Augie basketball taken down in CCIW tourney by Wesleyan

Augie+Junior+Carson+Frakes+dribbling+the+ball+past+players+during+practice+on+February+27%2C+2020+at+Roy.J.Carver+center.

Augie Junior Carson Frakes dribbling the ball past players during practice on February 27, 2020 at Roy.J.Carver center.

Matthew McKay

Augustana men’s and women’s basketball fell to the Illinois Wesleyan Titans on Friday evening as they competed in the CCIW conference tournament.

For the first time since the 2012-2013 season, the men’s basketball team will not be going to the NCAA division three tournament.

The women lost in overtime 75-76 and the men 74-70 after Wesleyan took their first lead of the night with just 1:36 left in the game.

Augie Men’s team was led by seniors Micah Martin and Austin Elledge who each had 19 points in the Vikings effort. The Women were led by Alexis jones who turned in 21 rebounds and 14 points on the night. Along with that Macy Beinborn had 14 points off the bench.

The Women’s team started the tourney out in the five seed and upset the four seed Millikin 76-69 for their first tournament win since 1997. The men finished the season second in the CCIW standings and as a result had an automatic bid into the semifinal game.

While both the Men’s and Women’s season has come to a close, all eyes turn to the future of Augustana Basketball. The Men’s team will be replacing three different CCIW all-conference members in Pierson Wofford, Martin and Elledge. The women will replace one as Alexis Jones moves on from her Augustana career.

However, Augie basketball won’t be filling those openings with inexperienced players.

Young team members played a large amount of time for the men’s team, and that wasn’t without growing pains during the season, according to senior Donovan Ferguson.

“We had five freshman and two transfers come in and start contributing, but it took time,” Ferguson said. “They had to learn our system. They had to learn to take to the coaching here at Augustana.”

Junior Jack Jelen got the start in every game this season while averaging over 20 minutes a game. To go along with that, first-year Matt Hanushewsky averaged over 15 minutes a game for the Vikings.

The women will build around a core of young players that includes junior Justice Edell, sophomore Lauren Hall, first-year Gabriela Loiz and first-year Macy Beinborn – all of which averaged around 20 minutes per game this year.

“I have been really excited and proud to see some of the youngsters step up and hold their own. With me being the only season next year we are going to need some of the same energy going forward next year,” Edell said.

When talking about the idea of replacing the seniors from the Lady Vikes squad, Edell was quick to say that ‘replacement’ isn’t quite the right word.

“Even though a piece of our team is leaving, we all have the skill sets to step up and be leaders,” Edell said. “They have prepared us for those changes, and I can’t thank them enough for that.”

The men’s team looks to step up in a similar way once the 2020-2021 season kicks off.

“Once these guys believe they are going to be successful they are going to be great. That is the biggest thing that I was trying to leave these guys with,” Ferguson said. “We have a winning tradition here and I believe that these guys will continue that in the years to come.”

There will be some new looks on the court come fall of 2020, and it will be up to the next class of Augustana Basketball to return both classes to the NCAA tournament this time next year.