Buzzer sounds on men’s basketball season in OT loss


Aiden Gilbert `23, guard, drives the ball down court in the Feb. 14 game against Beloit College.

Conrad Dahm, Staff Writer

As the clock hit zero in overtime, the men’s basketball team found themselves just one basket short of winning their Senior Day game in a nail-biting end to their season. The Pioneers lost 120-121 against Lake Forest College on Feb. 18, and so ended a season worthy of the memory books. Throughout their season, the team saw new players, new records and new goals moving forward, according to multiple players and David Arseneault Jr., head men’s basketball coach.  

“I thought that while it was a challenging year from the perspective of wins and losses, I thought that there were a lot of things we did really well,” said Arseneault Jr. The team’s final record was eight wins and 16 losses. Arsenault described the team as “an incredible group to coach” because of things like teamwork and how hard they competed. 

Zachary Rosen `26, guard, said, “It was so much fun just playing the system and being around the guys like we’re a family.” Rosen also explained that while, at times, there were disappointing losses, that did not stop the work ethic of the team. This work ethic is what Arseneault Jr. and Rosen are looking forward to developing next season.

“Personally, I just want to develop and be the best basketball player I can,” said Rosen. He also hopes for the team to make the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Division III National Tournament. 

Dillon Gestring `25, guard/forward, passes a defending Beloit College player during the Feb. 14 match. Grinnell won 100-85. (Contributed by Ted Schultz)

Arseneault Jr. is also excited to work with younger players like Rosen. He said, “We have a lot of very good young players. My hope is that they’re going to make strides out of the season and be more polished in terms of their skill work.” 

Arseneault Jr. said the team is specifically looking to work on outside shooting, passing and playmaking. He also said that the team is “sticking to the process and just trying to keep building and moving forward.” He added that the team is looking to win more games next season, and that the team’s prospects look good in terms of success. 

“The future is bright for Pioneer basketball,” said Arseneault Jr. 

For some players, this season was their final one. Dean Mazlish `23, guard, spoke highly of his last game at Grinnell. “Last Saturday, like that crowd, the atmosphere at Senior Day … even though we lost, that was the best game that we played all year for me, honestly,” said Mazlish. He also emphasized the importance of the crowd in keeping the team galvanized.

“Just having a bunch of people support you, it feels like you’re playing for something more than just yourself and the teammates. You’re playing for all these people in the crowd as well,” said Mazlish. 

Rosen agreed, saying that the energy of the crowd was amazing during the Senior Day game. “The crowd was so much fun. It was just such a fun two hours,” he said. 

Arseneault Jr. also explained that the fourth-year players provided help to and influenced younger players on the team. He said that this further influenced them to play an “unselfish brand of basketball.” 

Just having a bunch of people support you, it feels like you’re playing for something more than just yourself and the teammates. You’re playing for all these people in the crowd as well.

— Dean Mazlish `23

This season also held exciting moments that not only broke records at Grinnell, but also in the world of NCAA men’s college basketball. On Dec. 8, 2022, the team set the NCAA record for most three-point attempts in any NCAA men’s basketball game, with the team shooting 111 three-point attempts in a 124 to 67 victory over Emmaus Bible College. This record is something the team is looking to build upon for next season, according to Arsenault Jr. 

“It’s on the edge of innovative basketball,” Arseneault Jr. said. 

For next season, Arseneault Jr. and Rosen look forward to improving the team’s performance while also capitalizing on the successes of this year. For Mazlish, his final season playing Grinnell basketball was exciting and he was grateful for his four years. Overall, the team is looking forward to playing again and continuing the tradition of exciting games that will most likely be filled with plenty of three-pointers.