Pioneers end season of success

Marietta College’s NCAA Division III basketball tournament run ended Saturday night in Carlisle, Pa., at the hands of Dickinson College.

To say Saturday’s game was a bummer would be an understatement. Dickinson jumped out to an early lead and held on to it in spite of the Pioneers’ best efforts.

Apparently Dickinson’s players didn’t know MC had made a habit lately of falling behind early and then charging back in the second half, either winning late or forcing the game into overtime, double overtime, or even TRIPLE overtime.

So, Marietta bows out with an impressive 20-8 record on the season, winning the championship of the Ohio Athletic Conference. Twelve games were decided by less than 10 points; MC went 9-3 in those contests. Marietta also went 4-1 in overtime games including its triple overtime thriller in the OAC?semifinal win and a come-from-behind overtime victory in the conference final.

The Pioneers made their second NCAA tournament appearance in the past three years, an impressive feat for coach John VanderWal, his staff and the players. In 2011, the Pioneers advanced to the tournament’s Sweet 16 round, as the coach established a winning attitude in Marietta. MC’s previous NCAA appearance was in 1975.

Congratulations to the entire Marietta College basketball program and its growing number of fans. Even though the team is losing a core of solid senior players, hopes remain high for next season as underclassmen flourish.

Meanwhile, fans of the Pioneers’ two-time defending National Champion baseball team are gearing up for the 2013 campaign set to begin today.

Go, Pioneers – on the court and on the diamond!