Sunday, October 20, 2013

Grinnell finishes 17-6, comes up short of title game

One of the few downsides of being a fan of the Grinnell Pioneers is the brutal, Darwinism-like NCAA Division III schedule they are forced to play. What do I mean?

Well, this past season, Grinnell finished 17-6 overall record and ended up second in the Midwest Conference, one game behind St. Norbert. All that guaranteed coach David Arseneault and his assistant, son Dave Jr., was a trip to the conference tournament, where only the top four teams make play.

A 92-89 loss to Carroll in the opening round (semifinals?) ended the Pioneers' season much sooner than I would have liked, leaving me without the opportunity to follow one of my favorite teams until the following November.

Well, it's nearly here, so I figured now would be as good a time as any to recap an amazing journey for Coach A and the boys in 2012-13:

  • Obviously, any discussion about Grinnell starts with Jack Taylor, the 138-point man. He put up that amazing avalanche of points in the third game of year, way back on Nov. 20, in a 179-104 victory over Faith Baptist Bible College. His point total wasn't the only record set that night at Darby Gym; Taylor made 52-of-108 shots from the field, including 27-of-71 from beyond the 3-point line. Unfortunately, he played in only 12 of the 23 games; he broke a bone in his arm in a 119-117 victory over Cornell College on Jan. 9 and missed the remainder of the season.
  • Once again, Grinnell led all divisions of the NCAA with an average of 112.3 points. The Pioneers attempted nearly 54 3-pointers in each game and averaged almost 87 shots total.
Taylor is back and ready to go, as are three of the other top five scorers from a year ago. There also are seven freshmen ready to step in to run The System, including guard Kyle Parker, who garnered some looks from Division I schools before deciding on Grinnell. It will be interesting to see how he fits in with this group.

The season begins for real Nov. 15, at home against Finlandia University.

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