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Recap: A Win-Win at the Men’s Basketball

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Recap: A Win-Win at the Men’s Basketball


February is full of events: Valentine’s Day, birthdays, and even National Golden Retriever Day.  However, one detail that goes unnoticed is that February is the American Heart Month. Southwestern is celebrating the America’s Heart Association’s (AHA) 100th birthday by hosting various events and raising awareness about cardiovascular health. Leading up to the men’s basketball game, the sports department spent the last week encouraging spectators to wear red to show AHA support. 

The stands held students and parents in red, supporting the team and AHA. Additionally, the pep band walked in with their instruments, ready to show support for the Pirates. “This is actually our first basketball game, so I did not realize how big of a game it would be. I was surprised with how many people showed up and showed their support,” said mellophone player and Sophomore Emelia Bruton.

At the front of the Robertson Gym were two tables, one selling red shirts with hearts and another with dummies on the floor to learn CPR. “I think this game brought more awareness to cardiovascular health because even just a little promotion will spark more awareness to the association and what they do,” said First-Year Ava Vines. 

Photo by Murphy Jacobie

As the game neared tip-off, both teams warmed up and focused on the upcoming match. The gym echoed with cheers, instruments playing from the pep band, and the Cheer team hyping the students up. Once the game was underway, the University of St. Thomas Celts came out aggressive and took the lead. It wasn’t until 3 minutes into the first half that Southwestern’s Pirates responded with a three-pointer, putting themselves on the board. The Pirates then held the Celts and caught up, 8-9. Both teams continued to put points on the board before coming to a stalemate, 11-15. Then, the University of St. Thomas (UST) held the Pirates while continuing to score, but the Pirates wouldn’t allow the Celts to continue their streak. They managed to come back and even get the higher ground with the help of #13 Luke Hatcher’s layup and free throw. The Pirates held the higher ground, with the Celts trailing closely behind them. However, it wasn’t long before the Celts regained the lead, 30-31. Both teams continued to put points up, the Celts still in the lead. At the end of the first half, the Celts were up 36-43. 

After cooling down and catching their breath, both teams came out ready to face off again. Within 30 seconds into the second half, the Pirates gained possession, and Hatcher opened up with a layup. The Pirates tightened their defense, not allowing the Celts to score. Pirates regained possession, and #25 Luke Mills drove in a layup, closing the gap between them. However, the Celts found their footing, held the Pirates, and continued to put points up. The Pirates managed to put some points up but ultimately reached a stalemate at 48-53. Both teams continued to score.

Tensions were high with six minutes left in the game and the score being 58-62 Celts. #5 Jacob Hester scored a three-pointer, bringing the score to 61-62. Both teams tightened their defenses and upped their offensive game. Pirates’ #20 Aiden Raccuglia scored a three-pointer, tying with the Celts. Then, he scored another three-pointer, giving his team the lead. After a foul on the Celts, they made their free throws, bringing the game 67-66, Pirates.

After a Pirates timeout, Pirates held the Celts and managed to draw fouls out of them on Luke Hatcher. Hatcher made his free throws, giving the team the lead. With five seconds left of the match, the Celts called a timeout. However, their strategizing failed, with the Celts missing an attempt for a three-pointer shot. The Pirates had won 70-67.

The gym echoed with cheers from the parents and the Pirates. They celebrated briefly before lining up and saying, “Good game.” They gathered their belongings and excitedly ran into their locker rooms, celebrating their win. “The fact that we’re not going to the conference tournament, and we beat St. Thomas, who is ranked in the top 25 in the region, I’m proud of my guys. Hopefully, we can find a way to build off of this and finish the season strong,” said Coach Kuykendall. 

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