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Hoops squads finish out up-and-down season

By Mike Byker

Even though the snow was still on the ground, the Dordt College athletic teams transitioned from winter sports to the spring sports season. Many of the teams worked around the weather with indoor competitions or travel to a warmer climate for their initial contests of the season.

Senior Eric Van Maanen led the Defenders with 14.6 points per game, and joined the 1000-point club.

Senior Eric Van Maanen led the Defenders with 14.6 points per game, and joined the 1000-point club.

The Dordt men’s basketball team had its share of ups and downs in building a 19-9 regular season record before dropping a GPAC quarterfinal game. The Defenders narrowly missed an at-large berth in the NAIA national tournament. The Defenders earned a #15 ranking at one point in the national poll and were ranked #23 in the final poll.

Dordt managed to sweep its two games with Northwestern this year—the first time the Defenders have done that in the school’s history. The Dordt College advancement office also compiled votes for the all- Dordt team, commemorating fifty years of basketball at Dordt College with all ten players on the team in attendance at the Defenders’ win over Concordia on alumni weekend.

Dordt’s leading scorer for the season was Eric Van Maanen with a 14.6 points per game average—the second year in a row that he has led the Defenders. The senior also joined the 1000-point club towards the end of the season and is the 26th men’s player to achieve the feat. Balance was a trademark of this team all season with four other players, Logan Kingma, Michael Eekhoff , Brian Eekhoff , and Scott Van Zanten averaging in double figures. Van Zanten was the leading rebounder with a 6.3 average and already ranks in the top 20 in career rebounds, along with senior Chad Huenink.

About seniors Russ Griese, Brian Eekhoff , Huenink, and Van Maanen, coach Greg Van Soelen says, “This group has achieved many things that several Dordt players haven’t been able to achieve in the history of Dordt basketball—back to back twenty-win seasons and a trip to the national tournament in 2006. They all filled different and valuable roles for this team.”

The Dordt women’s team, under first-year head coach Craig Stiemsma, recovered from a 1-7 start to compile an 11-10 record over the final 21 games and took the #2 ranked Morningside Mustangs to overtime in the GPAC playoff s before losing. The women also pressed the conference champions to a two-point game in the final regular season game of the year. The Defenders advanced to the conference tournament quarterfinals for the fourth straight year before their their season ended.

Kara Karlsgodt concludes her Dordt career with 824 points and 646 rebounds and is just the seventh player in Dordt women’s basketball history to compile more than 800 points and 600 rebounds. Kate Du Mez and Amber Soodsma both averaged 11.6 points per game with Du Mez handing out 122 assists, which ranks second all-time for a single season at Dordt College.

The Defender women were a youthful group, with a lineup comprising, at times, four freshman and a sophomore, and with Karlsgodt the only senior on the team. Kelsie De Nooy and McKinzie Schmidt both averaged over nine points per game and Schmidt took down 8.5 rebounds per game. Du Mez had 83 steals-top on the team.