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Basketball seasons wrap up Saturday against Belmont in Nashville

02/26/2014

It's been a frustrating season to say the least for Jacksonville State’s Men’s basketball team.

Coming off an impressive 17-11 run last season, the Gamecock had hoped that this year could have been one to contend at the top of the Ohio Valley Conference.

However, after a 0-5 start to the season there was only a brief time that JSU was firing on all cylinders, and that time has certainly stopped as the team finds itself in the midst of a seven game losing-streak.

At 10-20, JSU has only one game left in the season this Saturday when they host OVC-leading Belmont who holds a strong 21-8 overall record.

Ending the losing streak won’t be easy, but would certainly lift some spirits going into the offseason on an upset of that caliber.

JSU won’t be participating in the OVC basketball tournament in Nashville after not holding a spot in the top eight of the standings. Belmont will likely be the top overall seed.

For key seniors Brian Williams and Nick Cook along with Giovanni Smith and Rod McReynolds, the season is far from what was expected going in.

Some leadership positions will need to be addressed over the offseason before next year rolls around as lack or effort, and not ability, plagued the team at times this season. Luckily Darion Rackley, perhaps the player who gives the most effort game in and game out, returns in 2014-15 along with D.J. Felder and Avery Moore.

While the men’s seasons quickly comes to a halt Saturday, coach Rick Pietri’s women’s squad will get to play on after one of the most impressive turnaround seasons imaginable.

After a one-win campaign a year ago, Pietri stepped in a changed the atmosphere surrounding the program and has the team with 11 wins and 7-8 in conference hoping for an even OVC record if they can knock off Belmont in Saturday’s finale.

At 7-8, JSU currently sits seventh in the conference standings, but has already locked up a spot in the eight-team postseason tournament.

With a win over the Bruins along with other OVC scores going a certain way Saturday, JSU could climb as high as third in the final standings.

Miranda Cantrell, Destany McLin and Candace Morton are all averaging in double-digits scoring as Morton leads the team with 17 a game.
Once in the tournament, the Gamecocks have proved they can play – and beat – anyone on any particular day.

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