Achievements in college sports are always something to take notice of. Whether it is a team going to the championship, a player receiving a prestigious award or just simply setting a school record for most points in a game in any sport, it took a lot of hard work, practice and support of a team to get those achievements in a college career. On Jan. 18, Bethany men’s basketball fans witnessed not one milestone but two – all in the course of one game.
Gavin Kroehler and Derek Peterson, both seniors, put on their jerseys Friday night for the game against Northland College, knowing that by the end of the night their name could end up in the record books under the heading of the “1000 Points Club”. With the help of some good passes and spot-on shots, it didn’t take long before there was not one, but two standing ovations complete with the chantings of both “Gavin Kroehler” and “Derek Peterson” from the Red Sea.
“I have been playing for four years with these guys. It was nice to do it with Derek and these guys as well. We’re roommates, and we both kind of knew coming into tonight that there would be a chance. You don’t really see it too often where two people get it the same night, so it was cool to do that,” said Kroehler.
“Throughout these four years, we have put a lot of hard work in. I couldn’t have done it without my teammates and coaches. The best thing though was that we got the win, and that’s all that matters,” said Peterson.
While the team celebrated Kroehler and Peterson’s accomplishments, they realize there is still work to be done as they now face big conference match ups.
The men started off conference play against the always big rival, Martin Luther College, whom they defeated 85-49. After that, they were introduced to the new team in the league, North Central, who inched past them with a final score of 94-103. However, the Vikings came right back in the next game against their other rival Northwestern, where they won by three.
“It always feels good to beat the school’s rival MLC and obviously with Northwestern knocking us out of the playoffs last year, it felt good to come out with a win there too. But now it’s time to focus on the next opponents as the league is really strong this year,” said senior guard, Patrick Garvin.
With the conference schedule playing out like it does, the Vikings will face all three of these teams again, and in those games there will be some adjustments.
“We always try to adjust. Having seen North Central for the first time really, I think we will have some adjustments to that game and obviously we got beat by them. Hopefully we can do a lot of the same things we did against MLC because we had a lot of success. Northwestern always seems to be a one or two possession game regardless of what happens every time we play,” said coach David Balza.
Although the Vikings currently sit with a 4-1 conference record and have played really strong in each one of those games, they know that defense is an area they need to focus on.
“What we really want our guys to do is play with their maximum effort every single possession on defense. If we do that, we should be able to be in every single game and give ourselves a chance to win every game. The challenge is to have that effort on every possession,” said assistant coach Greg Holzhueter.
With the calling up of some of the junior varsity players to add depth for the rest of the season, Bethany has a strong line-up to play for the rest of their schedule. However, they know they have to just take it game by game.
“We want to take one game at a time and play Bethany basketball. Our coaching staff does an amazing job scouting our opponents and we have to focus every day and take care of games one at a time. We have to come to practice every day and work hard, [if] we do that and come play Bethany basketball Friday and Saturday nights, we will come out on top,” said senior Alex Weldon.
The Vikings will be at home for their next two conference games on Jan. 25th and 26th, facing Crown College and Minnesota Morris.