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.
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.
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