Last Wednesday, the Des Moines Area Community College Bears hosted Simpson College in an extramural competition. The basketball and volleyball intramural champions of both schools squared off in this yearly meeting.
The day started with a bitter loss in the volleyball game as the Simpson team was swept in straight sets. After the conclusion of the volleyball game, the men’s basketball team took the court and beat DMACC 82-74 in dramatic fashion.
The game began with many run-outs and sloppy play, leading to a significant number of turnovers and baskets for both sides. Once the excitement wore off, DMACC began to operate methodically and found ways to exploit a mismatch on the post.
DMACC hit a rhythm at the 15:35 mark of the first half when they took their first lead of the game on a long three pointer by their point guard. For the next 10 minutes of game time, DMACC went 9-10 from the field and saw their lead expand rapidly. Add three consecutive Simpson turnovers and a number of unlucky bounces, and Simpson trailed by 16 with about five minutes left in the first half.
“I think at that point we realized that we needed to start shooting faster and when they started falling, we were all having more fun. That led to some excitement and soon we were in striking range,” senior Alex Alberts said when asked what his team did to turn the game around.
The biggest stat early on was not the score as much as how the Bears were scoring. Simpson was out rebounded significantly in the first half which led to a ridiculous 22 second-chance points for the Bears. At one point during DMACC’s run, they made four layups in four consecutive possessions due to Simpson’s poor blocking out.
Alberts and the rest of the team finally started knocking down shots with a few minutes left in the half. But for every outside shot they made, DMACC answered with layups and high-percentage jump shots. After three wild minutes to end the half, Simpson had cut the lead to eight but still didn’t have much momentum going into the break.
Halftime turned out to be very important to Simpson’s success in the second half. The six team members went to the opposite side of the court and had a calm discussion about changes they needed to make when play resumed.
“We made it a point of emphasis to stop them from offensive rebounds. In the second half, we lowered that stat which took away about half of their scoring. We focused less on stopping them from shooting jumpers and focused more on keeping them out of the lane,” Alberts said.
After the first couple of minutes, it was clear that DMACC still had control of the lane, but once Simpson’s starting big racked up too many fouls, Conner McGinnis came off of the bench and helped spark an amazing comeback.
“I felt like I came in and simply played a supporting role to the other guys on the court,” McGinnis said. “I was just supposed to get rebounds, box my guy out, hedge screens on defense and not let DMACC get any easy drives to the hoop. My goal wasn’t to score; my goal was to help other guys score.”
Down 11 with over 15:00 to play, McGinnis’ disciplined rebounding and blocking out made an enormous difference. Behind McGinnis, Simpson was able to force a few steals that led to easy buckets in transition. After a barrage of threes by Simpson in a matter of three minutes, DMACC had lost all momentum as well as the lead.
After that surge, the Storm never looked back. A couple of three-pointers in the last two minutes by different members of the team delivered the finishing blow to DMACC. After desperation threes by DMACC, Simpson was able to hold onto the ball and let time expire.
It was a great event for both schools due to the wealth of potential connections and transfers both schools could benefit from. These games also support the building of camaraderie between athletes of both schools, which is always the prime goal of extramural and intramural events.