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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
May 6, 2024
Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
May 6, 2024
Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
May 6, 2024

Basketball wins big and makes conference

Matt Jasaitis ’18 dunks during Saturday’s game. Photo by Sarah Trop

On Saturday, Darby Gymnasium was packed with support for graduating team members as the men’s basketball team celebrated Senior Day with a 116-87 victory over Carroll University extending their winning streak to five games. The victory moved them up to 10-5 in the Midwest Conference and 12-8 in all games, earning them a place in the Midwest Conference Tournament. 

Matt Jasaitis ’18 dunks during Saturday’s game.  Photo by Sarah Trop
Matt Jasaitis ’18 dunks during Saturday’s game.
Photo by Sarah Trop

“We’re playing really good ball right now,” said Hayes Gardner ’15, one of the graduating seniors honored at the game. “We lost to [Carroll] at their place, so we owed them one.”

Grinnell started off strong, going on an 11-2 run, but then Carroll came back, almost closing the gap. However the Pioneers surged forward again, ending the first half with a 47-38 lead. Grinnell hit their stride during the second half when Luke Yeager ’15 shot a layup beginning a 12-2 run. Mike Porter ’17 and Nate Balcom ’18 both hit 3-pointers, to give to Pioneers a 55-38 lead.

“[Yeager] returned to form in the second half and carried us with his shooting,” Gardner said. “He shot well but also played good defense.” 

Braedon Bayer ’18 then made a three-pointer and Ikaika Phillip ’18 made a free throw to keep Carroll at bay. With 17:37 left on the clock, Grinnell had a 59-40 lead.

“I think the team was able to stay focused and competitive throughout the entire game. Earlier this season, we had trouble putting together complete games. So we are definitely moving in the right direction as a team and getting ready to make a run in the playoffs,” Jack Taylor ’15 wrote in an email to The S&B.

In addition to scoring a team-leading 42 points, Taylor shot ten of 13 on 3-pointers. “I thought I was able to find openings against Carroll’s zone defense and was able to efficiently knock down shots off of the catch,” he wrote.

Yeager was another high-scorer, accumulating 21 points by the end of the game and shooting at 44 percent. Another senior, Tague Zachary ’15 collected a game-high of five rebounds.

“The senior class is one of the better ones we have had. In Jack Taylor and Luke Yeager, we have two of the top scorers in the country. In Tague Zachary, we have a very mobile 6’8” player. And in Dylan Bartuch [’15] and Hayes Gardner, we have two of the hardest workers I have ever coached. Together they form a formidable group that will not be easily replaced,” head coach David Arseneault wrote in an email to The S&B.

The decisive victory Saturday was a great way to celebrate the seniors on the team.

“Playing in front of a packed house on senior night was awesome. I felt it brought us closer together as a team and the seniors were able to make some awesome memories,” Taylor wrote. “It is tough right now to reflect on my career here with so much at stake in the next few weeks. But I am trying to slow down and enjoy every small moment because I realize it will be over before I know it.”

For the graduating members of the team, Senior Day gave them a chance to reflect on their time playing basketball at Grinnell.

“It’s hard to believe that it’s nearing an end. It’s been phenomenal, between home Saturdays with rowdy crowds, and the not-so-nice crowds on the road, and tough practices and good wins. It’s been a lot of fun with a lot of good guys to be surrounded with,” Gardner said. 

The Midwest Conference Tournament will take place February 27-28 in De Pere, Wisconsin. In the meantime, the team hopes to continue their winning streak at Lake Forest College this Saturday at 3 p.m.

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