GETTYSBURG, PA. — McDaniel is in the final week of its men’s basketball season, and the Green Terror are trying to keep from letting their worst record in 13 years define them.
As losses mount, however, that task seems to become more difficult.
Gettysburg handed McDaniel its latest defeat, a 56-41 setback Wednesday night at Bream Gymnasium.
The Terror are 5-19 (2-15 in the Centennial Conference) and need another win to avoid matching their lowest total since 2005. McDaniel went 5-20 in the 04-05 campaign, one year removed from a six-win season.
McDaniel averaged 13.5 wins per season in the first 10 years with Kevin Curley as coach. The Green Terror fielded a young squad this winter, one that began with 19 players but has since dwindled to 11.
This year includes losing a pair of six-game losing streaks, and a four-game slide. After winning the opener, McDaniel dropped 12 of its next 13 and fell into the conference basement.
“The season hasn’t gone the way anybody wanted it to go,” said senior guard Josh McWilliams. ”[But] it’s important to keep trying to get better. That’s what we try to preach. There’s nothing you can do about your record, the standings, or anything. You can’t pay attention to that.
“You’ve just got to pay attention to getting better every day.”
McDaniel defeated the Bullets (7-17, 5-12) a month ago at home, after after a sluggish first half McWilliams helped his squad get to within two points at 32-30 on a layup with 14:07 to play.
Gettysburg responded with a 15-0 run, putting things out of reach in a six-minute stretch. Its seniors led the way — forward Matt England had a double-double with 21 points and 13 rebounds, and center Cameron Stewart had 12 points and six boards.
The Green Terror missed eight consecutive field goals during the Bullets’ scoring surge, and by the time McWilliams converted a jump shot from just inside the free-throw line, Gettysburg led by 15.
Curley said the second-half lull was just that, and it didn’t have too much to do with his team’s season-long woes. But the 11th-year coach admitted the disappointment is lingering with his bunch.
“It would have helped if we had hit some shots,” Curley said with a smile that vanished after a few seconds.
McWilliams led the Terror with 15 points, and junior guard Austin Cannon (Manchester Valley) added 11 points. The backcourt mates had two assists apiece.
Freshma guard Jared Houck scored eight points and DJ Harper, a junior forward, grabbed five rebounds.
McWilliams is the team’s lone senior regular — Bamasa Bailor joined the team just before the season began coming off a football season in the fall — and the Green Terror field four freshmen and two sophomores.
McWilliams and his coach undoubtedly expected some growing pains from a youthful bunch this winter. They likely banked on more success, however, with lessons learned after playing teams the first time around.
Curley said he saw too many breakdowns on defense Wednesday night with the outcome still in the balance that aided Gettysburg’s second-half surge.
They have one game to try to fix any mistakes — Saturday’s finale at home against Muhlenberg (11-12, 9-7).
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“We’ve got to come out and play hard,” Curley said. “It’s also a learning experience, I mean, we did have some young guys out there … we’ve got to play harder, learn from that, and hopefully finish out the season strong.”