It all came down to what it had to in Olivet’s 106-94 loss to Hope College in the MIAA Tournament game Feb. 24 – baskets made.
Some of the more than 1,300 fans on hand might blame the referees, the free throws, the other fans…. but it all came down to getting the ball through the hope. Hope did it more.
At one time, Hope led by 18. At another, Olivet led by 8. That was in the first half, when the game was fast and furious.
At half time, it was 46-32 Hope, and when the Comets took the floor, they walked on. No jogging, no smiles. It was quiet throughout the gym at The Cutler Event Center.
About 10 minutes into the half, Comet powerhouse senior Jalen Adams fouled out. There was more uneasy silence. And Hope went on a scoring run.
On the Hope side, junior Jason Beckman was on his way to 32 points and a championship berth. At a post-game press conference, Beckman said the night was a “testament to his teammates”.
For Olivet, junior Tracy Edmond put up 26 points and seemed to miss his go-to partner Adams, who left with 17 points on the night.
With just under five minutes left, Olivet was within 9 points of Hope, but Hope kept its forward momentum. Beckman kept pouring on the points and the Comets missed opportunities, including free throws.
At the end, with less than a minute left, Comet Coach Steve Ernst took a technical foul by calling a time-out with none left. At the post-game press conference, he said, I “used the time out to tell them I love them and respect them.”
As the final buzzer sounded, the ball was in Beckman’s hands, where it will be as Hope continues on in championship play. The Comets left the court quickly as the MIAA trophy presentation began.
Ernst took the table at the post-game press conference alone, no players in tow. He had praise for his team and for the Comet crowds: the “best environment” to play in he said.
After the game, Hope Coach Greg Mitchell said, “We wanted to make sure Olivet saw Hope basketball” in his team’s aggressive play.