The Leopards played their final home game Saturday and came out with a win over Caltech, 69-52.
The Leopards who finished the season with a record of 6-18 and 3-10 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Trevor Woodland, John Leggett, Jeremy Lay, Tyler Hoyt, Jonathan Bastos, and Austin Napolitano were the six seniors that were honored as they competed in their final game.
“We were able to win the game and send our seniors out on a high note,” head coach Richard Reed said. “It’s just what we’ve wanted to accomplish—those six guys have done a lot to our program.”
This season posed a number of challenges due to injuries—Bastos missed about six games in the beginning of the season and Alex Wolpe, starting center, only played the first three games before missing the rest of the season.
“Our record doesn’t reflect how good we were,” Reed said. “We experienced some injuries early. We played a tough schedule so our program has nothing to hang its head about.”
Injuries or no injuries, Saturday’s game against the Beavers attracted much support and ultimately left the Leopard seniors with an optimistic finish to their four-year basketball careers.
“I thought we played a great game,” Leggett said. “Coach told everyone to be aggressive and we just went out there and tried playing for each other and tried getting a good win for the seniors.”
What resulted in victory was not solely based on the everyday spirit of the Leopards. Something else spurred the defeat over the Beavers and that may very well have been the pure energy of knowing Saturday would be the last home game for six players.
“We had a lot of energy coming into it,” Bastos said. “Energy really carried us in the first half and in the second half we did well. It was a special night because of the seniors. We had a lot of energy and a good crowd.”
From the beginning the Leopards achieved a comfortable lead over Caltech with the first half finishing at 33-15.
“I thought I worked really hard over these four years, but you could always work harder,” Woodland said.
Reed credited six seniors with making a positive impact on the La Verne basketball program during the last four years.
“Our kids have represented our university and basketball program in a first class manner,” Reed said. “There are great expectations for our program and that was created by these six guys that took a chance and came here when this program wasn’t very good.”
Shelby Nelson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.