by Alan Babbitt
Someday soon, the pain of this season-ending loss for the Hope College men's basketball team will fade a little for the Flying Dutchmen
There are too many good moments that mean more than Wednesday's 68-66 quarterfinal loss at Calvin College in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Tournament, senior co-captain Teddy Ray said.
"There's always going to be a little sting to it, but I know that in the future I will be able to look back on this game and on this team with a lot of fond memories," said Ray, the forward from Fort Wayne, Indiana (Homestead HS). "I love every guy on this team and the coaches. It's not the way you want to end of the season, but I have no regrets with these guys. I'm proud of what we accomplished."
A senior class that includes Ray, guard Jason Beckman of Shelby, Michigan (Shelby HS), pictured, forward Jeff Goral of Palos Heights, Illinois (Amos Alonzo Stagg), and forward Dennis Towns of Flint, Michigan (Powers Catholic) won 81 games, claimed three MIAA titles and made three NCAA Tournament appearances the past four years.
The Flying Dutchmen finished this season with a 15-11 record.
Three of the losses were to Calvin by a meager total of eight points. The Knights took the lead for good with 11 seconds remaining on a short baseline jump from Jason Walter.
Hope overcome a nine-point, first-half deficit to take the lead twice during the second half. The Flying Dutchmen missed a 12-foot jumper at the buzzer that would have sent the game to overtime.
"We left everything out there," head coach Greg Mitchell said. "It was one of those games we played well enough to win. We didn't get the result I felt we earned. Credit to Calvin for making plays down the stretch."
Beckman led all scorers with 31 points. He shot 48.1 percent from the field (13-27) and 100 percent from the foul line (5-5).
Beckman concluded his two-year Hope career with 1,132 career points - good for 30th place among the Flying Dutchmen's career scoring leaders.
Sophomore center Preston Granger of Lansing, Michigan (Lansing Christian) added 13 points and eight rebounds against Calvin (14-12).
Wednesday was the 201st game in The Rivalry. Hope leads the all-time series, 103-98.