The smell of the stadium, the roar of the crowd, everyone on their feet.
That was the last time five seniors would get to experience this in a Western Connecticut State University uniform. It was senior night at the O’Neill Center and the stands were packed with the colonial faithful. This would be the last home game for seniors Jimmy Louissaint, Russell Payton, Philkwan Tate, Tony Seldon, and Claudy Casseus. To add to the importance of this game, it was against number one team and instate rival Eastern Connecticut State University.
Before the start of the game, everyone took a few minutes to honor the hard work and dedication that the seniors put in. One by one, they walked out onto the court with their families by their sides. The coaches, followed by the rest of the team, then greeted them as they posed for a final picture together.
The players took their positions and waited for the game to start. The referee stepped up midcourt, and with a toss of a ball, the seniors’ last game began. The ball was won by Western to start the game. With a few quick passes, Western scored its first points of the game. Starting the game with an early basket gained momentum and took an early 6 to 4 lead. Yet, being the number one team in the conference, Eastern was unfazed and went on a nine-point run to take a 13 to 6 lead.
This was unacceptable to the seniors as they stepped up to score 10 unanswered points and take a 16 to 13 lead. Once again, Eastern would rally to take a 22 to 21 lead. Then after a buzzer beater 3-pointer by Eastern, they would go into the half with a 31 to 30 lead over Western Connecticut.
Once halftime was over, both teams took the court, yet it was a bit of a rough start for both teams. Both teams would go scoreless for the first two minutes of the third quarter. With an enthusiastic crowd supporting Western, they were soon silenced when Eastern Connecticut took a 21 point lead. But the Colonials were not out yet.
They would answer with seven points of there own narrowing their margin to a 55 to 41 lead.
The seniors, with all the fight that they had in them, took this deficit and closed the gap to just 8 after senior Jimmy Louissaint hit a huge 3-pointer that erupted the crowed in hopes of a comeback. Despite the senior’s best efforts, they would fall to Eastern by a score of 70 to 60.
Despite the loss, all of the seniors played well. Jimmy Louissaint had 5 points and three assists. Russell Payton had 2 points and two assists along with Philkwan Tate who also had 2 points and two assists. Claudy Casseus had 3 points and five rebounds, and senior Tony Seldon finish the night with an outstand 14 points and five rebounds, leading the Colonials in scoring.