In a way, the Goshen basketball teams have spared themselves one of the stresses of March: when the regular season ends on Saturday, the Leafs will not need to wait to learn their playoff opponent.
The men were eliminated from Crossroads League tournament contention with a loss at sixth-ranked Indiana Wesleyan on Tuesday, while the women saw their postseason hopes fall by the wayside Saturday at Taylor.
Before the unfortunate reality of mathematics set in, the Leafs kept their season alive Saturday afternoon in a 73-64 men’s basketball victory over Taylor in Gunden Gymnasium. Matt Glick, a senior playing his penultimate home game, led the team with 23 points and classmate Jerron Jamerson contributed a double-double in raising Goshen’s conference record to 2-14.
Three nights later, a double double-double did in GC: Indiana Wesleyan seniors RJ Mahurin and Jordan Weidner combined for 36 points in an 89-67 Wildcat win.
The margins were not as close for the women’s team, which shot just 44 percent (11-for-25) from the foul line Saturday in an 82-63 loss at Taylor despite 19 points from Tyra Carver, a sophomore.
Less than 24 hours later, the Leafs hosted Marian in a make-up game: this time, it was the field-goal shooting at fault, with Marian tallying on 43 percent of its attempts compared to Goshen’s 29 percent. The 79-44 Marian victory was Goshen’s second-largest margin of defeat this season.
Goshen enters the season’s final weekend with matching 24-loss records for its teams. The men are 5-24 with a conference mark of 2-15; the women are 4-24, 1-15 in Crossroads League play, with their game against Indiana Wesleyan last night finishing after press time.
The women will travel to Saint Francis on Saturday for a game that has no bearing on the Crossroads League standings: the Cougars have clinched the league title and Goshen cannot reach ninth.
Two hours later, the men will try to leverage the last home game of the year into a spoiler role: Saint Francis is currently fourth in the league, but could finish anywhere between second and fifth.
This will be the 23rd season for the Crossroads League tournament, which replaced the NAIA’s District 21 event in 1992. For its first 14 incarnations, every team in the league qualified. In the last nine years, the Leaf men have failed to qualify four times; the women have finished outside the top eight on six occasions.