If the GPAC basketball season is a trip, we’ve reached mile marker 10 of 20. Halfway, and things have started to take shape.
On the women’s side four teams are in a flat-footed tie at 7-2. Many of the usual suspects have made their way into the top-10 in the country with Briar Cliff, Morningside, Hastings and Northwestern all occupying spots and Hastings is in the top-20 and Mount Marty is receiving votes. There are six of Dordt’s losses in their 2-8 start to the conference year.
The Defender women have battled but are fighting turnovers in many of their games. Not revealing any secrets here. Defense has been good to excellent with opponents struggling to shoot it well from the perimeter. Saturday night the Defenders put together one of their better defensive showings while limiting Concordia to 4-26 shooting from the three-point line. Coach Stiemsma and the staff continue to tinker and try to improve with 11 games to go. Last week was as difficult as they come, playing Briar Cliff and Concordia on the bookends and meeting a physical, Hastings team in the middle. Not exactly a week anyone wishes for.
Men’s basketball has been well documented with the Defenders off to the best start in school history where they stand 17-1 and are 9-1 in the GPAC.
Observations. Six players averaging double figures and that doesn’t even count Shawn Keizer and Tyler Wolterstorff off the bench who are threats as well. Team is making 53 percent of its shots and is outrebounding teams by nearly a double digit margin. Also limiting teams to 70 points per game so far. Since Christmas last year the Defenders are 31-6. The win on Saturday on the road was as good a win as the Defenders have had in recent history and that includes a win in Orange City earlier this year and a road win at Sioux Falls near the end of the season last year.
All that being said there is a lot of basketball remaining with two teams just two games off the pace, and, keep in mind, with the double round-robin schedule in place, there is no place to hide for any team. Secrets are pretty hard to come by in this league and the games will be even more difficult the second time around. Pretty hard not to like what this team has done so far this season and how they’ve done it.
Everywhere I go people comment that they’ve heard the De Witt Gym has been the place to be this year. It’s been loud and wild under the rounded roof. Hopefully that trend continues in January and February as the games become even more meaningful. If you haven’t been to a game yet this year, block off an evening or a Saturday afternoon. We’d love to have you, just get there early.
After Saturday night’s broadcast a few questions came up. Questions from the floor include:
You sounded a little out of sorts Saturday…why?
Well, suffice it to say, we’ve become very dependent on technology to pull off broadcasts with yours truly controlling things via internet connection from the site of games. This includes actually getting on the air for KDCR and playing breaks. In a nutshell it didn’t work on Saturday. Concordia wireless wouldn’t let me on, and, my wireless provider, whom shall remain nameless at this point had less than good coverage in Seward, Nebraska. In fact it was horrible. For the first time in some 18 seasons of doing this kind of stuff I thought we’d lose a broadcast. Fortunately Jim Bolkema and Denny De Waard back in Sioux Center were able to piece together things on this end and the game got on, albeit with an out of sorts announcer whose heart was pounding and blood pressure was up.
Where exactly is the home office?
It’s located in my home, hence the name. I like to keep up with other GPAC scores over the course of the games being broadcasted. Didn’t have that on Saturday with the above mentioned problems. So, my wife to the rescue. She knew where to look to get the information I needed. She’s done it before and got it to me. Some nights it’s truly a team effort.
Scores weren’t posted right away on the internet. What gives?
See above stated problems. Once we got to Interstate 80 in Lincoln all was good and the scores went up.
What do you do on the bus ride home?
Saturday was spent writing recaps. Asking the coaches questions about the previous games and the trends in the league. Coaches then settle in and review the video from the game just played, make post game notes and begin the work for the coming week…..not many wasted minutes.
Why the late start on Saturday night instead of the normal afternoon start time?
Concordia hosted a Lutheran high school tournament. Played four games on Friday and another four on Saturday before we took the floor at 5:00 with the women
Do you ever feel like you are getting too old for those close games and the late nights?
Yes, yes I do. Than a I realize what a privilege it is to have a job I truly enjoy and am challenged by.
Any other questions?
New ratings just came out. Men hold at #2.
Mumford and Sons with Feel the Tide on Pandora right now.
The rest of the work will have to wait until tomorrow……