Thursday proved to be quite entertaining for us fans of "The System," and, really, who isn't one? Two of the college teams I follow regularly cruised to victories, including the Grinnell Pioneers coached by innovator David Arseneault.
Matt Skelly had 22 points to lead four players in double figures as Grinnell easily beat Knox College 111-87 on the road in the Midwest Conference. Matt Chalupa added 16 points and freshmen Jesse Ney and Dylan Seelman each finished with 14 for the Pioneers (7-15, 5-10 MWC), who trailed only at 2-0 in sweeping the season series from the Prairie Fire.
Knox (2-21, 2-14) closed within eight midway through the second half after two free throws from Peter Cain, capping a 12-0 run to make it 78-70. Ney made a 3-pointer to right the ship and Grinnell steadily pulled away from there. The margin grew to 25 after Skelly converted two free throws with about 3 minutes remaining in the game.
Chalupa and Seelman made four 3s apiece, part of a 19-for-53 effort for the Pioneers from beyond the arc. Post player Alex McDonald did his part, as well, despite scoring only two points. The 6-foot-4 junior from Alton, Ill., had six rebounds and five of his team's 26 steals; the Prairie Fire turned it over 37 times.
Since Grinnell won't qualify for the MWC Tournament this year, it completes its schedule Saturday at home against Monmouth College, with the tip coming around 5 p.m. I hope Coach A and his team can get one last victory this season.
Meanwhile, in West Virginia, the women's team at Glenville State College had an even easier time Thursday, blowing out Bluefield State 95-41 in the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Coach Bunky Harkleroad's squad set two all-division NCAA records during a 133-72 victory over Bluefield State on Dec. 16: 3-pointers made (29) and attempted (62).
The Pioneers (14-8, 12-6 WVIAC) fell a bit short of those marks in this one, finishing 23-of-57 on 3s. Autumn Davis had five of them and scored 21 points, with Donita Adams adding 19 in only 13 minutes of run. Glenville State led 55-18 at the break and cruised from there against the Lady Blues (1-23, 1-18).
The Pioneers, who won 111-106 earlier this week at Concord University, travel to Davis & Elkins on Saturday to look for their third consecutive victory. The game is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m., and I wish them the best of luck.
Finally, one of the girls' high school teams we've regularly checked in on this season bowed out of its regional tournament Tuesday. The Galesburg (Ill.) Silver Streaks lost to 62-56 to Geneseo in the opening round to finish 17-14. I wish it could have lasted longer for coach Evan Massey and Galesburg, which set numerous state records during its first season running "The System."
The Streaks attempted and made more 3-pointers than any girls' team in state history, and attempted 71 in a single game to add another mark. They also tied another high by making 20 3s in one game. Just an incredible season for Galesburg, and I hope Coach Massey takes some comfort in how much fun his team made this season for me and so many others.
Saturday is shaping up to be a big day for the one and only style of basketball endorsed by this blog, with Grinnell, Glenville State and Olivet Nazarene all in action. I'll keep you posted.