Defender basketball eyes end of regular season

Caleb Pollema- Staff Writer

When the calendar nears February, this can only mean one thing during basketball season: the regular season is almost over, and the postseason picture begins to take shape.

This is the point at which both Dordt’s men’s and women’s basketball teams find themselves with only four games left in the regular season. 

Coming off a road trip to Doane University on the 23, the teams will head to Orange City on the 27 to take on Northwestern in the hotly-contested rival matchup.

After Saturday’s loss to Doane, the men hope to rebound against the Red Raiders in what looks to be a tough final four games to finish the conference slate. 

Dordt had one of their worst offense performances of the season against Doane, finishing with only 69 points while shooting a lackluster 39.3 percent from the floor.

“This is probably the only game this year where we just haven’t been good offensively,” said Dordt head coach, Brian Van Haaften. “If you want to be an upper echelon team you’ve got to make a few of the shots in this game.”

Despite a loss that is tough to swallow this late in the season, Dordt will need to have a short memory with several important games coming up that will determine seeding for the conference tournament.

“These last couple weeks are going to be fun as it is again a close conference race and we have a lot of rivalry games coming up,” said senior guard and Sioux Center native, Ben Gesink. “We have one home game left which is also senior night in a week, but I am just trying to take it all in as we only have four regular season games left.”

On the women’s side, Dordt will look to build off a 71-58 victory over Doane, as they head to Northwestern this week with hopes to replicate their defensive performance against the Red Raiders.

With some new additions to the roster, the women have lacked consistency at times during the season. 

“We have a lot of talent on our team,” Siennah Stamness, a junior guard, said, “As we look to finish the season, we are trying to put an emphasis on being confident in who we are and bringing our best effort day in and day out.”

The Defender women currently sit at fifth place in the GPAC standings with a 12-8 record overall and an 11-6 record in conference. Dordt will face three of the top four teams in their remaining five games, which will provide an exciting finish to the regular season. 

The Defenders are looking forward to the opportunity to continue to reach their potential as they gel as a unit and gain confidence in each other. As postseason approaches, team chemistry will be critical for the Defenders.

“Postseason play is always an exciting part of the year,” Stamness said. “There is a different ‘feel’ that comes with every game. I am looking forward to competing and seeing how far we can make it in the conference tournament.”

With not many games separating the top teams in the conference on both the men’s and women’s side, the next two weeks will prove critical for both teams as they fight for seeding in the GPAC conference tournament. 

After Northwestern, both teams will face Concordia, Dakota Wesleyan, and Briar Cliff, which will all be challenging opponents in the upper half of the conference rankings. 

One thing is for sure, both teams have opportunities to prove themselves as the regular season ends, and as an athlete that is all you can ever ask for.

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