Basketball teams make Whitworth history

In sports, it is all too easy to let one crucial moment define an entire season. However, both men’s and women’s basketball teams have chosen not to let their disappointments dictate their attitudes. Even after the men’s surprising loss in the first round of the NCAA Division III tournament and the women’s fall to undefeated George Fox in the NWC semifinals, each team has dubbed its season as successful in the end. This year was the women’s fourth consecutive appearance in the NWC tournament. It was also their fourth consecutive time finishing with a winning record.

For senior KC McConnell, the highlights of the season keep the losses in perspective.

“Probably the biggest highlight for me was our win down at Whitman when we beat them by three on their own court,” McConnell said. “It was a big upset and win for us in that rivalry game.”

McConnell was a large part of her team’s success. She led the Pirates in scoring this season with 514 total points and an average of 19.8 per game. She was also the leading rebounder with 166 total (an average of 6.4 per game). In the history of Whitworth women’s basketball, McConnell ranks third on the all-time scoring list, sealing her place among the university’s top-tier athletes. But McConnell is also committed to success in the classroom and her community.

As a double major in kinesiology and education, she has maintained a 3.95 GPA and was selected as a First-Team Academic All-American for the second year in a row. On top of that, McConnell has been involved in community outreach projects through the Whitworth Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and the Boys and Girls Club. Her involvement in the community, combined with her performance in the classroom and on the court contributed to her being named as a finalist for the prestigious Josten s Trophy—an award her brother, former Whitworth guard Dustin McConnell, was also named as a finalist for.

The men’s season also came to an untimely end when they were upset by Whitman College. The Pirates, ranked third in the nation, were expected to continue their playoff run farther than the second round. Despite the loss, head coach Matt Logie maintains that his team “rose to the occasion.”

“One of the things that I’ve always tried to do is look at potential, whether it’s as individuals, as coaches or as a program, and say ‘What’s the ceiling for this group and this team?’” Logie said. “When we look back on how a season plays out, we can be proud of whatever results we have if we know we did everything within our power to reach that ceiling and I think this team came extremely close to doing that.”

The Bucs, who were at one point this season ranked first in the nation, finished 26-2 overall. This is the 10th year in a row they have been crowned NWC champions and it was also their 10th consecutive playoff berth. On average, the Pirates scored 13.6 more points, grabbed 4.5 more rebounds, made 6.6 percent more 3-pointers and sunk 8.5 percent more field goals than their opponents every game.

Senior George Valle, NWC player of the year, helped lead his team to the impressive season. Valle, who has been a starter ever since the beginning of his freshman year at Whitworth, was also a Jostens Trophy finalist, like McConnell. In fact, Whitworth was the only school to have two athletes as finalists for the award this year. This is also the first time Whitworth has ever had two finalists up for the trophy in the same season.

Valle is a marketing major and holds a 3.79 GPA. He was a named as a third-team Academic All-American and is also a member of Whitworth’s National Honor Society.

“My personal highlight was when we clinched the NWC Regular Season Championship at PLU and a home game for the NWC tournament,” Valle said. “It was a great accomplishment for the team because we had set that goal at the beginning of the year and were able to reach it. We put in a lot of hard work to get to that point.”

Valle finished his career ranking seventh on Whitworth’s all-time scoring list.

“George followed a path that had been blazed before him,” Logie said. “One thing is for certain, he is one of those guys that our program will point to for years on end.

Caleb Mathena

Staff Writer

 

Men's basketball team ends season with close match

Men’s basketball concluded their season after a heartbreaking 88-86 loss to 11th nationally ranked Whitman on Saturday. The Pirates’ first NCAA tournament game was their second overall loss to the Missionaries this year. The first came during the regular season, which caused the Whitworth powerhouse to drop from their No. 1 spot in the national rankings mid-season. The Pirates were off to a solid start in the first half. A 3-pointer from junior Kenny Love in the first minutes established the Bucs’ lead, which they would hold for the majority of the game. Freshmen Kyle Roach’s layup put the score to 37-17, the Pirates largest lead of the night, with about ten minutes left to play in the half.

From there, the Missionaries started to regain their footing. After the tenth minute and a series of Pirate fouls, Whitworth lost their momentum and were outscored 26-15 before the buzzer sent them into the locker room with a slim 46-43 lead.

The massive home crowd welcomed out the Pirates as they stepped back on the court, hopeful that they could stage a resurgence. Valle scored two right out of the gate, leading to another four unanswered points from the Bucs. For a moment, it seemed as if Whitworth would pull away once again until Whitman’s sophomore guard, Tim Howell, ended the Pirates’ long-standing lead and single-handedly scored the next 14 of his team’s points. Howell would go on to score a combined 32 points, 22 of which occurred in the second half alone.

Whitworth would hold the lead five more times before the end of the game. Sears picked up a block in the 11th minute of the second half and a dunk a few seconds after, putting his team within one point of the Missionaries. Junior Kenny Love sunk back-to-back 3-pointers with six minutes left, giving the Pirates a 76-75 lead.

With 14 seconds left on the clock, Love made yet another three—an apparent game-saver that rescued the Bucs from their 83-86 deficit. Yet, in literally the last second, Whitman’s Chris McDonald threw up a last-ditch shot to win and send the Whitman stands and coaches into an uproar. The final score was 88-86.

2016 NWC player of the year, Valle amassed 26 points for the night. Love scored 20 of his own, grabbed 7 rebounds, and went 5-8 from the 3-point line.

Whitworth finishes one of their best seasons in school history, 26-2.

 

Caleb Mathena

Staff Writer

Men’s team beats Lutes for conference championship

Men’s basketball improved their record to 26-1 last weekend after winning the Northwest Conference Championship for the 10th consecutive season. The Pirates defeated the University of Puget Sound Loggers last Thursday and the Pacific Lutheran University Lutes on Saturday. Unlike their previous matchup against the Loggers, the Bucs dominated almost all 40 minutes of Thursday’s NWC tournament semifinal, besting UPS 75-58. The last time the two teams faced off, senior George Valle put in a last-minute layup to avoid overtime and win the game. This time, the Bucs found themselves trailing only once.

“After watching film, we knew what we had to do to change our defensive plan,” junior Drew Sears said. “They had way too many corner threes the last time we played [UPS] so I told my guys to drive them into me, make sure they don’t shoot the threes and I’ll take care of the rest.”

The game began with a layup from Sears to give the Bucs the lead in the first few seconds. Sears would later finish out the night as the team’s leading scorer with 16 total points and four blocks.

Junior Kenny Love followed up with a 3-pointer to pull the Pirates out of their only deficit of the game in the third minute of the first half. From there on out, it was Whitworth’s game.

All five starters for the Pirates scored in double digits. Junior Christian Jurlina was second in scoring among his teammates with 13 points. Jurlina also co-led the Bucs in rebounds with Valle, who each grabbed nine. “It was just great teamwork,” Jurlina said. “We’re an unselfish team so if someone’s wide open, we’re going to pass it to them. We all have confidence in each other to knock down these shots.”

In the end, the Pirates defeated the Loggers, 75-58.

A packed Fieldhouse watched as the Pirates claimed a 75-62 victory over the PLU Lutes Saturday night.

Love started off the game with a 3-pointer 30 seconds into the first half to put the Pirates ahead early. The Lutes answered with a layup and a 3-pointer of their own to take the lead 5-3. The Bucs’ defense struggled for the next eight minutes to respond until senior Matt Staudacher’s 3-pointer brought them within one point.

“It was just basic stuff we weren’t addressing on the defensive end,” Love said. “We weren’t getting back fast enough, they were getting easy looks, and we just weren’t playing like we know we can.”

The Bucs finally found their rhythm again with 13 minutes to go in the first half when Love generated five fast points with back-to-back steals and gave the Pirates a 20-18 lead.

“Throughout the course of his career, Kenny has been a playmaker,” head coach Matt Logie said. “He can do it in a lot of different ways and our guys feed off of that. We’re really lucky to have so many different guys that can step up in those moments.”

Love opened the second half just like he did in the first, with a 3-pointer within the first few seconds, lengthening the Pirates’ lead. Love would finish the night with 23 points and four steals, leading three other double-digit scorers for the Pirates.

“I thought we finished much better than we started,” Logie said. “Our guys have kept their focus through all sorts of adversities and circumstances this year by focusing on what’s ahead.”

Despite the Lutes’ efforts to regain ground late in the game, the damage was already done. The Pirates won 70-62—their 10th time in a row as NWC champs.

Make sure to visit whitworthpirates.com to see when and where men’s basketball will play their first NCAA tournament game.

Caleb Mathena

Staff Writer

NWC Semifinals: Men's Basketball Recap

Men’s basketball stood their ground in the Fieldhouse Thursday night, defeating the University of Puget Sound Loggers 75-58 in the NWC tournament semifinals. The game began with a layup from junior Drew Sears to give the Bucs the lead in the first few seconds. Sears would later finish out the night as the team’s leading scorer with 16 total points and four blocks.

In what turned out to be an offensively explosive game, all five starters for the Pirates scored in the double-digits. Junior Christian Jurlina went 8-8 from the free throw line, secured nine rebounds, and scored a total of 13 points altogether. Junior Kenny Love finished the night with 12 points and five rebounds.

The Pirates will host Pacific Lutheran this Saturday at 7 p.m. for the conference championship game.

 

Caleb Mathena

Staff Writer

Pirates to host conference semifinals after two wins

After a pair of close victories over the Puget Sound Loggers, 67-65, and Pacific Lutheran Lutes, 73-71, the No. 3 Whitworth men’s basketball team reigns as the seven-time Northwest Conference champion. The Pirates started off the weekend with an early 14-4 lead over the Loggers Friday night within the first five minutes of the game. Shortly after, the Loggers went on an 18-8 run to tie the Pirates 22-22 with 8:16 left in the first half.

“It’s always different going on the road and playing at the opponent’s court,” senior George Valle said. “Playing at the Fieldhouse is always nice because it’s a packed house and we are really familiar with the hoops. Playing on the road is really tough.”

A technical foul on head coach Matt Logie for coming out too far on the court gave the Loggers two foul shots and a two-point lead. However, the Pirates quickly recovered to finish out the first half tied with the Loggers, 34-34.

“We got off to a really good start,” Valle said. “But then we hit a little slump and let [Puget Sound junior Carlos Mancasola] get going and he hit about five or six three-pointers to end the first half, which really allowed them to go on a run.”

The Loggers led the game for most of the second half and opened with a 6-0 run. With 10 minutes left in the game Puget Sound gained a nine-point lead over the Pirates (57-48). Junior Kenny Love wouldn’t let it last for long as he scored 13 of his total 24 points putting the Pirates one point away from the Loggers (61-62).

With less than 15 seconds left in the game, Love drove straight through the Logger’s defense but missed a shot at the basket. Valle rebounded the ball and swiftly put up the buzzer-beating, game-winning shot.

“It was really a right time and place moment,” Valle said. “I just threw it at the hoop and wasn’t really sure if it when but from the way everyone celebrated I thought ‘it must’ve gone in.’”

Love, Valle, and junior Drew Sears were the top three scorers of the game with 24, 17 and 10 points, respectively. Valle, Sears and junior Christian Jurlina were the top rebounders with eight rebounds apiece.

“We’ve been preparing since last season for these kind of moments,” assistant coach Damion Jablonski said. “Our theme all year has simply been the word ‘finish’ and that’s really been the mindset since the start of the off season last year that this year our team had a belief in themselves that when things were on the line we were going to find a way to finish.”

The following night, the Pirates faced the Pacific Lutheran Lutes. The Pirates built up a 10-point lead in the first half but the Lutes answered back to finish the first half trailing the Pirates 27-33.

Whitworth came out in the second half with a 12-point lead (63-51) over Pacific Lutheran. Yet again, the Lutes fought back to get within a two-point distance (72-70) from the Pirates with less than a minute left in the game.

Love sealed the game for the Pirates with a steal in the last four seconds and a free throw to put the Pirates at their final game score of 73. The Pirates ended the game with a final score of 73-71.

“PLU is a very good three-point shooting team,” Logie said. “They made some really tough shots that allowed them to stay in the game and I was really proud of our guys for fighting through some of the adversity that we had to face tonight.”

Jurlina finished the game as the highest scorer for the Pirates with 18 points. Valle was the second highest scorer with 15 points and tied with freshman Kyle Roach for most rebounds (6). Sears and Love finished with 10 points each.

“I think we are always looking for ways to improve, but our guys really did a great job of executing tonight,” Logie said.

Whitworth will play next in the NWC semifinal game against Puget Sound on Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Fieldhouse.

 

Jordanne Perry

Staff Writer

Pirates win twice in final home weekend

The Pirates, who just recently dropped from No. 1 to No. 5 in the nation after an unexpected loss to Whitman College two weeks ago, secured two more wins last weekend against the George Fox Bruins 83-67 and Willamette Bearcats 72-53 in their final two home games of the regular season. The victories improved the Buc’s  overall record to 22-1 and 13-1 in conference. The Pirates got off to a slow start Friday night as the Bruins acquired an early lead in the first half with a quick steal and score.

“We knew going in that they were a really aggressive team that uses the 3-point line to attack you with their guard play,” head coach Matt Logie said. “We just didn’t do a great job in the first half defending against that.”

But the Bucs responded quickly and overtook George Fox with a three-point play by senior George Valle, putting the Pirates up 27-22.

Valle would go on to get ten rebounds and score 23 points before the end of the night, making it his fifth double-double of the season.

By the end of the half, Whitworth had extended their lead to 46-35, which was emphasized with a dunk by junior Drew Sears in the final minutes.

The Pirates held the Bruins scoreless for the first three minutes of the second half and increased their lead to 54-35 with consecutive scores from Jurlina, Sears and Valle. While the Bruins’ 3-point accuracy was well above their average of 37.4 percent in the first half (44.4 percent), the Bucs managed to hold them to 38.5 percent after the break.

Whitworth finished out strong, making 61.9 percent of their field goals. Their final push insured the Pirate win, 83-67.

“It was a sloppy win, but we’ll take it” Roach said. “We’ll bounce back tomorrow.”

The Pirates made the adjustment and seized the lead early in their Senior Night game against the Bearcats, scoring 11 unanswered points before their opponent was able to respond. The Pirate defense smothered Willamette, holding them to just 21 points in the first half. The Bearcats were only able to sink 23.8 percent of their shots before halftime.

The Bearcats finally got on the board around the seven-minute mark with a layup, but it was too late. The Bucs dominated the boards with 28 rebounds to their opponent’s 18. Sears led the team with 14 total rebounds, seven of which were in the first half. With 13 points of his own, Valle led the Bucs to a 33-21 lead over Willamette at the break.

“It’s a big credit to our defense,” Valle said. “Yesterday, we struggled to get stops and we weren’t contesting their 3-point shots, but today we brought the energy which allowed us to get off to a fast start.”

The second half opened with a quick three-point play by Jurlina in the first minute. Jurlina finished the night with a total of 15 points and seven rebounds. Junior guard Kenny Love also made a big impact with 13 points of his own. Love made an impressive 61.5 percent of his attempted shots.

“When you focus on the defensive end of the floor it really carries over to your offensive game,” Love said. “It was just a matter of bringing that same defensive prowess we had yesterday to today and then just trusting myself on the offensive end.”

Whitworth put it away in the end 72-53.

The Pirates travel to Tacoma next weekend for their final two regular season games against Puget Sound Friday at 8 p.m. and Pacific Lutheran Saturday at 6 p.m.

 

Caleb Mathena

Staff Writer

 

Athlete honors grandfather with donation

NOTE: The version of this story that appeared in Issue 9 of The Whitworthian incorrectly stated that the donation had been sent to the Inland Northwest Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association.  It should have read as being sent to the Washington State Chapter. The article in this online edition reflects this change. Senior George Valle has chosen the Alzheimer’s Association for his $100 donation reward after winning a shooting contest organized by The Whitworthian.

Valle, along with four other athletes from both the men’s and women’s basketball teams, met in Graves Gym on Sunday, Feb. 7 to compete in a shooting contest. Sophomore Callie Harwood, senior Faith Emerson and juniors Kenny Love and Christian Jurlina joined Valle in a challenge to successfully shoot the most Nerf basketballs into miniature hoops.

After making 17 baskets within the two-minute time limit, Valle was awarded $100 to donate to a charity of his choice. Valle decided to donate the money to the Alzheimer’s Association.

“My grandpa on my dad’s side passed away in 2011,” Valle said. “Alzheimer’s contributed a lot to his passing.”

Odd Valle—George’s grandfather—started showing signs of short term memory loss around the time Valle entered high school. However, by the time Valle reached his junior year, it was clear that his grandfather had Alzheimer’s.

“He asked who his grandchildren are,” Valle said. “Stuff like that really impacts you. I was at an age where you were really able to understand what’s going on and how serious of an issue it is.” Valle’s donation has been sent to the Washington State Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association which strives to provide education and support for families dealing with Alzheimer’s.

“Alzheimer’s really needs to have an awareness in not only this community but internationally,” Alzheimer’s Association events coordinator Leslie Woodfill said. “In Washington State there are over 100,000 people with Alzheimer’s disease.”

The Alzheimer’s Association is also planning a major event in October. The Walk to End Alzheimer’s will take place to raise money for Alzheimer’s research. Woodfill hopes to see upwards of a thousand participants this year.

The Alzheimer’s Association has also received donations from Whitworth’s Alzheimer’s Club led by co-presidents Devon Wattenbarger and Forest Dexter. The club has held fundraisers and auctions to raise money for Alzheimer’s research.

“We don’t get any money ourselves,” Wattenbarger said. “Any money we get goes right to research.”

While many organizations and groups have donated money and effort to help find a cure to Alzheimer’s, Woodfill says that more and more people will likely be diagnosed with this disease.

“The research that needs to happen can save my kids and your kids and your grandkids and my grandkids,” Woodfill said. “If a cure isn’t found, it’s just going to get worse and worse.”

 

Peter Houston-Hencken

Sports Editor

Men's basketball wins 15 consecutive games after successful weekend

The men’s basketball team added two more victories to their now 15-game winning streak last weekend. The Pirates defeated the Pacific Lutheran Lutes, 93-62 and the Puget Sound Loggers, 87-68 to keep their top spot in the NWC, 8-0 and their No. 1 spot in the nation.The Friday-night match began with an early lead assisted by senior George Valle. Valle scored eight shots from the field as well as a 3-pointer in the first half. The Pirates surged ahead and less than ten minutes into the game, the score was 26-6. “We were able to come out really fast,” Valle said. “So I just took what the game flow gave me. I was able to knock down a couple open looks and get my confidence up.”

Junior Kenny Love also assisted the Pirates in the first half by scoring four shots from the field and two 3-pointers.

The rest of the half consisted of the Pirates strengthening their lead and shutting down the Lutes. By the end of the first half, the score had reached 47-25.

The Pirates did not ease up on the Lutes in the second half. Junior Christian Jurlina greatly assisted the team in the second half by scoring two 3-pointers. Jurlina made a total of eight shots from the field on Friday night.

The Pirates nearly doubled their score in the second half, while the Lutes were only able to make 37 points. The Pirates made 55.7 percent of their shots from the field Friday night compared to Pacific Lutheran’s 33.9 percent. The match ended with a score of 93-62.

“We wanted to attack quickly in transition,” Head Coach Matt Logie said. “It starts with your defense. You have got to get stops. I thought our guys did a good job of attacking.”

The Puget Sound Loggers brought an early pressure to Saturday’s match. The Loggers briefly took the lead at 5-4, but the Pirates soon took it back and would hold it for the rest of the game. However, they did not do so with ease. For the entire first half, the Loggers closely trailed Whitworth and never fell behind more than nine points.

“UPS is a really good team,” Logie said. “Coming into this weekend they won five of their last six games so you never feel like you’re out of the woods.”

Valle succeeded in scoring two three pointers in the first half and led the Pirate’s offensively. The half ended with a score of 41-33.

The Pirates pulled ahead in the second half with the help of Jurlina. Jurlina scored four shots from the field in the second half and 22 for the entire match. The Pirates slowly increased their score throughout the second half, gaining as much as a 24-point lead. The match ended with a score of 87-68.

“I think it came down to defense,” Jurlina said. “We had to step up, make sure that we didn’t let them have wide-open three [pointers], we didn’t let their drivers have easy driving lanes.”

The Pirates will face Linfield College and Lewis & Clark College in Oregon this coming weekend. The games will be held on Friday at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 6 p.m., respectfully.

Peter Houston-Hencken

Sports Editor

Men's basketball stays perfect in conference

As Friday night’s game began, the Pirates struggled to take a solid lead. The Willamette Bearcats held back the Pirates and did not let them gain more than a four point lead for most of the first half. With minutes left, the Bearcats broke free and ended half with a score of 37-30.As the second half began, the Pirates attempted to make up for lost ground. This proved to be difficult until the Pirates went on an 11-point run, putting them at a 51-49 lead. Both teams struggled to end the game. As a result, the second half ended with a score of 69-69.

Once the overtime period began, the Pirates broke free from the Bearcats and were able to score six points before Willamette could score one. The score ended with a Pirate victory, 81-77.

“I think it was more of a continuation of the second half,” Head Coach Matt Logie said. “In order to force overtime we had to get a stop and score. Being able to do that gave us a lot of confidence going into overtime.”

The Pirates had no problem taking down George Fox on Saturday night. Less than ten minutes into the match, the Pirates already held a ten-point lead over the Bruins, 21-11. Throughout the first half, the Pirates widened their lead and ended the half with a score of 48-31.

“We knew that we had to address the lack of energy and talk that we didn’t have [against Willamette],” junior Kenny Love said. “We knew that if we brought those to today’s game, we’d fair more successfully.”

The second half of the match paralleled the first, with the Pirates racking up points and the Bruins struggling to keep up. Senior George Valle led the Pirates’ offense with eight shots from the field and a 3-pointer. Senior Christian Jurlina also carried the Pirates to victory with seven shots from the field and one 3-pointer.

The Pirates ended the match, almost doubling the Bruins’ score, 91-57.

The Pirates continue to hold their national ranking and a 6-0 conference record. The Pirates will play again at home against Pacific Lutheran next weekend.

Peter Houston-Hencken

Sports Editor

Men's basketball moves to No. 1 ranking

Whitworth’s men’s basketball team claimed first place on the D3hoops.com “Top 25” list of Division III teams last Sunday. The Pirates received 15 of the 25 possible votes of D3’s panel of coaches to receive the No. 1 spot.Before reaching the top of the list, the Pirates held second place under Augustana College. However, Whitworth’s 13-0 record and 603 points set them above Augustana’s 13-1 record and 557 points.

“The guys really worked hard over the off-season to prepare themselves for a special year and we’ve been able to capitalize on that opportunity,” Head Coach Matt Logie said.

Throughout their season so far, the Pirates have managed to pull off some tremendous victories. A match against Northwest University ended with a crushing score of 84-54. However, their biggest win came from a match against Millsaps College which ended with their highest final lead yet, 86-47.

However, the Pirates had some close calls along the way as well. The Pirates suffered a defeat in an exhibition match against the University of Montana, 83-64. Luckily for the Pirates, exhibition matches are not factored in to the DIII ranking. The Pirates achieved their narrowest win in Las Vegas, Nevada at the D3hoops.com Classic. The Pirates were matched up against Calvin College in a match that ended with a score of 68-65.

“Our biggest focus is just trying to get better,” Logie said. “At the end of the year, we want to be able to look back and know that we came as close to reaching our potential, or exceeding, it as possible.”

The Pirates have found their success through the achievements of many of their athletes. Junior Christian Jurlina is the Pirates’ top scorer. Jurlina scores an average of 15.8 points per game.

Senior George Valle has also assisted the Pirates with an average of 14.3 points per game. Junior Kenny Love has continued a successful career this season. As the reigning NWC player of the year, Love has averaged 13.8 this season. Senior Matt Staudacher has also averaged double-digits. Staudacher has a season average of 10.2 points.

“I think this is arguably one of the best teams in Whitworth’s history,” Logie said. “But there’s so much yet to be determined and how that story ultimately gets written.”

The Pirates will travel to Oregon this weekend to take on Willamette University on Friday and George Fox University on Saturday. The games will begin at 8 p.m. and 6 p.m., respectively.

Peter Houston-Hencken

Sports Editor

Men's basketball keeps streak alive

The men’s basketball team faced off against the Pacific University Boxers on Friday night in Oregon. The Pirates continued their now 13-game winning streak by beating the Boxers, 62-50. The pirates hold a conference record of 4-0. The match on Friday night began on a positive note for the Pirates when senior Matt Staudacher made the first points of the match with a 3-pointer. By the halfway mark of the first half, the Pirates had almost doubled the Boxer’s score, 14-8.

While Whitworth held the lead, it was clear that the Pirates were struggling with Pacific’s defensive strategy. The Pirates spent a lot of time in the first half looking for shots that were difficult to find.

With three and a half minutes left in the half, the Boxers were able to make a comeback and tie up the match at 22-22. However, the Pirates were able to take back the lead by the end of the half and finished with a score of 33-28.

“[Pacific] had a good game plan,” junior Kenny Love said. “We had to take what they were giving us and just use the opportunity to see how we could exploit the defense.”

The Pirates were able to keep up with Pacific’s defense in the second half and kept the ball on Whitworth’s half for most of the period. Staudacher once again began with a successful 3-pointer.

About half way through the second period, Whitworth held a small lead at 50-44. Steady scoring by both teams throughout the half kept Whitworth in the lead until the end of the game. The final score ended at 62-50.

“We needed to rebound the basketball. That was one of the most important keys going into this game,” head coach Matt Logie said. “I thought we did a pretty good job of finishing possessions.”

Staudacher led the team’s offense with five field goals and three 3-pointers. Senior George Valle secured the most rebounds with a total of eight by the end of the game.

As of Jan. 5, the men continue to hold their second-place national rank for Division III schools. Whitworth has an overall record of 11-0 and 596 points. The Pirates are ranked just below Augustana College which has a record of 12-0 and 625 points.

The men’s team will face Willamette in Salem, Oregon on Friday, Jan. 15 at 8 p.m.

It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad basketball court: Basketball season begins with Monday Madness and a midnight win

On Monday, Nov. 9, the Whitworth community gathered in the Fieldhouse to kick off Monday Madness for the 2015-16 basketball season for both women and men’s basketball. The men’s team also took on La Verne in a midnight showdown, Friday morning, coming out with a 87-80 victory for the first game of the season.

The stands were packed on Monday as students and faculty crowded into the Fieldhouse to experience Monday Madness. Associated Students of Whitworth University Sports Events/Tour- naments Coordinator Bailey Kasler and ASWU Activities Coordinator Bailey Vallee were the emcees for the night, leading the crowd in multiple activities.

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To start off the night, the Whitworth version of “Downtown” by Macklemore was shown featuring all the sports teams. Soon after, the players from both the men’s and the women’s teams were introduced along with their positions. Free pizza and donuts followed and led into a “bump” tournament with a player versus a friend they had previously chosen.

A dunking competition came later in the night, with three players from the men’s team showing the crowd their skills and receiving scores from a panel of esteemed professors. Bouncy ball musical chairs continued to be a crowd favorite similar to last year’s Midnight Madness. At end the night, more donuts and pizza were passed out and everyone received a free T-shirt.

“Monday Madness got me pumped for basketball season,” sophomore Kathryn Bischo said. “I am so ready now, I want to go to all the games and cheer everyone on.

All of this was in anticipation for Friday’s season opener against the La Verne Leopards. The game tipped off at 12:01 a.m., the earliest possible starting time for NCAA division III schools. The Pirates built a strong 18-point lead in the rst half but were challenged when the Leopards fought back with strong shooting. Whitworth was able to ght back and ended the half with a 42-37 lead.

“La Verne shot the ball really well,” Pirates’ head coach Matt Logie said. “Even when we played good defense some of those shots still went in. That can be defeating, but I think our guys handled it well and kept attacking on offense.”

The Pirates continued to battle throughout the second half but struggled with La Verne’s three point shooting. This took the Leopards to a 69-67 trail to the Pirates with just 3:22 left in the half. Whitworth then took control with a 7-0 run, finishing out the game with a 87-80 victory over the Leopards.

“La Verne shot really well and I thought that we played well also,” senior guard Derek Isaak said. “They continued to make shots and make it tough. Overall, I thought we played well and did what we needed to do to get the win.”

“I was proud of our guys for battling through some adversity,” Coach Logie said. “It was a typical first game of the year with some ups and downs and momentum swings but we really relied on our leadership and our experience.”

Senior guard George Valle led the scoring finishing with 29 points and 10 rebounds, just one point shy of his career high. Junior guard Kenny Love finished with 24 points and junior Christian Jurlina contributed 17 points.

“George Valle was terrific all night long and gave us energy while tearing up the paint with offensive rebounds,” Logie said. “Christian [Jurlina], Kenny [Love], and Matt [Staudacher], all the guys that had been there before were really solid and I thought that everyone made a contribution.”

The Pirates take on Caltech on Friday, Nov. 20, at 7 p.m. in the Fieldhouse.

 

McKinley Powers

Staff Writer

Contact McKinley Powers at

mpowers18@my.whitworth.edu