Simpson men pick up hard-fought victory over Coe


The Storm head to Nebraska Wesleyan to take on the No. 1 team in Division III Thursday.

by Gunnar Davis, Sports Editor

When the Simpson men’s basketball team needed to deliver, they—and the student body—did just that on Tuesday night.

The Storm (16-9, 9-7) took down conference rival Coe College, 90-82, in a packed Cowles Fieldhouse in the first round of the American Rivers Conference tournament.

In each of the previous four years, Simpson has hosted the first round of the conference tournament. And in each of the four years, they have come away with a loss.

Head Coach Brad Bjorkgren was excited for his team to get over the hump and beat a tough Coe team.

“I’m happy for our guys and happy for the seniors, who’ve played in three previous home games and didn’t get a victory,” Bjorkgren said. “That’s all you can ask for.”

The Storm and the Kohawks traded blows throughout the first half. Junior forward Adam Reiter had 12 points and senior guard Tyler Stumbo hit a deep three to finish out the first half, tying the game at 37.

Simpson would come out firing in the second half, hitting big shots in front of a sea of red shirts behind the basket. With 10 minutes left to play, the Storm led 60-51.

“They were amazing,” Reiter said. “Best crowd of the year. I’d love it if they were that loud all year, but they came at the most important time of the year and they helped us get that dub.”

But Coe would storm back and cut the lead to just two points. The Storm took a timeout, regrouped and answered the challenge. They put away the challenger in the final minutes.

“Feels good to bring a win home for the fans and the brand,” Reiter said. “It’s good for the team.”

Junior guard Conor Riordan led the Storm with 21 points. Reiter also added 20 and 12 rebounds. Senior forward Kyle Wagner dropped five three-pointers in a 17-point effort.

“We did a really good job of getting it inside to Adam. He kind of asserted his force early,” Riordan said. “When people are hitting shots it just opens up the floor for our guards to drive.”

This win comes four days after beating the Kohawks on the road, 82-80. Bjorkgren thinks it was beneficial for his team to see their opponent just days before.

“Honestly, playing them on Saturday and playing against the 1-3-1 and being able to prepare a bit for the 1-3-1 zone. That really helped us,” Bjorkgren said. “If we wouldn’t have had that game on Saturday, then they would’ve surprised us with that defense and I’m not sure if we would have been as confident.”

The Storm play next at first-seeded Nebraska Wesleyan. The Prairie Wolves are the No. 1 team in the country and defending national champions. The squad knows they’re in for a battle, but they’re up for the challenge.

“Even though they’re an amazing team, I’m still not scared of them,” Reiter said. “I think we have a lot more to fight for than they do.”