TEAM CLINCHES FIRST CCAC CROWN, NAIA BERTH (3/1/05)
basketball team captured the first Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference
tournament title in school history February 26 when they upended host and
top-seeded Cardinal Stritch University 80-70. The championship victory
propels the Trolls into the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics
post-season tournament for the first time ever.
championship is a big dividend for all the hard work we've put into this
season," third-year coach Tim Walker said. "Our young men bought into our
system and dedicated themselves to making it work, and we accomplished
a primary goal. We felt that getting to the NAIA tournament was within
our reach this year, and we're confident about our prospects for winning."
18-14 record includes an undefeated February (8-0) and a run of 10 wins
in 11 games since sporting an 8-13 mark. The Trolls earned the second seed
in the conference tournament by finishing 8-2 in CCAC regular-season play,
one game behind Cardinal Stritch. They split two games with the Wolves
before taking the rubber match in Milwaukee to win the tournament.
This year's team
is the first to represent Trinity in NAIA post-season action in any sport.
The 32-team single-game elimination tournament will take place at the College
of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri, March 9-15.
Walker accepted the coaching position in 2002, he set a goal of molding
a championship-contending program within five years. An up-tempo playing
philosophy and productive recruiting have accelerated his plan, and opponents
in the conference are taking notice. Junior Lawrence Weller (Comstock,
Michigan) and senior Dean Nauta (Grand Haven, Michigan) earned first-team
all-CCAC honors while junior Charles Commeret (Grand Rapids, Michigan)
and sophomore Ty DeWitte (Hudsonville, Michigan) received honorable mention.
"We've done well,
but we have a lot more to achieve," Walker said. "We've gotten significant
contributions from so many players, and that's one reason why we have played
so well in the past few weeks. We're peaking at the right time of the year,
and we're ecstatic about moving on to the NAIA tournament.
title enhances our credibility with recruits, which should help us add
the kind of student-athletes who will maintain the winning tradition we're
building. I'm excited that we have made this step, and we look forward
to building on this season."
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