#18 Dakota Wesleyan produced their best performance of the season, becoming the first team in the past few seasons to defeat Morningside on their home court in the regular season. They downed #8 Morningside 75-60. DWU, which found themselves ranked #18th in the most recent NAIA poll after no votes in the preseason poll, found themselves down 12-11 early in the first half. The Tigers responded with a 12-2 run fueled by two threes from Sawyer Schultz. Dakota Wesleyan went up 23-14 following the run and led throughout. Threes from Mason Larson, Nick Harden, and Ace Zorr combined with Jeffrey Schuch scoring in the paint led to a 43-22 lead on Morningside at the half. The defense was outstanding, as they made life difficult with several double teams and perhaps even a triple team in the paint against Mside star Trey Brown. Morningside attempted a comeback and got within 9 late in the second half. Dakota Wesleyan secured the victory with key free throw shooting. Nick Harden scored 24 points, passing 1,000 career points as a Tiger. He was 9-20, 5-11 from 3. He also had 6 steals. Mason Larson was 6-9 with 18 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 big blocks. Ace Zorr added 5 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 assists, along with several key hustle plays off the bench. The Tigers’ game against Midland was postponed to a later date. Dakota Wesleyan is 7-0 in the GPAC, and 10-1 overall. They are off this week, returning December 30th at Dakota State.
#8 Morningside was defeated 75-60 by #18 Dakota Wesleyan, their first regular season loss at Allee Gymnasium since February 15th, 2017 when they fell 95-88 to #18 Briar Cliff. This win also snapped an 8-game winning streak. The shooting was a struggle for the Mustangs in the first half, as they shot 31% against a high quality DWU defense. They were behind 43-22 at halftime, before going on a 10-0 run early in the second half to get within 50-39. A three by Will Pottebaum got Morningside within single digits for the first time in the 2nd half, 62-53 with under 3 minutes left. They couldn’t get closer. Trey Brown was 5-13 with 15 points and 17 rebounds. Trey Powers had 13 points off the bench. Zach Imig was 4-12 with 10 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists. The Mustangs bounced back with an 86-67 victory at Hastings. The Mustangs started fast and never looked back. Early on in the first half they went on a 16-2 run and led by at least 8 the rest of the way. This led to a 44-29 halftime lead over Hastings. Trey Brown had another big game, going 9-13 with 20 points, 16 rebounds, and 3 assists. Zach Imig was 8-15 with 19 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists. Aidan Vanderloo was strong off the bench, going 7-11 (5-8 from 3) with 19 points and 4 rebounds. Morningside falls to 7-2 GPAC, 11-2 overall. The Mustangs are off until January 6th at Doane.
Jamestown posted a pair of strong home conference wins this week. They downed Briar Cliff 74-57. The Jimmies started slow, falling behind 21-13 after an 8-0 BCU run with 12:08 left before halftime. Free throws by Allante’ Pickens gave Jamestown a 32-31 with 2:49 left. The Chargers regained the lead, 35-34 at halftime. Brady Birch tied the game at 40 with 15:50 left. That sparked a 17-2 run in which Mason Walters scored 15 points in a row. Following a Chargers three, Will Cordes answered with a three, sparking another 18-2 run, which saw the Jimmies go up 73-47 with 4:38 left. Mason Walters, insane once again, was 14-15 from the field and 5-6 from the line, scoring 33 points, 12 rebounds, and 4 assists. Allante’ Pickens added 16 points and 3 assists. The Jimmies followed with a very impressive 89-87 overtime victory over Concordia. It was another slow start for Jamestown, as the Bulldogs were up 37-20. Jamestown used a 10-2 run to cut the halftime lead to 39-30. The game was back and forth for most of the second half, before two Cole Woodford threes sparked a 14-3 run, tying the game at 71 with 2:47 left. The Jimmies again found themselves down 76-72 with 1:04 left. The responded with free throws by Will Cordes and Mason Walters to force OT at 76 all. Jamestown hit quick in overtime, scoring the first five points, and never trailing. For an encore to his 14-15 effort against BCU, Walters scored a career high 38 points on 13-21 shooting, while grabbing 11 boards, dishing out 7 assists, and blocking four shots. Cole Woodford was 5-11 (3-6 from 3) with 14 points off the bench. Jamestown improves to 6-2 in the GPAC 10-3 overall. They are back in action January 2nd against Hastings.
Concordia shot the lights out against Midland, winning 95-81 in Fremont. The Bulldogs hit quick in the first half, draining ten threes by eight different players in the opening period. The Bulldogs found themselves up 50-37 at halftime. Midland could not make a comeback in the second half. Carter Kent had a big game, going 7-11 with 21 points and 5 assists. Gage Smith was 6-11 with 18 points and 8 rebounds. Justin Wiersema added 14 points on 6-9 shooting and 6 rebounds. The Bulldogs could not keep up the momentum losing a tight affair, 89-87 in overtime at Jamestown. Concordia built up a 37-20 lead early. They lead 39-30 at halftime. The second half saw a battle. Jamestown battled back and had the lead down to 76-72 late. The Bulldogs had chances to get some rebounds to seal it late, but offensive rebounds and fouls allowed the Jimmies to tie at 76 forcing the extra session. The overtime was all Jamestown as Concordia couldn’t get momentum back. Justin Wiersema was 8-16 with 19 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals. Carter Kent added 17 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals. Klay Uher was big off the bench, going 7-10 with 15 points and 7 rebounds. Concordia moves to 7-3 in the GPAC 10-4 overall. The Bulldogs return to action December 30th at Peru State.
RV Dordt had a strong week, winning a pair of GPAC games. They defeated their rivals, RV Northwestern, 94-89 in Sioux Center. Dordt came out quick, going on a 12-0 run with 7:57 left in the first half to go up 32-18. A Garrett Franken three extended this lead to 37-20. Northwestern cut the lead down to 49-41 at halftime. Dordt maintained a solid lead through the early parts of the second half. They led 77-70 with 9:20 left. The lead was down to 85-82 with 4:44 left. Dordt extended their lead back to five on a late basket by Jacob Vis, a lead they were able to secure. Jesse Jansma was 8-16 (8-8 at the line) with 26 points, 5 assists, and 3 rebounds. Garrett Franken went 9-18 with 23 points and 5 rebounds. Dordt defeated the Lancers 97-80 on the road. It was a slow start for Dordt, as they trailed for most of the opening half. Mount Marty was up 36-27 with 7:01 left before half. Dordt tied it at 40 on a basket from Jacob Vis with 2:03 left. The Lancers scored the last four of the half to go up 44-40. A three from Ben Gesink evened the score at 48 early second half. Baskets by Jansma and Franken gave the Defenders the lead with 13:36 left, and from there they kept the lead. A personal 6-0 run by Dejay Fykstra saw an 8-point lead. The run extended to a 13-0 Dordt run using a three-point play by Vis to go up 68-57 with 10:40 left. The Lancers were unable to get back in the game. Franken was 8-12 with 18 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists. Jansma was 5-9 with 18 points, 7 assists, and 6 rebounds. Jacob Vis was 6-7 with 16 points and 3 rebounds. Dordt improves to 6-4 in the GPAC, 10-4 overall. They return to action January 2nd against Midland.
RV Northwestern fell to conference rival Dordt, 94-89. The found themselves down 37-20 in the first half. Jay Small hit a trio of threes to cut the halftime lead to 49-41. After falling behind 61-47, the Raiders began to rally. They were within single digits by the 10-minute mark. A three by Grant DeMeulenaere cut the lead to 85-82 with 4:44 left. The Defenders got the lead back up to 7, and the comeback was thwarted. Jay Small was 10-20 with 28 points and 4 rebounds. Alex van Kalsbeek was 10-12 (6-6 free throws) with 26 points and 11 rebounds. Craig Sterk was solid off the bench, going 7-8 with 14 points and 9 rebounds. The Raiders bounced back defeating Bellevue 82-79 in a nonconference matchup. The first half was back and forth, Northwestern was up 26-25 following a layup by Chris Kroll. The Bruins scored the next 10 points, going up 35-26 with 6:51 left. A 13-7 run by NWC cut the halftime lead to 42-39 for Bellevue. A basket by Jay Small tied the game at 57 midways through the 2nd half. A three from Isaac Heyer gave the Raiders the lead. The game remained close the rest of the way. The score was tied at 78 with 45 seconds left. Alex Van Kalsbeek hit a free throw giving the Raiders the 1-point lead, and Craig Sterk came up with a steal, leading to more free throws by Isaac Heyer and Van Kalsbeek again. Van Kalsbeek was 10-14 (8-11 at the line) with 28 points and 12 rebounds. Trent Hilbrands added 18 points. Northwestern goes to 5-4 in the GPAC, 9-4 overall. They host Presentation on December 30th.
Mount Marty split a pair of GPAC games, also losing an exhibition against the University of South Dakota. The Lancers defeated Doane 92-74. The Lancers went up 20-10 early, before falling behind 34-31 at halftime. The Lancers dominated the 2nd half, opening with a 17-4 run. They took a 35-34 lead with a three from Kade Stearns with 19:39 left. Another Sterns three later in the run gave them a 44-36 lead with 17:24 left. The went up double-digits with a three by Jonah Larson with 11:27 left. The Lancers kept the double-digit lead throughout the rest of the contest. Jailen Billings and Chad Moran tied for a team high with 14 points. The Lancers fell 97-80 against Dordt. Mount Marty started fast, leading for most of the first half, and going into half with a 44-40 lead. The defense struggled to keep up with the Defenders shooting in the 2nd half as they gave up 57 second half points. Elijah Pappas had a big game, going 11-18 with 27 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals. Allen Wilson was 5-8 with 15 points. Mount Marty goes to 4-5 in the GPAC, 7-7 overall. They are back in action January 2nd at Briar Cliff.
Briar Cliff once again split a pair of contests. They fell 74-57 at Jamestown. The Chargers came out fast, going up 8-2 to start the contest. After Jamestown tied it at 13, Ethan Friedel scored the next 8 points to put the Chargers back in front 21-13 with 12:08 left. A put back at the buzzer by Quinten Vasa gave Briar Cliff a 35-34 halftime lead. Jamestown was up 42-40 with 15:13 left. From there the Chargers gave up a 13-2 run that allowed the Jimmies to pull away. Ethan Friedel was 4-5 (3-4 from 3) with 11 points. Quinten Vasa was 5-8 with 11 points. The Chargers were victorious 81-65 at Doane. The Chargers used 5 threes early to go up 15-5. Conner Groves started the game fast, hitting four threes in the first 12 minutes of the game, his 4th putting the Chargers up 33-9 with 8:34 before halftime. Briar Cliff’s lead was 44-20 at half. They kept a lead of at least 16 points throughout the 2nd half. Quinten Vasa was 8-10 (2-3 from 3) with 21 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists. Conner Groves was 5-9 (4-8 from 3) with 14 points and 3 rebounds. Jaden Kleinhesselink added 10 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists. BCU goes to 4-5 in the GPAC, 6-7 overall. The Chargers host Dakota State on Monday and get back to GPAC play January 2nd against Mount Marty.
Doane lost a pair of GPAC games as well as an exhibition at the University of Nebraska. They fell 92-74 at Mount Marty. The Tigers gave up a 16-4 run early in the 2nd half that allowed Mount Marty to go up 20-12 early on. Doane responded with a 22-7 run to go up 34-31 at halftime. Mount Marty took the lead back early in the 2nd half and never gave it up from there. Joe Burt was 7-11 (4-7 from 3) with 22 points and 5 rebounds to lead Doane. Jaxon Harre was 7-13 with 19 points and 5 rebounds. Doane also fell 81-65 at Briar Cliff. The Tigers struggled to hit shots in the first half, falling behind 33-9 early on and never getting back in the game. It was 44-20 at halftime, and never got much closer in the second half. Anthony Laravie was 9-20 with 25 points and 5 rebounds. Jaxon Harre added 13 points and 7 rebounds. Doane falls to 2-8 in the GPAC, 5-10 overall. They are back in action January 2nd at #18 Dakota Wesleyan.
Midland lost to Concordia 95-81 in their only game. Their game scheduled against Dakota Wesleyan was postponed. Midland had some solid shooting early on to keep it relatively close. Josh Lambert made all six of his shots to score 12 points in the first half. Bo Sandquist had 3 first half threes. However, the Bulldogs managed to go 10-15 from 3 in the opening frame to go up 50-37 at half. Midland got down 22 in the 2nd half and used a 15-7 run to keep the game within 14 at the end. Jake Rueschhoff was 8-12 (4-7 from 3) with 21 points and 3 rebounds. Josh Lambert was 7-9 with 16 points and 3 rebounds. Midland falls to 1-8 in the GPAC 3-9 overall. Midland is back in action on December 29th and 30th in the Bellevue Classic against Waldorf and Bellevue.
Hastings lost their only game of the week, 86-67 against #8 Morningside. The Broncos were down 44-29 at halftime and could never get back in the game. Mason Hiemstra was 8-13 with 21 points and 4 rebounds. Hastings falls to 0-8 in the GPAC, 3-9 overall. They are back in action January 1st at Presentation.
TAD’S POWER RANKINGS
Dakota Wesleyan (+1) – Most impressive game of the season against #8 Morningside
Morningside (-1) – In need of someone to step up to back up Trey Brown
Jamestown (+2) – Right now in the GPAC it’s Mason Walters and everybody else, he’s on another level.
Concordia (-1) – Blowing the lead against Jamestown was rough, they can bounce back
Dordt (+1) – Massive win over Northwestern
Northwestern (-2) – They continue to have impressive shooting
Briar Cliff (-) – Very rough 2nd half in the loss at Jamestown
Mount Marty (-) – Big win over Doane gives them some distance in the battle to make the GPAC tournament
Doane (-) – Rough losses against the teams they need to catch for the last GPAC tournament spot
Midland (-) – Defense struggled against Concordia.
Hastings (-) – Still searching for their first GPAC win.
GPAC Stat Leaders
Points Per Game
Mason Walters (JAM) 25.54ppg (13th nationally)
Alex Van Kalsbeek (NWC) 21.15ppg
Nick Harden (DWU) 17.56ppg
Trey Brown (MOR) 17.33ppg
Justin Wiersema (CUNE) 17.29ppg
Garrett Franken (DOR) 16.00ppg
Jay Small (NWC) 15.85ppg
Mason Hiemstra (HAS) 15.80ppg
Jesse Jansma (DOR) 15.71ppg
Anthony Laravie (DOA) 15.67ppg
FG% (minimum 75% games played, and 5 FG made per game)
Alex Van Kalsbeek (NWC) 76.0% (6th nationally)
Mason Walters (JAM) 64.6%
Craig Sterk (NWC) 62.2%
Trey Brown (MOR) 61.0%
Justin Wiersema (CUNE) 60.5%
Dashawn Walker (HAS 55.0%
Karson Gansebom (HAS) 50.5%
Garrett Franken (DOR) 49.7%
Jesse Jansma (DOR) 48.0%
Trent Hilbrands (NWC) 46.7%
3PT FG% (Min 75% of games played and 1.5 3PT FG per game)