Loras seniority shows up against Simpson
The men’s basketball team concluded their regular season on Saturday in thrilling fashion. After falling to Simpson 78-60 earlier this season, the Duhawks topped the Storm 89-87 on Senior Day. In honor of their last regular season game on Lillis Court, all five senior members of the team earned the opportunity to start in the contest. While Mirko Grcic and Justin Schneider are regular members of the starting lineup, this was a special occasion for Patrick Schmelzle, Dylan Humpal and Sean Bourke.
These seniors truly showed up to play as they helped put the Duhawks in the lead during the opening minutes of the game. Schmelzle converted on both of his 3-point attempts, Bourke made two free throws and a jumper, and Humpal dropped in a layup. Their efforts gave Loras an 18-17 advantage after the first six minutes of play. Throughout the remainder of the game, Schneider added five points while Grcic led the team with 26.
While these seniors were taking the task of starting seriously, the crowd could also tell they were having fun. After being on a team together for four years, it was easy to see that they enjoyed finally getting the chance to all be on the court together.
In a postgame press conference, head coach Greg Gorton commented on the fact that the men played well but had a great time doing it.
“Our seniors showed tonight that they could play and got out to a hot start. They had fun playing together,” Gorton said.
It was evident in the interview that Gorton was proud of his seniors but not just for what they accomplished on the court. With a roster of 17 players, it’s tough for everyone to get playing time. For some people, sitting on the bench is not worth it. The players who stick around because they care more about being a part of a team versus having individual accolades are the true definition of a teammate.
“You don’t hang around a basketball team and not play at all and still stay if you’re not completely selfless. I’ve got a bunch of that on my team, and it’s great. I’ve got so much respect for people like that put the team above themselves. I’m lucky as a coach that I have such quality people and guys that I love dearly here,” Gorton said.
With the help of the lead the seniors garnered early in Saturday’s game, the Duhawks were able to hold on against Simpson for the win. Loras finished the regular season with a 13-12 overall record, 8-6 in conference. With the victory, the Duhawks claimed the fourth place seed in the IIAC and will move on to the opening round of the conference tournament. In order to play in the semi-finals on Thursday, the Duhawks will need to win their game against Central on Tuesday.
The team’s goal is understandably to make it to the championship round of the tournament, but no matter where this season ends, the Duhawks (especially the seniors) should be proud of the achievements they made and the legacy they’ll leave behind.