Quakers basketball teams make it to NCAA
March 10, 2017
The men’s basketball team went into the ODAC tournament as the number one seed and fought through Hampden-Sydney College and Virginia Wesleyan College to make the finals and play Emory & Henry College. Against Emory & Henry, the Quakers rode on the backs of first-years Jaylen Gore and Kyler Gregory who each had 13 points. The Quakers and Wasps were tied at halftime but the Quakers pulled away in the second half, winning 64-54.
The Quakers earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Division II Tournament and played Thomas More College at Marietta College in Ohio. Guilford started the game hot and never gave Thomas More a chance to take the lead. After one half, the Quakers were up 43-34 behind a team-high 11 points from sophomore forward Carson Long. The Quakers hit eight three-pointers and outrebounded Thomas More 18-7. During the second half, the Quakers extended their lead, with 18 points coming from the bench, including 11 points from Gregory. For the game, the Quakers had four players in double figures and outrebounded Thomas More by 14 rebounds.
With that victory, the Quakers advanced to the round of 32 to face Marietta College. Early in the first half, the Quakers had a 10 -point lead on Marietta, but it disappeared as quickly as it started and Marietta took control of the game. Although they had hot shooting for a few minutes in the first half, the Quakers went ice cold for the rest of the half and finished shooting 31 percent. Marietta shot 52 percent from the field and made six three-pointers in the first half.
Marietta continued where they left off in the second half as they continued hitting shots and dominating Guilford in all facets. Long, Gregory and sophomore forward Alston Thompson all scored in double figures. Gregory ended his first year at Guilford strong with three straight games in double digit scoring.
Although the season ends for the men’s team, they will look forward to next year as they only have three players graduating. The Quakers will lose guard Zachary Houston, forward Dominique Henderson and guard Michael Reiney. Houston and Henderson started every single game of this year.
The Guilford women’s basketball team also made it to the NCAA tournament but lost in the first round. In the ODAC tournament, the Quakers easily got by Washington & Lee University and Emory & Henry College to face Lynchburg College for an ODAC title. The team got an automatic bid thanks to a comeback victory over the Hornets in the ODAC title game, 59-53. Last year, Guilford lost to Lynchburg in the title game.
The Quakers started off slow against the Lynchburg scoring only 17 points in the first half and allowing 28 points. Senior forwards Anais Weatherly and Heaven Walters each had four points at half.
“(At half), every coach contributed to try to say something that would get them to be back to getting some confidence to go back out there and win the game,” said head coach Stephanie Flamini. “It seemed to piss them off a little bit and they seemed to come out with an attitude. A good attitude (which showed that) they were mad and wanted to win.”
The Quakers came out on fire in the third quarter and scored more points in the quarter than they did in the entire first half. Senior guard Amy Steller scored eight points in the quarter and junior guard Lauren Ramsey added seven.
“I didn’t want to lose, “said Steller. “I didn’t want to end my career just yet and knowing that feeling last year of losing a championship. It’s something special to go out with an ODAC championship.”
Guilford started the fourth quarter on a run and took the lead for good. The Quakers sealed the ODAC title with making seven of eight free throws down the stretch. This was the Quakers’ fifth ODAC title. Weatherly was named the ODAC Tournament Most Outstanding Player and Steller and Ramsey were also on the all-tournament team.
Guilford was chosen to host the two first round games and a second-round game of the NCAA tournament.
“It’s good that we get to go to class and sleep in our own bed and not have to be stressed out about that,” said Flamini. “Just being on our home court and having the seniors get to play here one more time and having their families being able to see them play.”
Guilford played Marymount University in the first round. After one quarter the Quakers were up by three but at half they were down 50-27, as Guilford could not recover from an abysmal second quarter. Steller led the team with 8 points at half as they struggled shooting. The Quakers shot 31 percent and Marymount shot a blazing 67 percent with 33 points in the second quarter.
The third quarter was low scoring, and the Quakers only cut the lead down to 22 points going into the fourth quarter. Guilford made a furious comeback and got within one point, but fell short. Steller scored 18 points in the quarter, including two three pointers and eight of eight from the free-throw line. The Quakers were down 66-65, but a three-point play from the Saints’ forward Nicole Viscuso put them up four with 35 seconds remaining. Steller hit a three with four seconds left to get within two, but two made free throws sealed the Quakers’ fate. Guilford fell 74-70 to end their season on a sour note.
The Quakers will lose five players to graduation including four starters. The only starter that will not graduate is Ramsey.
The Quakers’ basketball teams had a tremendous season this year and will look to defend the ODAC titles and build on their success next year.