The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

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

Men’s Basketball systemically moves to 14-1

While most Grinnellians enjoyed a restful winter break, the men’s basketball team enjoyed some fast-paced breakaways. With only one loss in 15 games, the Pioneers have proven that they are an almost unstoppable force in the Midwest Conference (MWC).

“We’re exceeding expectations,” said Head Coach David Arseneault ’09. “We have a great group of guys. They bring the same energy and effort to practice everyday—it’s been a consistent thing. The result is a lot of wins and only one loss.”
The team’s success has been led by guard Griffin Lentsch ’13, who has had a record-breaking season. In Grinnell’s Jan. 21 win against Beloit College, Lentsch became the twenty-first Grinnellian to score 1,000 career points. Just this November, Lentsch scored 89 points against Principia College, setting a new record for NCAA Division III Basketball.

“In our game against Monmouth, Griffin scored a ‘quiet’ 30 points,” Arseneault said.  “It’s just become something that we expect. He can make shots from anywhere on the floor. He’s a very gifted athlete, and it’s nice, because it dominoes everyone down one spot, so that they’re playing a lesser defender. That gives them more freedom on the offensive end.”
In addition to Lentsch, other Pioneers stand out on the court.

“Jesse Ney is a third year, and his outside shooting stroke combined with other elements of his game has really been crucial to our success,” Arseneault said. “Senior Matt Chalupa is our best spot up shooter, and he’s the emotional leader of the team. When he scores a clutch bucket, everyone on the team rallies around him. It’s great to see.”
The team has had few injuries. One of the players who stuck on the sidelines has finally made it back onto the court.
“We just got Matt Skelly [’12] back from a broken hand,” Arseneault said. “He’s starting to get his groove back a little bit. It’s taking him a while, because it was a broken shooting hand, but he’s finding lots of great ways to contribute.”
The newest members of the team have also proven to be a boon rather than a bane.

“The first years have been awesome about joining the group and figuring out what to do out there,” Xander Strek ’12 said. “Everyone’s been having a great time and having an amazing season.”

On Wednesday, Grinnell defeated Monmouth College by 12 points, putting down yet another Midwest Conference rival. Even though Monmouth held the lead at the half, Grinnell bounced back with an impressive showing in the second half.

“I didn’t think that we played particularly well in the first half against Monmouth. We had some silly mistakes and careless turnovers that let them into it,” Arseneault said. “We were ice cold to start the second half, but after one shift, we turned the tide for the entire game. All of the sudden we had the ball rolling and we never turned back.”

“It’s harder to win away than win at home,” Chalupa said. “We were killing their man defense, so we switched to zone. At half time, we talked in our groups, and our effort picked up, which just changed the whole game for us.”

This Saturday, Jan. 28, the Pioneers will be facing Lake Forest College, which so far has gone undefeated in the MWC. The game, which will be held at Lake Forest in the north suburbs of Chicago, could be a preview of the Midwest Conference Championship later this year.

“We’ve been looking forward to the game for a year,” Chalupa said. “Last season, we knew that we would be the two teams to beat. They didn’t have any seniors, and they were still pretty good. Now, they have seven.”

“Hopefully we can give them their first loss of the season,” Strek said. “We normally have a lot of support in Chicago. It’s a tough defensive battle against Lake Forest, which we don’t like, but we’ll go in there and get it together against those guys.”

Coach Arseneault says that the players will only be practicing just over an hour a day now that classes have started, so that they can focus on their academics.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
Donate to The Scarlet & Black
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Scarlet & Black Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *