FREMONT, Neb. – Another tightly contested game greeted the Midland University men’s basketball team on Saturday afternoon, this time against the Dordt College Defenders. The Warriors were all but out, but showed resilience down the stretch.
The Warriors (5-8, 3-5 GPAC) erased a 12-point halftime deficit against Dordt (10-5, 4-4 GPAC) and nearly pulled off the comeback victory, falling just short in an 83-80 loss.
Midland’s offense looked stagnant at best in the first half as solid ball pressure from Dordt kept the Warriors from finding rhythm. The Defenders led the entire first half, but their offense wasn’t exactly clicking either as Midland managed to keep it close for the first 10 minutes.
Dordt nearly blew the game wide open with just under nine minutes to play as the defenders connected on four-straight field goals attempts. Freshman Malik Martin sank back-to-back jumpers, then assisted on a Sam Brown layup to keep the Warriors within seven points of the lead.
The Defenders finished the half on a 7-2 run that grew their lead to 36-24 at halftime, their biggest lead being by 14.
Out of halftime, Midland ramped up defensive intensity and began chipping away at the Dordt lead. Thanks to good ball pressure, Midland started the half on a 20-8 run and tied the game at 44-44 on a three-pointer from Dillon Faubel.
A few minutes later, another three from Faubel put Midland up 52-48 with just under 10 and a half minutes to play. Midland had stolen all momentum in the second half, but the Defenders didn’t fold.
Dordt responded to Faubel’s back-to-back threes with a 16-2 run that reclaimed a commanding 10-point lead with under seven minutes to go.
Moments later, Midland connected on three-pointers on five of its next six possessions, three makes coming from Bowen Sandquist and two from Reggie Gradwell. The flurry of threes allowed midland to chip into the lead and trailed by three with under four minutes to play.
With just under two minutes left, Sandquist connected on another three-pointer to put Midland up 78-77. Jumpers on back-to-back possessions for Dordt pushed the lead back to three for the Defenders with less than a minute left.
Bryce Parsons connected on a layup with less than 30 seconds to make it 81-80 in favor of Dordt. Jesse Jansma connected on two free throws to push the lead back to three points for the Defenders.
After a missed three-pointer from Martin and an offensive rebound from Gradwell, Midland had two seconds to get a three-pointer off. Dordt defended the inbounds play well, as Parsons had to force a pass towards the top of the key. The Defenders knocked it away to survive with an 83-80 victory.
Parsons, the leader of the Warriors, continued to do just that, pacing Midland with 22 points. The junior recorded a double-double with 10 assists and also added five rebounds and three steals.
Sandquist had a quiet 14 points thanks to catching fire from deep late in the game. Gradwell and Faubel added 12 points each, on three made three-pointers a piece.
Dordt shared the wealth just as well as Jansma, Garrett Franken, and Josh VanLingen tied for the team lead with 18 points while Chad Barkema added 14.
As a mostly inexperienced team, Midland hasn’t been able to come away with wins in close, late-game situations as of late. Learning to win tight games will be a big step for the Warriors to take with plenty of basketball still to play in 2018-19.
Perhaps in need of a vacation, the Warriors will get on over the holiday break with a trip to Lake Wales, Florida, to play a pair of games in the Holiday Inn Express Classic. Midland will face the host and No. 21 Warner University Royals (8-6 overall) and Rio Grande University (6-6 overall) on December 18-20. The Warriors face the Royals first on Tuesday at 3:00 p.m. CST.
FREMONT, Neb. – The Great Plains Athletic Conference may just be the best basketball conference in the NAIA, and two ranked opponents showed us why on Saturday afternoon.
No. 24 Midland University and the No. 13 Dordt College needed an extra five minutes to decide a winner in their top-25 matchup, as Dordt (11-4, 6-3 GPAC) narrowly edged Midland (7-6, 4-5 GPAC) 94-93 in overtime.
Trailing by three on their final possession, the Warriors were unable to get a good look from behind the three-point line. Senior Maddie Egr drove the lane for two points, hoping there would be enough time on the clock to foul again and get another look. But with less than a second on the clock, it was too little too late.
It was a total team effort as six Warriors scored in double figures, including three starters and three players off the bench. Egr and senior point guard Madison Severson tied for the team lead with 16 points, each making seven field goals in the game.
Annie Rhinesmith led the Defenders with 26 points on seven made field goals and by going 8-10 from the free throw line. The talented guard did it all for Dordt, as she also finished with nine assists, six rebounds, and five steals.
Erika Feenstra, the leading scorer in NAIA Division II, finished with 22 points and seven rebounds after having a quiet 15 points in the first half. Midland held Feenstra nearly five points below her season average, which was at 26.9 points per game entering Saturday.
The Warriors started the game on an impressive 9-0 run and held the Defenders to just two made field goals in the first quarter, as Midland led 22-14 after the first 10 minutes. Junior Amanda Hansen record two early fouls in loose ball situations that sidelined her for the rest of the first half.
Midland’s offense continued to click, even without Hansen, as the Warriors stayed ahead of the Defenders for the whole second quarter, growing their lead to as many as 12 before taking an 11-point lead into halftime.
Dordt used the halftime break to make adjustments on offense and climbed its way back into the game. The Defenders erased an 11-point halftime deficit in just seven minutes to take a 56-55 lead with three minutes left in the quarter. The lead changed five more times in the third quarter before a jumper from Severson gave Midland a one-point lead entering the fourth quarter.
Dordt had stolen all momentum and jumped out to a five-point lead before Midland responded with an 11-0 run to go up by six with just under four minutes to play. Dordt tied the game with under a minute to play after an 8-2 run. With 12 seconds left, Rhinesmith sank a free throw to put Dordt up by one.
After a missed three from Severson, Hansen corralled an offensive rebound in the lane and was fouled on her shot attempt with just 0.3 seconds on the clock. Hansen missed her first attempt, but made her second one to force overtime.
Again, Dordt rushed out to a big lead, this time on a 7-0 run, which would eventually become an eight-point advantage at 89-81 with two minutes to play. Midland went on a small 7-1 run to get the game to 90-88 with 31 seconds to play.
The Defenders went 4-4 from the free throw line in the final 30 seconds, and after a three-pointer from Lexis Haase, the Warriors trailed 94-91 with 13 seconds left. Unable to find an open shot, Egr’s layup made it 94-93, as a defensive stand from Dordt sealed the victory in an otherwise offense-dominated game.
Free throws were commonplace on Saturday afternoon, as the two teams combined to shoot 67 of them in 45 minutes of play. Dordt was 29-40 (72.5 percent) while Midland finished 20-27 (74.1 percent).
Another close loss is tough to swallow for the Warriors, but that’s life in the GPAC. Top-tier opponents are on the schedule seemingly every week, which just means more opportunities await the Warriors.
Midland, who is now on a break from classes, also gets a break from the grueling GPAC schedule with three nonconference games (one exhibition) to finish out 2018. The Warriors start by hosting the Presentation College Saints (5-7 overall) on Tuesday, December 18. Tipoff at Wikert Event Center is set for 2:00 p.m.