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The Scarlet & Black

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Men’s basketball opens season with nailbiting loss to North Iowa Area Community College

Jack+Ruhanen+%6025+%28%2333%29+and+Dillon+Gestring+%6025+%28%2324%29+prepare+to+jump+for+a+rebound+during+the+game+against+North+Iowa+Community+College+on+Oct.+25.
Brisa Zielina
Jack Ruhanen `25 (#33) and Dillon Gestring `25 (#24) prepare to jump for a rebound during the game against North Iowa Community College on Oct. 25.

The energy on the court was palpable as the men’s basketball team scrambled to make headway during the last minute of their first scrimmage this season. Though they scored last-second shots, they ended up short, losing 68-73 to North Iowa Area Community College this past Wednesday. This loss left the team feeling disappointed but prepared to make an overall comeback. 

“We’re just ready to bounce back this year,” said Dillon Gestring `25, guard and forward. “I’m sure you can ask anyone that was a part of the team last year, they would say that we were very underwhelmed, disappointed with last season, and that left a bitter taste in our mouth.” Last year, the team ended the season with a 0.333 record, only winning one out of every three games.

With the addition of eight new players, the team’s dynamic both on and off the court is likely to shift, and David Arsenault Jr., head men’s basketball coach, is looking forward to seeing what comes out of the group. “Collectively, the group is pretty young. We only have one fourth year on the entire roster, which is both, I think, a little scary but also very exciting.”

One of the newcomers, Kairangi Te Huki `27, forward, is eager to play system basketball, referring to Grinnell’s trademark method that revolves around primarily shooting three-pointers. He said he understands that playing this year will be a learning process, saying, “The coach has specified that he wants the freshmen shooting about 60 percent of the shots. So I think the first year will be an adjustment period … performance wise and practice wise we’re not going to be the best team … but it’s all about developing for future years and for next year.” 

Despite this new change, Arsenault Jr. said he believes the team has potential, and wants each player to have fun and enjoy their experience simply playing basketball. He added that while there is always the long-term goal of making the postseason, at the moment, he is focused on understanding the blend of personalities within the team. 

“[We’re] just trying to take it day by day and work on skill development, team building activities, execution and competing,” said Arsenault Jr. “Then, hopefully, put it together as we get into a game plan.”

Arsenault Jr. added that at the start of every season, it’s always too soon to tell how well the group will work together. Especially given the inexperience of the new athletes, it will take time for each player to gauge how to play within the system. However, he said he finds this team to be “incredibly talented” and compared to past teams, they’re “right on par, if not exceeding, them in terms of the talent categories.”

As the team learns how to develop their skills with one another, Gestring, one of the team’s captains, said he wants his teammates to give it their all no matter the situation, and he works to ensure he is successful in living up to that goal, “whether that’s through scoring, rebounding, getting seals on defense or getting assists on offense.” 

He added that as a leader of the team, he hopes to keep everyone focused on the same goal, knowing that the long season can cause players to lose sight of what they could accomplish by the end of the year. 

Altogether, Gestring said the team has always had a strong dynamic, and it continues to be built and reinforced throughout the start of this season. “We’re almost less of a team and more like a group of brothers … I think that kind of carries over and shows on the court.”

Te Huki agreed with this sentiment and said, “I actually haven’t been on a team where the team culture has been this close.” He added, “The first years, there’s so many of us in little groups, but when we’re one, we’re a collective … and the team as a whole … we do activities outside of basketball together, which is something I haven’t really done with a team.”

Arsenault Jr. believes their bond and sense of camaraderie is a critical factor to ending the season successfully. “100 percent it is the buy-in and team chemistry … I just think that when there’s both of those, the results of individual games, they just kind of take care of themselves.”

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About the Contributors
Scarlett Saldaña
Scarlett Saldaña, News Editor
Scarlett is a first-year intended English major from Los Angeles, CA. If you search hard enough, you can probably find her anywhere on campus (but especially at the HSSC) studying, chatting with friends, or just hangin' out. One day, she hopes to add a second "t" to the "Scarlet" in the name of the newspaper.
Brisa Zielina
Brisa Zielina, Staff Photographer
Brisa Zielina is a first year and an aspiring Theater major with a concentration in American Studies from Los Angeles, California. She loves singing and acting and uses the word “slay” way too often. When she’s not slaying the day, she’s probably in rehearsal or studying on the third floor of the HSSC. If you see her around campus, say howdy, she’s always happy to make new friends!
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