NATASHA GEIGER | SPORTS EDITOR
It was a sweet Saturday for the Green Knights at Schuldes Sports Center as the men’s and women’s basketball teams hosted the Midwest Conference Tournament Feb. 26-27 in hopes of earning a Midwest Conference Championship and NCAA Division III Tournament berth.
The line of games started Friday afternoon; the first of which featured the women. Game one featured No. 3 Grinnell College and No. 2 Cornell College, a game which the Cornell Rams took handily 81-61.
The No. 1 Green Knights starred in the next matchup, throttling No. 4 Ripon College 78-46. The Green Knights were led by sharp shooters Jill Kleiman ’17 with 13 points and Regan Carmichael ’17 adding another 11 points. The huge win against Ripon gave the Green Knights a ticket to the conference championship against Cornell the following day.
The men’s team was also playing for keeps and a playoff berth. The first game of the weekend was No. 2 Carroll University versus No. 3 Ripon College. Carroll won a close game, 58-55. In the second semifinal matchup, the No. 1 Green Knights hosted No. 4 Lake Forest College. The Green Knights won by a landslide, 63-48, and were led by D.J. DeValk ’18 who lit up the scoreboard for 24 points in 36 minutes of action.
With both teams winning their respective semifinal games, the Green Knights moved on to the Championship game. The men faced Carroll University on Saturday, Feb. 27, and it turned out to be a nail biter throughout. Led by DeValk ’18 and Terrence Garner ’17, the Green Knights led 65-54 with 1:44 remaining in the game, but Carroll went on a 15-4 run in under a minute to tie the score at 69. The Pioneers then fouled with 49 seconds remaining, sending Mitchell Reinthaler ’18 to the line. Reinthaler sank his tenth and eleventh free throws of the game to seal a 71-69 win for the Green Knights, allowing them to hoist their fourth consecutive MWC Title.
As the men ran off the court with a championship trophy, the Lady Green Knights came onto it to take on Cornell in the women’s final. Throughout the game, the Green Knights and Rams kept it close. The Green Knights shot a mediocre 36.8 percent from the field, but their frenetic defense held the Rams to an even more menial 28.6 percent shooting. Brianna Byrne ’17 led the Green Knights with 14 points, while Regan Carmichael ’17 filled up the scoresheet with 13 points, six rebounds and six assists. The Lady Green Knights escaped with their fifth MWC Championship in seven years in a close win, 56-53.
With their victories in the MWC Tournament, both the men’s and women’s teams have clinched a berth in the NCAA Division III Central Regional Tournament. The Second Round games will take place Friday and Saturday, March 4 and 5, with exact times and opponents to be determined.