The Warriors got another shot at intrastate rival Dordt, but once again, the fleeting minutes belong to the Defenders.
Looking to avenge an earlier setback to Dordt, the Waldorf men’s basketball team went bucket for bucket with their guests at the Hanson Fieldhouse on Friday until the final three minutes, when the Defenders inched away to secure an 81-67, non-conference win.
“It was a good overall game,” Waldorf head coach Nigel Jenkins said, adding, “we didn’t capitalize on some opportunities that we had and Dordt capitalized on theirs.”
Similar to a battle at the Hanson Fieldhouse back on October 27 when Dordt won 72-61, Friday’s rematch saw the Defenders again score the final 10 points of the game to ice the victory.
Looking to get revenge, the Warriors (3-5 overall) charged out of the gate and grabbed 9-4 lead early after a Brady Kuchinka 3-pointer, and an Octavius O’Large bucket gave Waldorf a 23-19 edge.
The Defenders (7-2) responded in kind, leading by as much as 32-25 in the first half, but the Warriors made a late charge into the locker room and tied the game, 34-34, on a Brian Smith bucket before the break.
Out of the locker room, Dordt hit back-to-back 3s to set the tone for the second half as the Defenders were prolific from the perimeter, hitting 15-of-23 3-pointers on the night, including 8-of-10 in the final 20 minutes.
“We have to get a lot better guarding the 3-point line, and we will,” Jenkins said.
While the early triples put Waldorf in a hole, it didn’t diminish the fight in the Warriors, who grabbed a 57-55 lead on a 3-ball of their own by Demitrius Martin with 9 minutes left to play.
Another 3-ball by the Defenders put them back on top for good, though, as Dordt tried to pull away, taking a 68-62 lead with 4 minutes remaining.
Looking to win the decisive final moments, Waldorf got a big three from its big man – 7-foot-3 Gabriel Munoz – for a 68-65 difference, but back-to-back-to-back triples by Dordt stretched the lead to 77-67, and effectively iced a second win over the Warriors.
Martin led the way with 14 points for Waldorf, which also got 10 points and 13 rebounds from Khalid Manney, and 11 points apiece from Kuchinka and Smith.
The Warriors return to the court on Saturday, wrapping up their post-Thanksgiving weekend hosting Doane at 3 p.m.
“We will regroup and be ready for Doane tomorrow,” Jenkins said.
The game against Doane University can be heard on KHAM 103.1fm at 3pm on Saturday.