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The Scarlet & Black

Basketball works the system

Hannes Kogelnik ’21 tips in a shot against Nebraska Wesleyan on Nov. 9.

The Grinnell College men’s basketball team started off their preseason with a 144-90 loss to Nebraska Wesleyan College, the number-one ranked Division III team in the country. However, with a 131-108 and 161-107 wins at home against, respectively, Eureka Bible and Emmaus, the Pioneers hold their sights on a successful season.

“[I’m] really excited to see what this group can achieve; the energy throughout the preseason has been just really positive,” said Head Coach David Arseneault Jr., ’09. Considering the strength of Nebraska Wesleyan, Arseneault hoped that the team would at least score high. Though the results did not meet his expectations, Tuesday night’s win showed that they still have a chance to prove their strengths.

Preseason games are an opportunity to reintroduce returning players to college play and get first-years adjusted to college play. Scores received in preseason contribute to overall Division III rankings. This year, the Pioneer men’s basketball roster has 27 players. First-years and second-years primarily make up the team.

According to Arseneault, the first-years have gotten the hang of college play, even when having to learn The System. For the uninitiated, The System is a style of play developed by David Arseneault Sr., former head coach of the team, which utilizes hockey-style plays, frequent substitutions, constant full-court presses, sprints and lots of three-pointers, ideally every 12 seconds. In short, lots of running is required to play, which can seem daunting for new and returning players alike. 

“It’s a matter of getting into game shape and finding this synergy with your teammates, finding … the conditioning level, adjusting to the speed of play,” Arseneault Jr. said.

In Tuesday’s game, the Pioneers played strong with the first two quarters, ending the first quarter at 77-47, and the second at 97-67. They lessened the intensity of their presses in the last two quarters, which allowed Eureka to gain more points, but not enough to snatch the win.

Will Dubow ’21, a safety of the team, played in the last two games and is one of the returning players. 

“Being safety is the most fun I’ve had playing basketball,” said Dubow. “You’re at the back of the press, basically everything falls on your shoulders to stop the other team from scoring.”

Dubow heard of The System when looking at colleges to attend and play basketball at and was intrigued by it, but quickly acclimated to the nature of the play. He hopes to provide support to the newcomers as the season continues.

With The System, the men’s basketball team hopes to win the Midwest Conference title, and become the top scorers in the country. On Thursday, Nov. 15, The System enable the team to break the NCAA record for three pointers in a game with 42 completed three-point shots.   

In other record-breaking news, Hannes Kogelnik ’21 broke the College’s record for free-throw completions in Tuesday’s game. He could not be reached for comment on this article.

Hannes Kogelnik ’21 tips in a shot against Nebraska Wesleyan on Nov. 9.

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