NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) -The season that started with optimism in June ended with unfulfilled goals in March.
On Thursday the NCAA announced that they were canceling all spring championships with concerns over COVID-19. The announcement was made while the SFA lumberjacks were at their hotel in west Houston, a day ahead of their semifinal game at the Southland Conference Tournament.
“I told our guys last night when we got here last night, ‘You are my child,'" Head coach Kyle Keller said. “I would never put you in harms way. I didn’t have a good feeling heading into today. I just can’t imagine us playing games. They are games. It is not life or death. That’s what we are talking about in our country. It is life or death versus a game."
SFA finished the year with on of their best seasons. There was a lot of uncertainty heading into the season with just four players coming back to the team. Last year SFA went 14-16, missing the postseason for the first time since 2004-05. The year started with the team coming in early getting in 10 practices and heading to Spain for a group of exhibition games. The team then started their season with two wins over Division III teams. Their first DI contest was a win over North Carolina Central, a team coming off of a NCAA tournament appearance. Their seemed like hope for a good year after starting 4-0. The team then played at Rutgers and lost by 12 points. People quickly forgot about that loss. On Nov.26 SFA was the talk of the nation, upsetting Duke. That snowball turned into an avalanche as SFA then rolled through the season finishing 28-3.
This year’s season was highlighted by SFA’s win in overtime at previously No.1 Duke, the fallout from the win resulting in over $151,000 being donated to a GoFundMe to help Nathan Bain’s family in the Bahamas and Kevon Harris passing Thomas Walkup as the all-time leading DI scorer at SFA.
“I feel terrible for our three seniors,” Keller said. "They will never put on an SFA jersey again. “We had a great senior night. It was awesome. We won 15 games in a row to end the season. They are not going to get another opportunity. We had one hell of a ride.”
Last week, SFA closed out their season at home with a win over Sam Houston. The team held a net-cutting ceremony to honor the team’s regular season title. Who knew that would be the last time we saw the team on the court.
“I’ll tell you what, the hardest thing I had to do in my life was to tell all these student athletes that their season was over,” Southland Conference Deputy Commissioner John Williams said. “I feel for those young men at SFA. We had high hopes after the great season. This came down to a health decision and we did not want anyone to get sick."