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The Scarlet & Black

Senior Day bittersweet for basketball

Anthony LaMacchia ’16 in action during the Senior Day game in which the men beat Illinois College 134-94. Photo by Rae Kuhlman

Gabe Lehman

Anthony LaMacchia ’16 in action during the Senior Day game in which the men beat Illinois College 134-94. Photo by Rae Kuhlman
Anthony LaMacchia ’16 in action during the Senior Day game in which the men beat Illinois College 134-94. Photo by Rae Kuhlman

Senior Day came and went for the basketball teams last Saturday with opposite results for the men’s and women’s teams. The men’s team, mired in a dreadful season, briefly tasted success as they walloped Illinois College to the tune of 134-94. Conversely, the women’s team, in the midst of a historically good season and preparing for the Conference championship tournament, fell to Illinois College 67-60.

Many seniors have mixed feeling about finishing their last basketball seasons at Grinnell. 

“I would say it is very bittersweet, just because Darby has been my home for four years,” said Jordan Matosky ’16, women’s basketball player.

Fellow senior Brent LeMoine ’16 echoed this sentiment.

“The term bittersweet comes around a lot,” LeMoine said.

Men’s head coach David Arseneault was exceedingly happy with the outcome of the Illinois College game.

“It was wonderful to see our team so full of life and energy in our last game. Truthfully, if we played with that kind of passion throughout the season, we’d be headed to the playoffs now,” Arseneault wrote in an email to the S&B.

LeMoine agreed with his Arsenault’s take on the game.

“We were emotionally invested,” LeMoine said. “With ‘the system,’ you have to have something to play for in order to get maximum effort.” 

LeMoine also had a moment of his own to remember in the triumph over Illinois College. With the Pioneers leading, all three seniors, Anthony LaMacchia ’16, Ryan Davis ’16 and LeMoine were put on the court in the waning minutes of their careers. LeMoine made a three-point shot, but it was revoked due to a foul. The very next play, he got the ball back and again sunk the three, sending the crowd into pandemonium.

“The bench’s reaction to Brent LeMoine’s three-pointer is something that will be forever etched into my memory banks,” Arsenault wrote.

While the men’s season came to a close on Saturday, the women are preparing for their most important games yet. The Pioneers are the third seed in the Midwest Conference Tournament and will travel to De Pere, Wis. to take on second seed Cornell College. If they are triumphant in that matchup, they will likely play St. Norbert College for the Conference title—quite the test, as St. Norbert has yet to lose this season.

Matosky was not shy about her ambitions for the tournament.

“I expect a Conference Championship. I believe we have all the key components to win. I believe we are going to come out with a really strong week of practice beforehand. I believe we are going to take the game,” Matosky said.

While women’s head coach Dana Harrold respects what St. Norbert has done this season, she believes the Pioneers will put up a fight if they get the chance.

“Obviously St. Norbert is the favorite, and if we get that chance we will play up tempo and attack on offense. It will come down to defense, and I think we have what it takes to get enough stops on the defensive end,” Harrold wrote in an email to the S&B.

No matter the outcome from the Conference Tournament, this will be the last competition the class of 2016 will see in their college career. This is a fact with which Harrold is having difficulty reconciling.

“There are times when I wish I could freeze our team,” Harrold wrote, “and continue coaching with this group for the years to come.”

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