Less than 72 hours after touching down in the Orlando, Florida area I’m checked in and ready to head home on the next flight out.
What did I learn?
Well over the past two games I posted on the Dordt College twitter account the hashtag #guts.
It’s an overused term, make no mistake about it, but I thought the guys showed guts in their two wins over Webber International and Warner. These were two road games. These weren’t neutral floor games.
These were tough.
Both games featured teams, that from my perspective, could make the NAIA National Tournament and win a game or two, and then, well who knows when you get in that setting.
Attack off the dribble. Fast and physical, these teams got after it on defense and gave the Defenders trouble with their ability to hassle and play the ballhandler very physically on the perimeter and made post entry passes difficult to say the least.
Both nights the Defenders faced second half deficits. Both games featured runs both for and against the Defenders. Both games featured big shots at the end that eventually won the contests and both games featured defensive stops to close the game and preserve wins.
What do shooters do. They shoot. They don’t stop looking for their shots even if they haven’t been dropping. Friday night Austin Katje didn’t have a great shooting night. He still squeezed off a three when Dordt was down three with less than two minutes left and Cliff Warner hit his fourth three-point shot of the night moments later that gave Dordt the eventual win.
One night later Dordt was down 11 early in the second half. Still down ten with about 15 minutes left. Down eight with about six minutes left. Battered and bruised, the Defenders played significant minutes without Cliff Warner and Trevor Wolterstorff. Warner took a blow above his eye that left him bloodied and in need of a stop at the emergency room on the way back to home base. First he had to play the second half and knock down a few three-pointers.
Trevor Wolterstorff took a blow below his eye and missed the last five minutes or so of the first half and he wouldn’t return until early in the second half. He responded with ten hard earned points in the second half.
Battered, bloodied and bruised, the Defenders refused to wilt. The 70 or so Dordt faithful tried to provide some energy, the coaching staff was a study in patience as they manipulated the lineups against a physical team that had played a game the night before that was marred by four technical fouls and two ejections against Goshen (Indiana).
And still the Defenders were down those eight points at 68-60.
Again it was Cliff Warner providing a couple three’s and the game winning assist. Again it was Katje finding space for two rainbow three’s the found the net. t was Vogel knocking down a bank shot off a lob pass. It was offensive rebounds on free throws. It was also a defensive unit stepping forward and playing Warner at their own game with physical play. It was lots of little things that are hard to measure.
And when it was all done, it was a narrow win when it looked doubtful.
And now the real work begins. Twelve games left in the league and 13 regular season contests overall over the next seven weeks.
Two months to go. Enjoy them…..
I’m asked continuously what I “really” think about games and officiating when I meet up with fans after games.
The questions will come after some comments I made.
Suffice it to say, I’ll abide by the old saying. “If you have nothing nice to say…….”
Steadily the Dordt women’s basketball team has built their record to above .500.
A difficult start with three narrow losses this season forced the Defenders to battle and they have.
Improved ball handling and care along with a variety of players taking their turn on offense has lifted Craig Stiemsma’s unit to 9-8 entering the post-Christmas portion of the schedule.
Saturday the Defenders used stifling defense and 19 points from Danelle Boone from the bench and she hit for five three-pointers when it was all said and done. Hoping she’s healthy again after suffering through a first two months with a bad ankle.
Big road game for the Defenders this Wednesday when they face Hastings on the road before the number one team in the country, Concordia, pays a visit to Sioux Center on Saturday, January 5.
Looks like an interesting last 13 games to the season.
Up to 840 followers on the Dordt Athletics twitter account. It’s the most up to the minute way to follow Defender athletic scores and news updates. Like to hit 1000 followers before the basketball season comes to an end. Spread the word.
Now, time to get on a flight home.