Aaron Ladzinski-Staff Writer
The Dordt men’s basketball team made the GPAC tournament once again, though this time around the team barely slipped into the playoffs. As the clock ran down on the season, the Defenders faced set of final games that proved vital to the team’s making it into the GPAC tournament. The men managed to pull off enough wins, finishing the reason with an overall record of 14-16 and 5-13 in conference.
Coach Ross Douma said this about the season as a whole: “Our goals are never related to numbers and winning, but rather focus on spiritual growth, relationships and academics. Therefore, we are in a constant state of evaluating and re-evaluating these areas. Our coaching staff has been quite pleased with our spiritual, academic and social development.”
Danny Vos, a senior from Ripon, CA, reflected on his final year on the DeWitt stage and being able to share those memories with fellow senior Alex Terpstra. “Although the win column isn’t exactly where we want it to be, Alex and I would both agree that we had the chance to become better leaders on and off the court. It is special to be able to work with the guys, especially the younger ones, and see the growth they have made from coming in in August to now in all areas of their life, including basketball. We have grown very close as a team, and there are friendships that Alex and I will always remember.”
The Defenders did not fare as well against some of the more dominant teams this year, a disappointment that may largely be attributed to a mass of injuries that plagued the team. “Injuries –forced too many young players to carry the workload,” said Douma.
After coaching the Dordt men’s basketball team for multiple years, Douma reflected, “Freshman and sophomores simply don’t win games in this conference.”
Although the year proved tough for the team, Vos will still walk off the court with a collection of favorable memories. His favorite part of the 2016-17 season? “Our thanksgiving trip to Michigan when we were able to do some team bonding through card games, and had a last-second win.”
Coach Douma said that “informal times with the team, particularly our devotional time together each Friday during the community block” made up his favorite moments of the season.
As the Defenders look towards their first playoff game against Briar Cliff, Vos shared his thoughts about the men’s basketball program at Dordt. “This is a great program, and there is a lot of work that goes into it. The coaches go above and beyond with the work and effort they pour into the program and into us players. They really focus on making us better in all areas of our life by the time we graduate. The student assistant and manger always put others first and are there to help with whatever needs to be done. And the players believe in the program and work hard to make it the best it can be.”
Briar Cliff took a 96-79 victory over the Defenders in Sioux City, Iowa, on February 22. The loss in the GPAC Quarter Final was the end to the Defenders season.