COLUMBIA – It has been anything but an easy season for the Columbia College men's basketball team. Injuries and losses have been numerous.
The difficult season has had an added impact on the team's two seniors, forwards Quintin Totta and Vitaly Ahmedov, who will play in their final home game at 7:30 Thursday against Harris-Stowe at the Arena at the Southwell Complex.
Columbia College (10-18, 4-8 AMC) vs. Harris-Stowe (14-14, 5-7)
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday
Where: Arena at the Southwell Complex
“The season wasn’t as good as last year, but at the same time it was challenging, and I learned a lot,” Ahmedov said. “It builds character.”
The main source of the Cougars' struggles has been season ending injuries. The team's top two scorers, Chad Thompson and Jaron Strickland, went down early in the season, leaving positions to be filled.
“Being a senior, I had to step in and play the role and run the way coach tries to run the program,” Totta said.
Totta has stepped up and made his mark. He now leads the Cougars (10-18, 4-8 AMC) in points per game and 3-point percentage.
He is even able to give a positive spin to a difficult year.
“I’ve enjoyed everyday, every minute of it, the opportunity to play basketball and with this group of guys, this team,” he said, “I’m appreciative of the opportunity.”
Ahmedov, a 6-foot-10 player from Tioumach, Ukraine, fills the role of big man for the Cougars, who will endure only their second losing season during coach Bob Burchard's 22-year tenure at Columbia College.
Both are graduating from Columbia College with business management degrees, though Ahmedov is scheduled to graduate in December.
“It’s been a tougher season,” Totta said. “It’s been a challenge but that’s good for me, especially going out into the work world and having to face challenges.”