History has been made! For the first time in Dordt basketball history, the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) Tournament Championship has been won by the Defenders. In a 12 point win (75-63) win over Morningside, Coach Douma’s team brought home the hardware for the 2012-2013 season.
Riding a seven game win streak and a 13-3 record since the turn of the year, the Defenders will now enter the national tournament at the College of the Ozarks in Branson, Missouri, coming off of a series of games that has been the best this group has ever played. This will be the second year in a row that Dordt will be present in Branson.
The team, led by a group of five seniors, is the first class Douma has coached for all four years, and the numbers only show a glimpse of their importance of the program.
“This is the first group of guys I’ve had for all four years, so obviously this class is a little special to me. In the short time they’ve been here they’ve revitalized the energy of the fan base in the DeWitt and shown how to truly play the game,” said Douma. “In the long term, they’ve set a precedence of quality play is and what we need to expect of ourselves as a program.
It’s been neat to watch these guys develop as players from freshman to senior year in a lot of capacities; both off and on the court. Not only have they been the most successful four year stretch Dordt’s seen, they’ve also represented Dordt very well.”
The senior class of Cliff Warner, Trevor Woltersdorff, Shawn Keizer, Jordan Vogel, and Chris Sievers has compiled a record of 95-33 in their four years, four 1000 point careers, a regular season GPAC Championship, a post season GPAC Championship, and two births at the national tournament.
Before GPAC tournament play began, Dordt finished the 2nd in the regular season with a record of 23-6. The first game of the tournament was a home victory over Briar Cliff, 91-76. Next was a contest against Midland that came down to the final seconds, but was able to hold off the final attack with the block of the season by Woltersdorff.
Dordt got some help from Morningside when they hit last second free throws against Northwestern to bring the championship game back to the DeWitt.
“It’s honestly so loud in there sometimes that I can’t hear Coach calling the plays when he’s 15 feet away from me,” said Sievers.
“It’s just an awesome site to step out on the floor and not only is the student section packed to its limits, but you have all sections of adults and upstairs full, and only a small section of the gym is for the opponent,” said Woltersdorff.
Dordt went a perfect 16-0 when playing on their home court this year, and have gone 31-1 in home games over the last two seasons and tournaments. Tournament play in Branson begins next week, with the team slated to play their first game on either Wednesday or Thursday.
Justin Pastoor, Sports Editor