There were times this season when the McDaniel men's basketball team looked dominant.
The Green Terror had big scoring threats, played lockdown defense, and pulled off huge upset wins over Dickinson and Franklin & Marshall, both of which were nationally ranked.
And then there were other times when the Terror looked worse — especially on the road. Unfortunately for them, the worst came at the end of the season, losing four in a row and dropping the Centennial Conference tournament play-in game at Gettysburg on Wednesday night.
"I just felt like we went on some streaks, some losing streaks, that's what really hurts us," McDaniel center Tim Stewart said. "I feel like it would've been different if we would've played a home game."
The Terror had that opportunity to bring the playoffs to Gill Center for the second straight season, needing to win just one of their last three regular-season games. Instead, they lost to Johns Hopkins, Swarthmore, and Gettysburg, and had to travel to play the Bullets for the second time in five days.
It'd be easy for McDaniel's players to see the 14-12 season as unsuccessful. The Terror finished fifth in the Centennial, made a quick exit from the postseason, never sustained a winning streak longer than four games, and had two four-game losing streaks in their final 11 games. They went 3-10 on the road and shot 58.2 percent at the free-throw line, one of the worst percentages in all of NCAA Division III.
But seniors Andrew Merlo and Phil Perry chose to focus on the positives after their loss Wednesday.
"It was always our goal to make the playoffs, give us a chance to compete for the Centennial Conference championship," Merlo said. "We didn't win, but our guys fought every game this year, give them credit for that."
McDaniel couldn't win it all, but it did make the playoffs for the fifth time in eight years under coach Kevin Curley.
"We wish we could've done more," Perry said. "But I'm proud of every single person on this team, top to bottom, all of us. I can't complain about anybody's effort."
"I feel like I contributed a lot on the offensive end," Stewart said, "but I need to work on my defense and get more rebounds."
The Green Terror will have Stewart back for another year to do just that. Perry, Merlo, and Nic Martin are the only three players that McDaniel will lose.
Meanwhile, Stewart, Wes Brooks, Duane Echols, and Cam Royster, all of whom started games this year, as well as key bench player Nick Perugino, will all be back.
"Man, that's going to be scary next year," Stewart said. "With everybody returning and a lot of experience, we could have a bigger push next year. A lot of the big guys from top teams are leaving, but we'll still have the same squad."