This past weekend saw a young Hilbert team come back from winter vacation and almost pull an upset at Mount Aloysius before losing 71 -66. With Mount Aloysius going to the charity stripe 32 times to Hilbert's 6 forces a question in this blogger's mind: WTF? Did the ref only swing one way? Did he swallow his whistle half the time? Was he texting while reffing? Seriously?
But often in defeat comes some inspiration, specifically Sarah Lorusso hitting for three treys and Jessica Jamison hitting for five three-pointers! That is a great coming out party for perimeter shooting for Hilbert. Had the refereeing been more balanced, this could have had a different outcome.
And then there was the game against almost-national power La Roche College, a strong contender again this year for their third consecutive conference championship. As a team who is rebuilding, this is one of those games you play, learn from and then get ready for Pitt-Bradford. There is always a chance things will be different on Hilbert's home court February 16th. If you believe anything's possible (trust me, in sports, played by humans, stranger things have happened!), then anything is possible! By the way, I like the fact that Wyann Jackson, a solid three-point shooter, hit for two treys in that contest... there is always an upside.
So here we sit at 3-10 overall, and 1-5 in the AMCC... with 12 conference games (7 home games) to go. Some may scoff at this suggestion, but Hilbert is within reach of its first playoff appearance in several seasons because this team is just getting started. Just take a look at how well Hilbert is playing on the perimeter (outside shooting is now beginning to take shape) and the players who are coming to play underneath. And then take a look at the teams who are ahead of Hilbert today in the standings... Franciscan (2-4, 3-10), D'Youville (2-4, 3-10), Mount Aloysius (3-3, 6-6), Pitt-Bradford (3-2, 5-6)... all of these teams are beatable on any given night, and now is the time to decide to beat them. None of these Hilbert women like to lose, and as they keep discovering their skillsets and gain confidence in their abilities, they could gel at the right time.
Always keep in perspective that this is just a string of basketball games that we call a season. But since you're playing anyway, why not take advantage of the situation and aim high? In a few years, you'll remember the camaraderie and overall experience, but you'll tell stories about the season you decided to take it to the next level. And, don't forget, you'll make my grandchildren smile again :)
Good luck at Pitt-Bradford!