Lions fail to clinch postseason berth; Ospreys blow past the College at home

Sophomore guard Katie Occhipinti dribbles the ball down the court. (Tim Lee/Photo Editor)
Sophomore guard Katie Occhipinti dribbles the ball down the court. (Tim Lee/Photo Editor)

By Matt Hammond

Correspondent

For a captain on any team, the hardest thing is to be stuck on the sidelines unable to help out their teammates. For senior guard and captain Karen Lassoni, it was particulary difficult to see her team flounder in a 73-44 loss to the host Richard Stockton College Ospreys last Wednesday Feb. 17, when a win would have secured the final divisional playoff spot.

Score 2

“It was tough to watch,” Lassoni said on Saturday, rehashing the Colleges’ 44-73 loss.

Lassoni had to settle for her courtside seat (she missed her seventh straight game with an injury) and a clear view of a scoreboard that showed the Ospreys’ 25-4 first-half run in the last game of her last season as a Lion.

“We struggled at times the whole season, but it kind of all came to a head in that game,” she said. “People were still trying hard. I don’t know. I don’t know if it was a curse or it just wasn’t in the cards this season. I just don’t think we played to our full potential. That’s the hardest part.”

The field of vision for players running the floor last Wednesday wasn’t much different.

“The game was tough to walk away from at the end because we knew we didn’t play our best basketball that night,” sophomore guard Jess Imhof said days after scoring a season-best 17 points.

Scoring was scarce (third-lowest total of season), but was still collaborative. Sophomore guard Hannah Tait contributed seven points, while junior guard scored six points and added four steals.

However, Lassoni did have to give credit where it was due.

“They shot the lights out,” she said of the Ospreys’ night from the floor (47.2 percent FG).

She even changed the topic of conversation to testify to her teammates’ efforts, which, she says, weren’t hard to notice.

“They gave it everything they had,” she said, hinting at the team’s 36.4 percent second half of shooting. “I really appreciated that.”

But with those kinds of stakes — the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) South Division’s final postseason slot — it will be hard for the College to think of anything but the season-ending defeat.

The Lions (13-12, 6-7 NJAC) won’t get the shot to repeat as champs in the upcoming conference tournament. And even the prospect of a promising 2010-11 season and a near-identical roster doesn’t do much about the here and now.

“As much as I didn’t want it to be, this was a rebuilding year,” said Lassoni, the team’s lone upperclassman and member of the College’s Class of 2010.

“I see a lot of great things for next year. I guess sometimes you gotta take the hit,” she said.