By: Collin Frazier
With basketball season in full swing, the Men’s Basketball team is showing once again their talents. However, the season was looking a little shaky early on, with the Oilers losing 4 of their 6 games during November. Head Coach Charlie Ernst says the teams’ struggle early on was due to not being able to close out the games.
“We were an inexperienced team with a lot of new moving parts. Sometimes, you can’t hurry that process [gaining experience]. Sometimes, it just has to happen.” said Ernst. “If we could have done one thing different is to maybe [have] been more prepared for the end of the game. If you look at all those losses, in every game, it was a tie game with under 4 [minutes] to play, and a couple of those games, we had the lead with under 4 to play… We just did not handle the end of game situations very well. But, we’d been searching, [and] I think we’re getting closer to finding out who our go-to guys are.”
After the rough November, the team is back on track, winning 5 of 6 in December. Ernst says it is due to the experiences gained through the season.
“I just think we’re getting a bit better at everything,” Ernst commented. “First of all, we played a lot of good teams this year, especially early. [It was] not a very forgiving schedule for an inexperienced team, but it is what it is and I think we learned a lot about our team and while we were losing games I think we were getting better. We didn’t play very well against Hillsdale, but we knew we were close. Then we had Parkside-Wisconsin, who’s a really good team in the GLIAC, and we pounded them, and I think that gave our guy’s confidence that what the coaches had been preaching that we were really close, I think they believed it after that game.”
Even with consistency now present, there is still work to be done according to Ernst.
“We haven’t put together a ‘forty-minute game’ yet, but we’ve built on that game [Parkside-Wisconsin] and our goal now is to put forty minutes together,” Ernst stated. “We’re putting longer stretches of really good basketball on both ends of the ball, complementing each other. Early in the year, we’d play well on defense for a while, but we’d struggle on offense, or we’d play well on offense and we’d struggle on defense. It’s hard to go on runs in college basketball unless you put both together.”
Looking forward to the remainder of the season, Ernst is hoping to get the “forty-minute game” ready.
“Now that we’re settling on a rotation, we’re finding the system that best fits that rotation,” said Ernst. “When you’re fumbling with who the rotation should be, sometimes a system doesn’t complement the guys you’re using and I think we’ve settled on a system on both ends of the floor that we feel complements the guys we’re playing the most. I think it’s just getting better at little things [and] doing them more consistently, and then building on that.”
The Oilers will host Kentucky Wesleyan Saturday, January 18th in Niekamp Arena. Tipoff at 3:00 PM.