With a little over three minutes left to go in the game on Saturday at the Arena at Southwell Complex, Columbia College's head basketball coach Bob Burchard got an opportunity to show his appreciation to his seniors on senior day.
With the game securely in hand for the Cougars and all three seniors — Henrique Medeiros, Taylor Evans and Matt Woodcock — on the court, Burchard subbed each one out of the game, one by one. As each senior walked off the court, the fans gave them a standing ovation.
“Its always good when you come out and you see how much the fans appreciate you playing here,” Medeiros said.
It was the seniors who dominated the game Saturday. All three contributed heavily to the team's 97-63 victory over Harris Stowe.
“It’s fun when your seniors play at that level,” Burchard said. “We had a senior week this week, both games they played were just awesome.”
Evans, who led the Cougars with 22 points, said the game was a little bittersweet with it being his senior day. However, for Woodcock, who scored nine points, all from behind the three-point arc, the experience was a blast.
“I thought it was a lot of fun,” Woodcock said. “It kind of sucks knowing that it’s the last regular season game, but we know its not over yet.”
After all, the Cougars, who wrapped up their second straight American Midwest Conference title with a win against Hannibal-LaGrange on Thursday, have basketball left to play, with the upcoming conference tournament starting on Thursday. The Cougars will not play until Saturday because they were awarded a first round bye.
However, even though the Cougars had already won the conference before Saturday's game, they were entirely focused on delivering payback to Harris Stowe, who handed the Cougars their only conference loss of the season Feb. 2 in St. Louis.
“A little payback is always good,” Medeiros said, who scored 11 points in the victory. “When I lose to someone and I have a chance to play them again, I want to beat them.”
As the season winds down, and with it, their collegiate careers, all three seniors echoed each other when they talked about what they will take away from their time at Columbia College.
“We are a family,” Evans said. “Thirty or 40 years from now I am going to remember the guys more than anything we did on the court.”