National Exposure

Dancin' in Branson
Wednesday, March 7

Postgame Celebration and Meal

A reception following the game was held in the Silver Dollar City Parlor of the Keeter Center on campus. Sponsored by the Dordt College Advancement Office and Peoples Bank, guests were encouraged to sign up for drawings for free t-shirts and an iPad. An event is planned for the same location following Friday morning's game.


Barb helps sell and give away merchandise for the Dordt College Bookstore, Advancement Office, and Defender Gold Club.


Dale greets fans, players, and coaches at the door.


Coach Hiemstra brings up some news regarding his business. Dale lends an ear but Kyle wraps it up saying, "We're here now. We'll worry about it when we get back."


The crowd nearly doubles the initial anticipated number. But the generous staff at the Keeter Center makes accommodations.


Wes Fopma thanks the fans for coming out, Peoples Bank for sponsoring the event, and Coach Douma and the team for winning.


Three players from the 1959-60 Dordt team are present at the event. Ironically, all three make their home in Springfield, Missouri, about 40 miles from Branson. From left to right, they are: Forrest Vanden Ende, Tom Den Ouden, and Syne Altena.


President Zylstra arrives from Des Moines just after the final buzzer. He says a few words of congratulations and encouragement and adds, "Since Peoples Bank is paying for receptions after every game, we'll plan to be here until they run out of money." Wes Fopma took the mike joking, "That's not going to happen."


Coach Douma uses his time at the mike to thank the fans for providing an awesome supportive atmosphere. "It's this type of environment," he says, "that speaks volumes to the students we're trying to recruit."


Many players ate and hung out with their parents during the reception. TJ convinced his mom (in gold shirt) to buy him a new t-shirt.

The First Game

Benchside, Hiemstra takes to his usual stance--notebook on lap and leaning on knees.


At the first timeout, TJ is all ears as Coach Douma delivers his instructions.


A charge taken by Jordan Vogel has the team fired up and quickly helping him up.


An alley-oop dunk by Kyle Lindbergh at the 3:06 mark of the half gets the strong Defender crowd jacked up.


The "voice of the Defenders," Mike Byker, gives a summary of the first half of play.


The Defenders get off to a slow start in the second half, allowing the opposing team to get right back in it. During a timeout, in a tone that expresses both encouragement and frustration, TJ yells out, "Come on!"


Barb Mellema's intense face reveals every bounce of the ball on the rim as the game really tightens during the last few minutes.


The coaching staff looks to make sure the defense is set after a dramatic offensive possession.


TJ offers some tips to Shawn Keizer as soon as he sits down.


Until a big three from Cliff Warner goes down and some ensuing free throw are drained, the Defender faithful cannot watch easily.


Survive and move on. That's the mantra for the tournament. The Defenders commit three times as many turnovers as Cal Maritime, but move on. A win is a win, and after the team made it back to the locker room, cheers of celebration echoed down the hallway.


The team waits in the dark hallways west of the gym for the game before theirs to finish.


Trevor Wolterstorff is zoned in before the game. Each player handles his jitters differently. Chris Sievers prefers to keep it loose; he gets a kick out of watching the TV airing the game from the hallway for whenever Trevor enters and exits the gym.


Dale Vander Berg claims his seat long before Dordt tips off. He convinced his brother (left) to travel down from Wisconsin to take in the Dordt game(s). It's a close game between Indiana Wesleyan and Warner Pacific. I tell Dale it's going overtime. He says, "Don't say so." It does.


An overtime session in the game before theirs mean longer waiting for everyone. Coach Hiemstra jokes around with the fans waiting. Coach Douma (background) is propping himself up with a garbage can.


Volunteer Service

About two dozen Dordt volunteers gave a few hours of time to help clean up the debris left by the tornado that struck Branson just over a week ago.


As they cleaned up the lot, the volunteers were greeted by a woman on her way to work. Turns out the woman's mom used to own the land. The woman's brother then bought the land, but he lives outside of the country. She expressed many words of gratitude, prayed with a few others, and asked about Dordt College. "That's what's so cool about this," Barb said with a giant smile. "You don't know who you're helping, and then something like this happens."


Most of the work involved gathering garbage and branches and throwing them into piles.


A plastic bag serves as a reminder that even the bad can be turned into good.


The property is located along a main winding road through the center of town.


Wanda took three days to "cry it out." But since then she's had a positive attitude toward her misfortune. Her property was hit by the tornado. The worst part: it was just under a year earlier that her previous home was decimated by a house fire on the same property.


The front entry to Wanda's home was lost in the storm. A temporary solution was made possible by a neighbor who lent her concrete steps.


While they were at it, a few guys also quickly built some back steps to make access easier.


The Team’s Morning

The team took advantage of the continental breakfast at the hotel around 8. TJ innocently asked if they'd be able to wear polo shirts to the evening's festivities. Coach Hiemstra immediately followed rhetorically, "Have we ever worn polos before?" Chris Sievers had to chime in jokingly, "Come on, Terrence."


The team sat down in the upper section to watch Northwestern kick off the tournament with their matchup.


Even the players had to obey the seating restrictions; they were soon displaced by a small army of school children.


Coach Hiemstra took a few minutes to sit down and joke with Northwest Iowa fans during the Red Raider game.