Vikings Battle National Champions… rt

Matt Hoh

The Vikings, ranked 20th in the country, did not go down with out a fight as they took on the number 2 ranked team in the country, the Bears of Washington University in the first round of the division III NCAA tournament. The Vikings fell 67-65, which would prove to be the closet anyone would come in beating the national champ Bears.
The Vikings started out strong as they built an 11 point lead in the first half; however the Bears were able to take the lead 33-36 by halftime. The lead continued to shift between the two teams until Aaron Thompson of Washington University hit a 3-point basket with 14 seconds left to give the bears a lead of 2, he finished with 26 points.
Lawrence was lead by John Dekker who was 5-7 from behind the arch and pored on 17 points for the Vikings. Seniors Jayce Apelgren 15pts and 9 rebounds, Ryan Kroeger 13pts, and Chris Page with 11pts stepped up in their last collegiate game. Doug Kadison led Lawrence with 6 assists.
The Vikings who finish the year with a 19-7 record received a host of awards. Leading the way for the Vikings as he did all season was Kroeger who finished for the second straight year as the Midwest Conference Player of the Year. Kroeger was the first Lawrence player to post back-to-back player of the year awards. Kroeger was also named to All-Midwest Region team by National Association of Basketball coaches and D3hoops.com.
Also joining Kroeger on the all-conference team were Page and Aplegren who finished with great seasons. The final award was given to Coach DePagter as he received the Midwest Conference Coach of the Year Award.
With the end of the season marks the end of five great Lawrence careers. Kroeger, Kadison, Apelgren, Page, and BJ Harry are graduating after four spectacular seasons. The five were able to win the conference title 3 of their 4 years which included 3 tournament appearances. The Vikings were also part of the top ranked team in the country just a couple of years ago. A special thanks to these five seniors for all of the great memories.

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