The Olivet Nazarene Tigers, coached by "System" guru Doug Porter, lost a tough one Tuesday night at Indiana-South Bend, a Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference rival, by the score of 84-76. Those who think the final score is all that matters misses the point of athletics, of passion, of character and certainly of "The System."
The Titans (16-6, 4-2 CCAC), one of the top teams in the conference, were playing at home, where they've lost only two games this season. And for the first 25-plus minutes, they dominated play, running out to a 68-39 lead by efficiently beating the Tigers' press and denying easy baskets. Then ONU (9-15, 1-3) changed up its defense and began playing with the reckless abandon for which that this style of play is known. Somehow, some way, the margin began shrinking.
Beginning at that 29-point bulge with 14:25 remaining in the game, the Tigers took over. They were within 19 when Simone Coburn scored from in close to cap a 16-6 spurt over a span of about less than 6 minutes. Then Lexie Heinold made two 3-pointers and Laura Johnson added another to increase that run to 33-8, bringing ONU within 76-72 with just more than 4 minutes left on the clock. Later, with a chance to bring her team within two points, Rachel Kearney made one of two at the line, and that was as close as the Tigers would get.
Still, it capped an amazing stretch of basketball, something that happens very frequently in "System" basketball. In a span of slightly more than 12 minutes, ONU scored 37 points while holding Indiana-South Bend to 12, all the while pushing the pace of play and subbing in five new players every 60 seconds or so of game clock. I only wish I would have been there.
Coburn led the Tigers with 19 points while Holly Wiersma added 17 points and five of her team's 18 steals; the Titans turned it over 35 times. All in all, a pretty effort of Coach Porter and his team, which hosts Holy Cross College on Saturday. Tip is 2 p.m. EST. Good luck, ONU!
Elsewhere this week, the Pioneers at Glenville State College in West Virginia, coached by Bunky Harkleroad, easily dispatched of Davis & Elkins 102-81 Monday night in West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play. Donita Adams had 25 points and Kristen Golden 22 for Glenville State (10-6, 8-4 WVIAC), which traveled to Ohio Valley on Thursday night.
Against the Senators (great mascot!), the Pioneers put up some spectacular numbers: 100 shot attempts, with 40 from beyond the arc, and 37 offensive rebounds. Yep, that's correct, 37!
Davis & Elkins finished with 28 turnovers, as well. Congrats to Coach Harkleroad and his team.
And finally, the Whitmore Lake (Michigan) HS Trojans stayed on a roll, beating Greenhills 80-39 on Tuesday night. Coach Dave Arnold's squad put up only seven of those points in the fourth quarter as Greenhills decided to hold the ball while down 40. So, yes, again, to do the simple math for you, that means the Trojans scored 73 points in three quarters. Wow. Remember, this is high school basketball, so that's only 24 minutes.
Whitemore Lake also played Thursday night, hosting Sand Creek. Hopefully, I'll update you with a fifth consecutive victory.