Posted at 2:45 p.m., March 8, 2016

Men's basketball expects more experienced team next season

Golden Eagles exit tournament early, upset by lower seed

Rafael Munoz-Vega

To the glass:

Gavin Peppers fights for a rebound againstWNCC's Phil Fayne.

The LCCC men’s basketball season ended on a controversial call in the regional tournament.

The Golden Eagles, 19-12 overall, 9-7 in Region 9, lost to Western Nebraska in the first round of the Region 9 tournament 80-79 on a last-second foul.

The score was 79-79 with 3.5 seconds left and the Cougars had possession of the ball. They quickly drove down the court and put up a 3-pointer as the game clock expired.

A couple seconds later the referee called a foul against the Golden Eagles for roughing the shooter. The Cougars scored the one point needed to win the game.

“The game video proves that the shot was not shot on time and the game clock expired before it left the shooter’s hand,” coach Ficca said.

There was a lot of confusion and astonishment on the Golden Eagles when the referee made the call.

Ficca faced a tough loss to end the season but he is already thinking on how next season will play out.

“Next year, we will have a more experienced team since we are going to have most of our players return and have some essential positions already filled,” Ficca said.

The fall season

The Golden Eagles are looking at 10 freshmen returning next season.

“Gavin Peppers is going to be tough to replace,” Ficca said.

Ficca also said he will be more selective with recruits because he only has around eight spots to fill. Peppers was the highest scorer on the team with an average of 18.5 points per game. Iziah Sherman-Newsome averaged 11 per game and freshman Josh McNair averaged 10.3 per game for the season.

Freshmen Domink Heinzl and Alfonzo Anderson followed with Heinzl averaging 7.8 points per game and Anderson averaging 7.6.
For next season, Ficca said he is looking to improve the team’s shooting and defense.

“We really didn’t have a consistent shooter either than Iziah and Peppers stepped it up later in the season, so I will be looking to add players that will shoot in high 30s, low 40s,” Ficca said.

The Golden Eagles will have some off-season training to develop their players’ skills and look to improve their record for next season.

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