he’ll have a tough time letting go of the Storm basketball team after starting all four years of his career here. He will remember most all of the relationships that he built with his fellow teammates and coaches.

“It’s a weird feeling to be done, and knowing that next year you won’t have off season workout, you aren’t going to have practice or games,” Barragan said. “But overall I’m happy with the success that I’ve had and the team has had the last couple years.”