Let the games begin!

Hamline Basketball starts their new season

Luca Gronimus, Reporter

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It’s that time of the year again—while the Twin Cities gets cold, the basketball court is going to get heated.

 

Hamline’s Men’s Basketball Team played their first match on Wednesday, Nov. 13 at their home ground Hutton Arena. There is another home game on the schedule for Nov. 20.

 

A strong opponent, Crown College entered the arena last week. In the 2018/19 season, the team from St. Bonifacius was part of the playoffs, a trial by fire for Hamline’s young team. And even though the team lost their first game, they could leave Hutton Arena proud.

 

“You always want to win, especially at home. I was disappointed by the outcome, but I was proud of our resiliency and our focus and effort to battle back,“ Coach Jim Hayes said.

 

Not only did the narrow result of 80:83 offer grounds for hope, but the improvement in the second half also showed the team’s potential. Losing by 27:43 after the first half, Hamline gave their everything after the break and in the end, was four points away from winning the game.

 

“Yesterday was a first step in the right direction, we looked more like the team we want to be in the second half,“ Hayes said. “Defensively we did better in the second half, we played with higher intensity. Harder, tougher and with more presence. Less reactionary and more concentrated.“

 

The reorganized team intends to keep up that level.

“From last year we changed almost entirely, it’s kinda starting from scratch. We have to understand what works and doesn’t work, learning on the fly,“ Forward Michael Dillon said.

 

The team only has a few seniors and juniors, leaving them with a young team.

“We are a young and inexperienced team that will need some time to grow together,“ Hayes said. He is confident that they will find their system soon.

 

The team wants to establish their offensive contribution from the last game’s second half.

“[the team] made a much better job offensively by getting the ball into the paint,” Hayes said. “Our goal is to get a high percentage of two pointers. We did shoot a lot of threes, but overall offensively we need to get the ball in the paint more consistently.“

 

Apart from an improvement on the pitch, the atmosphere on the stands helped the team to deliver a strong second-half performance.

 

“We have a good crowd, they brought a lot of energy. It’s a fun atmosphere, we have a good community that comes to all the home games,” said junior forward Michael Dillon.

 

Hayes agreed with Dillion on the energy of their fans.

 

“They are a key for us,“ Hayes said. “Hutton is a tough place to play for opponents.“

 

On Nov. 20  Hutton Arena will be the venue for Hamline’s next game. A win there would be a huge step for the team.

 

“We definitely want to make playoffs, that’s our goal as a team. We want to learn from each other too, learn as the season goes on,“ Dillon said.

 

Hayes pointed out that performance is the most important aspect.

“What we are looking for is to get better every single day and play our best basketball by the end of the year,” Hayes said.

 

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