On Tuesday, February 14 at Klinger Court, Spartan fans said farewell to five Seniors prior to an ECC contest against Withrow (13-8, 8-5 ECC, #9 Enquirer poll.) Although the Spartans (6-14, 4-9 ECC) fell to the Tigers 64-49, it was a memorable evening.
Head Coach Ryan Krohn had this to say about the Senior class: “The senior class of 2017 could not be any different as individuals, but collectively they couldn’t be more alike. From ultra-analytical to insanely laid back, they each approach the game differently. As a whole they are on the same page - hard working, smart, team oriented, passionate, and TOUGH. Through the ups and downs of the season, one thing was constant - they came to practice every day with a great attitude and work ethic. Ben Hemmelgarn was our only senior that was a basketball-only athlete. I don't think I have coached a kid that has worked so hard to become a varsity starter. While not blessed with an immense amount physical ability, Ben made up for that with his basketball intelligence and hard work. Ben turned his liabilities into his assets by becoming a solid outside shooter and a dependable defensive player and rebounder. Jack Campbell started the year off slow after a tremendous football season. After getting into a basketball mindset, Jack became an asset on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. Jack always worked hard in practice and brought a lot of toughness to our team. Drew Sesler became our "go-to" senior with his ability to score inside and from the perimeter. Once Drew got his legs under him he was one of the toughest players to guard in our league. The second half of the season Drew led us in scoring and rebounding and gave our team a solid presence on the interior. Jack Tyszkiewicz works as hard as any player I have ever gotten to coach. After a serious in-game injury, Jack worked hard to get back and join his teammates for the last 2 games. This exemplifies his toughness, leadership, passion and dedication to his team. Jack always guarded the other team’s best player whether they were an inside or outside player. He was our leading rebounder and always a threat on offense. Marc Gendreau was our senior point guard. Marc loves basketball. Even though baseball may be his first love, he brought great passion and work ethic to our team. Marc was a tremendous teammate that pushed his teammates to become better daily. This senior group was the most fun team I have coached. They are very hardworking athletes that will be successful in all their future endeavors.”
Spartans fans were happy to see the return of Tyszkiewicz, coming back from a serious injury. He started the night’s scoring with a basket, then Hemmelgarn got into scoring action with a free throw after a Withrow basket followed by a three pointer to give the Spartans a 6-2 lead. The Tigers scored seven straight until Sesler drained a three to tie the game at 9-9. The Tigers answered with a three, but Josh Bell hit a jumper at the first quarter buzzer to pull the Spartans within one, 12-11. Sesler started the second quarter with a basket, and after a Tiger score, Tyskiewicz made two free throws and a basket to put Turpin up 17-14. Withrow made two free throws, but Sesler hit a three to give the Spartans a 20-16 lead. The Tigers showed their explosiveness by going on a 14-2 run to take a 30-22 lead. The Spartans crept back on a Nick Haddad free throw and Sesler three after a Tiger basket, and trailed 32-26 at the half.
Sesler knocked down two more threes around a Withrow hoop to pull Turpin within two at 34-32 to start the third quarter. The Tigers scored four straight, but Gendreau hit a three to make the score 38-35. The Tigers answered with a basket, but Sesler scored and the score was 40-37. The Tigers finished the quarter by going on a 9-0 run to take a 49-37 lead into the fourth quarter. Withrow grew the lead to 14 with a basket to start the fourth. Hemmelgarn made three free throws to get the deficit to 51-40, but the Tigers went on an 11-3 run to salt the game away. Hemmelgarn’s three was the only Turpin score during the run. The Spartans were able to score six straight points in the final minutes on a Tyszkiewicz free throw, a Sesler three, and a basket by Clay Scherer. The Tigers closed the evening’s scoring with a basket to make the final 64-49. The Spartans were led in scoring by Sesler with 22 points (six three pointers), followed by Hemmelgarn with 10 (two threes), Tyszkiewicz with eight, Gendreau three (three pointer), and Scherer, Haddad and Bell each had two. The Spartans now wrap up the regular season Friday, February 17 as they travel to Anderson. Tip off is 7:30.
For photos of the evening's events, click HERE