ABOVE: (File Photo)
By Daegiona Wilson
The road to a conference tournament doesn’t stop for builder basketball.
Facing an opponent on senior night is never an easy task, but both builder teams got the job done Saturday evening.
The Moundbuilder women’s basketball team clinched a much needed win, keeping their hopes of a post-season run alive, defeating the York Panthers 80-69.
Both teams battled from start to finish.
Entering halftime, the builders were up with a 36-35 lead over the panthers.
The highlight of the game, came from star player Sydney Webb, junior guard, who was a major factor in securing the win for the builders.
Webb ended the night with 32 points, 23 coming from the second half, “With facing a lot of adversity coming into this game, I knew my team was going to need me to produce. I came into the game with confidence and trust in my team to do their part so I could do mine.”
The game stayed tight, but in the final 5 minutes the builders pulled away, with as much as a 13-point lead, showing what makes them a tournament contender.
Whitney Corley, head coach, said, “The strong finish today is a result of the team’s tough mentality that we’ve been building all season. They stayed positive and encouraged each other and had each other’s back even when the game was close, so I’m very happy for them that they were awarded the win.”
The win was a team effort as the builders were 50% from the field.
The builders also out rebounded the panthers 32-19. Marissa Evans, senior guard, led the way with a total of 10. To add, Evans totaled 17 points, clinching a double-double.
Next up, the lady builders will have a big-time match up against No. 19 ranked Kansas Wesleyan come Wednesday night.
Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. in Stewart Fieldhouse.
“Our next opportunity to make a playoff push is against KWU. We want to continue getting better as a team every time we step on the floor, and if that keeps happening, we will be excited to get an opportunity to play in the post season” said Corley.
As the women’s team had a hard fought matchup, its needless to say the men had an even harder one, going into double overtime with the panthers.
The Moundbuilders relied heavily on Andrew Hamm, senior guard and Noah Webster, junior guard, as they combined for 68-113 (60%) of the builder’s points.
Both builder’s offensive toughness, helped them cap of a 113-110 win over the panthers.
Hamm said, “What impressed me the most was how we stuck together and played for each other every position and watching my teammates make big plays. I love seeing them play hard, it also makes me harder.”
Down 16 points with 8 minutes to go in final regulation, Matt O’Brien, head coach, said, “I was impressed with our team sticking together when things were not going well.”
Troy Baker, junior forward, showed why he is a 4 time KCAC defensive player of the week. He ended the night with 11 rebounds. Lorenzo Martinez, senior forward, followed with 10. Overall, the builders outrebounded the panthers 49-41.
Although the panthers controlled the game the first 30 minutes, it wasn’t enough to stop the die heart builder squad in such a double overtime battle.
With this win, the builders clinched a spot in the playoffs.
“Our team takes pride in overcoming adversity. We find joy in adversity” said O’Brien. “very proud of our team reaching the KCAC playoffs for the 11th consecutive year.”
The season isn’t over yet, as the Moundbuilders look to face powerhouse Kansas Wesleyan next.
Both teams share an identical 13-7 conference record.
The 8 p.m. showdown will be critical for each team, as they fight for home advantage come tournament time.
To live stream both women and men’s game against KWU, click here.
To listen, tune into KOSK.