Manchester University
Oak Leaves

February  24, 2017

Spartans Outlast Transylvania on Senior Day

Destinee Boutwell

The Manchester men’s basketball team honored their seniors this week both on the court and off the court with two victories against Defiance College and Transylvania University. 

On Wednesday, Feb. 14, the Spartans beat Defiance 82-63. The team came out with energy and excitement that allowed them to work together and earn the win. That energy rolled into Saturday’s game as the Manchester men’s basketball team said farewell to their seniors. The team led by their six seniors achieved another victory against Transylvania. The score was 93-66, which concluded Manchester’s regular season on a particularly high note and a conference berth. 

When the seniors and their families walked out on the court they were honored by a standing ovation. There were six graduating seniors: Tyler Alexander, Brock Armstrong, Blake Brouwer, Chase Casteel, Conner MacDonald and Anthony Wright-Lake. “My favorite memory was definitely Senior Day and playing with the rest of the guys all on the floor at once,” Armstrong said. “The atmosphere was amazing and we had a great time at our last game at home.” 

The seniors are all proud of the way the season ended.  “Everyone knows that this season hasn't been the best, but our record doesn't define us as team,” Wright-Lake said. “I hate that it took us so long to finally come together and play as a family, but we know how dangerous we are when we play as a family.”
The team hopes that this unity will help them be successful in their upcoming tournament. “This season has been full of ups and downs but we are starting to come together and play our best brand of basketball at just the right time. Hopefully we can take this momentum into the tournament and make a run,” Armstrong said.
The seniors that were honored on Saturday have been playing basketball for a long time and they will have a lot to miss about college basketball. “I’m going to miss playing basketball in general, but I will also miss the people that I’ve played with here, because I’ve made lifelong friends here at Manchester,” MacDonald said. 
Armstrong implies that this is not the end of his involvement in basketball but it may mark the conclusion of him playing it competitively. “I'm a super competitive person and nothing will ever replace the high I get from playing basketball in that type of setting.”
It takes a lot of support, encouragement and some tough love from people to keep student athletes motivated. “My dad is my biggest inspiration, because he has always pushed me to be the best I can be and always pushed me get better especially after I had knee surgery my freshman season,” MacDonald said.
Inspiration can also come from respect and shared principles. Armstrong, too, turns to his dad for inspiration. “He's taught me so many things including a strong work ethic. He works really hard to provide for our family and I admire him a lot for that. He's a very selfless guy and that's something he's instilled in me from a young age.”
Other times inspiration comes from a person just being proud of the person you are becoming. “My grandmother is my biggest inspiration,” Wright-Lake said. “She was always so proud of me and I know if she was here today she would be really proud of the player I was and she would want me to continue to be the best person I can be.”
As the seniors say farewell to their regular season, they leave some words of advice to inspire future Spartans. “Don’t try to cheat the process, you should trust the process because eventually everything will fall into place,” MacDonald said.
While it is important to let things play out, the players also acknowledge that it is also important to be yourself. “Try and be the best version of yourself possible and put everything you have into what you're doing and the rest will take care of itself,” Armstrong said. 

The athletes also advised to not only focus on basketball, but school, too. “Take your education just as serious as you take basketball,” Wright-Lake said. “The way you perform in the classroom reflects the way you perform on the court.”