Last week was tough for Vikings basketball, with both the men’s and women’s teams losing two games. Lawrence hosted Ripon College at Alexander Gym on Wednesday, Jan. 11 and traveled to Mount Vernon, IA on Saturday, Jan. 14 to face off against Cornell College.
The women were first on Wednesday, their starting lineup comprised mostly of first- year students. The team looked promising throughout December training, but injuries have put a damper on their season so far. On the other hand, the Red Hawks had quite a few senior starters and were fresh off a league championship the prior year. Ripon took the first basket of the game and an early lead. The Vikings fought back and tied their score by burying some three- pointers, but Ripon quickly pulled ahead and began establishing a massive lead. By the end of the first quarter, the Red Hawks had 22 points over Lawrence. By the end of the second quarter, their lead had expanded to 24 points (45-21), despite the Viking’s’ efforts to break their momentum. There was a bit of a pause in the third quarter when a Ripon player caused the ball to go under the portable bleachers, but it was quickly retrieved by Lawrence sophomore Mallory Meyer, and Ripon was back on their point-scoring streak. The final score was 71-38, with Ripon achieving a Midwest Conference victory over the Vikings. It wasn’t a complete loss for Lawrence, though, as first- year players had solid time on the court and gained experience going against a tough competitor. Standout players from the game included first-year forward Sophie Morey, who scored nine points and had an average successful free throw percentage of .88; Meyer, who scored six points; and senior Delaney Brooks, who also scored six points and had a total of 26 minutes on the court.
The men’s game was tense, as Lawrence players were impatient for a victory over Ripon, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished in over a decade. The Vikings scored the first points of the game and established a lead overf Ripon early on, with the score being 9-3 just a few minutes into the game. Lawrence continued their momentum and held a decent lead over the Red Hawks, ending the first half with a nine-point lead (31-20). The second half began with an attempt by Ripon to take the lead, but that was quickly shut down, as Lawrence continued racking up points for a score of 40-28. Ripon tried to break the momentum once again by scoring four points, but it was quickly shut down, with Lawrence first-year Arnav Jain burying a three-pointer. With just seven minutes left in the game, Ripon began a scoring barrage which landed the teams tied with 3 points each. The game was ultimately decided by free throws, which has been a problem area for both Ripon’s and Lawrence’s men’s teams this season. Both teams sported an average successful free throw percentage of .66 coming into the game. The defending conference champions pulled ahead, and defeated Lawrence 67-61. Standout players included junior Adnan Sarancic, who boasted 14 points and 2 minutes of play time; Jain, who scored ten10 points; and first-year Johnny Semany, who scored nine points for the Vikings.
Both teams lost close games to the Rams on Saturday, with the women’s team losing by six points (57-51), and the men’s team losing by five points (84-79). Both teams will face off against Monmouth College at Alexander Gym on Saturday, Jan. 21, with the women’s game starting at 1 p.m. and the men’s starting at 3 p.m..