Coach Barrett looks back on season and into the future
By Aimee Kidrick
News & Features Editor
Barrett, who was new to coaching the Mountaineers this year, led his team to a respectable 16-13 record. Despite a few players leaving the team before the season started, as well as one player leaving after a few games, the team kept calm and started out strong. They won their first seven games before losing to Westminster College on Nov. 16. Throughout the season, the team was especially proficient at stopping teams from scoring.
“I thought we were really good defensively. I think we were the number two team in the country in blocked shots,” Barrett said.
At the same time, according to Barrett, the team didn’t make as many of their own shots as they could have. Several of their games were lost by only a few points; even a few more successful baskets would have led to close victories rather than narrow defeats. As the season went on, the players became more confident in themselves and their abilities.
“We hit our stride maybe our last six or seven games,” said Barrett. “Once we got there, we were really tough to beat.”
The Mountaineers weren’t the only team in the conference to have an up and down season; many of the other basketball teams EOU played against also had uneven records. “Everyone was jumbled up,” remarked Barrett.
Perhaps it isn’t a surprise, then, that one team in the conference soundly defeated the rest. After finishing the season with a win against The Evergreen State College, the Mountaineers made it to the conference playoffs. However, they were defeated by the College of Idaho in the first round, 92-65. The College of Idaho proved to be a formidable team to all who faced them in the conference playoffs. They beat Oregon Tech by 20 points, 77-57 and then soundly defeated Northwest Christian in the conference final by 24 points.
Basketball season may be over, but Barrett already has high expectations for next year’s basketball players. “We have a good group of guys coming back, and I’m recruiting some very good players right now.” Barrett hopes that the new players will challenge the basketball alumni during practice sessions. “The best thing you can have in practice every day is competition.”
As for his hopes for next year, Barrett has two goals in mind. “I was hired here to graduate players and to win basketball games,” said Barrett. “We won more games than we’ve lost this year, but we need to win more games next year.”
Considering that the Mountaineers, led by a first-year coach, finished with a winning record this year, next year’s expectations of success are more than promising.