Warriors’ Magical Postseason Run Ends Just Short

WATERTOWN, South Dakota – Waldorf’s underdog run through the North Star Athletic Association has come to a heartbreaking end. They fell to (24) Mayville State, 65-62, in the NSAA Championship Game. 

The Waldorf Warriors entered the postseason as the number five seed after compiling a 7-7 NSAA regular-season record. That meant an over 9-hour drive to Dickinson, North Dakota for their quarterfinal matchup. All NSAA quarterfinal games are played at the highest seeds. The winners then meet in Watertown, South Dakota for the final four. The winner of the NSAA tournament is given the NSAA’s automatic bid into the NAIA DII tournament. 

The Warriors beat the Blue Hawks, 82-79, to advance in the NSAA tournament for the first time since joining the conference before the 2015-16 season. 

The prize for the win was a date with NSAA number one, Bellevue (Neb.), in the semifinal round. That contest took place on Saturday inside the Watertown Civic Arena, and the Warriors pulled the upset, 68-66. That was the second time this season Waldorf has upset the Bruins, the first came back on January 31st inside The Hanson Fieldhouse. 

Nigel Jenkins, Waldorf Head Men’s Basketball Coach 

Waldorf was now one win away from upsetting their way into the NAIA National Tournament. Standing in their way was (24) two-seed Mayville State, a team Waldorf hadn’t been able to beat this season. Waldorf fell 67-43 January 10th at Mayville and 77-75 on February 15th in Forest City. Waldorf hadn’t played the Comets in the postseason since 2017-18 when they lost in the quarterfinals; just five days after beating Mayville State in the regular season, both game in Forest City. 

Waldorf fell down by nearly double-digits to start the game, but quickly came back and made it a 1-point game, 15-14, with under 10-minutes to play in the first half. Mayville State took a 30-24 lead into the locker room after the first half. 

Coming back in the second half it was more Comets, they led 43-29 after the first eight minutes of the second. Down but not out, Waldorf made a run at the end of the game closing the gap to six with just 4:33 left. The teams combined for 35 points in the final four minutes and a couple of timely three-point baskets and forced turnovers allowed Waldorf to get close, but fall just short. Mayville State iced the game and held off the Warriors charge with good free-throw shooting. This is the third straight NSAA Men’s Conference Tournament title for the Comets. Waldorf was led scoring by seniors Demitrius Martin and Gabriel Munoz with 22 and 19 respectively, Quincy Minor Jr. was also in double figures with 11. 

Nigel Jenkins, Waldorf Head Men’s Basketball Coach

Waldorf ends the season 12-18 and 7-7 in conference play, the hottest postseason run in four-year school history, and experience for a great crop of young talent ready to step in next season. Waldorf will lose some excellent senior leaders including four who played a majority of the minutes in the NSAA tournament, Gabriel Munoz, Melvin Martin, Demitrius Martin, and Brady Kuchinka.

Nigel Jenkins, Waldorf Head Men’s Basketball Coach – On Next Season

 

 

 

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