The National Championship Game!

Yes, we put an exclamation point after a loss, because let’s take a step back here: Point Loma made it to the NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP game.

Also, something we didn’t realize: These games go by fast.

On the D1 level, it’s spread out over weeks and in reality over the course of two calendar months because by the time you get to the Final Four you’re in April.

D2, it’s really only 2.5 weeks. You have a weekend of your specific Region and then a weekend of Nationals and that’s it. Lickety split. We actually really like the format; makes it easier to attend, easier to schedule, all that good stuff.

Is losing in the national championship game hard to swallow? Eh. Let’s talk about it.

Northwest Missouri 64 vs. Point Loma 58

The score tells pretty much the picture: It was close almost the whole way, Northwest Missouri managed to walk it up but we never truly believed it was over, PLNU got it within four, and then ultimately the Sea Lions just couldn’t close the deal.

And what’s interesting, is after what we said in the preview post about Sterling Somers being our MVP of the previous game: He was silent today and it made all the difference. Point Loma’s big separation over Northwest Missouri was the fact that they theoretically had a functional sixth man, while the Bearcats didn’t.

Were there other players that could have played better? Absolutely. Were there calls that could have been made more accurately? Of course. But that’s basketball. It was a defensive grind-it-out that was in many ways reminiscent of the Sweet 16 game against SMU, but this time it was Point Loma on the losing end.

The good news is, that with this tournament it is very clear that the two best teams made it to the national championship game. We also think that the game today made a much larger argument than anticipated that Point Loma absolutely could have won. We’re guessing that there’s a huge sense nationally that “Podunk Point Loma from out west,” had no shot in heck. Nope. They were in it. They were even leading. They made shots when it counted. And then ultimately they didn’t get it done, but it was in no way shape nor form a blow-out.

But can you be ashamed of it? Honestly: Yes. Because Point Loma could have won. We’re sure plenty would argue they should have won, and we would probably be among them, but… It was still an amazing game and an amazing season and we know most you aren’t very fond of string theory, but… In a different universe/timeline, Point Loma did win.

And seriously: the arena not having green confetti was just lame. BOTH TEAMS WERE GREEN. Have green confetti. Good lord.

Bearcat highlights: Diego Bernard had 14 points; Trevor Hudgins played 40 full minutes and had 12 points, six assists, and zero turnovers; Joey Witthus had 24 points while going 8-8 from the line and dishing out four assists; Ryan Hawkins had nine points, 12 boards, and four steals; and Ryan Welty had six boards. No real bench play.

Sea Lion highlights: Preston Beverly shot well and had 15 points and nine boards; Josh Rodriguez had five boards among a full house of stats; Ziggy Satherwaite had seven boards; and Daulton Hommes had 26 points while going 10-10 from the free throw line. Off the bench Sterling Sommers played 22 minutes.

Honestly, there’s a lot wrong with those numbers. The guys are thinking it and so we’ll just say it. Yes: You were harassed by one of the top two D2 teams in the country into having a bad game, in addition for the potential that you just legitimately had an off game. It happens. Mental acuity. Sports psychology. Whatever. We know that the guys above can play better than they did today, even against this exact same opponent. But we also know that Northwest Missouri State is at present the best team in Division II and even on a not-so-great day, Point Loma put up a huge battle, made a lot of noise, and for the people that only glance at the score lost respectably to a very good team with a very good coach.

It is what it is. Nothing we write is going to provide solace, and we get that, hence why we’re not going to just say that PLNU is amazing and awesome and wonderful and such great basketball players. They are, and we definitely think that. We’d like to point out again that on just about any other team, Preston Beverly is the focal point. Thankfully he got a fair bit of attention this weekend, but at the same time he was the person taking tremendous pressure off of Daulton, and so we’ll highlight it again.

While we wish the Sea Lions had gotten the victory, having two of our favorite former GNAC’ers make it to the national title game was incredible. This whole season has been incredible. The biggest round of applause to seriously every team in our beloved West Region: So many surprises, so much parity, yes some really ugly basketball, but also some really great basketball and no doubt the best possible indulgence of our free time. Thank-you all so much.

We finish grad school in about a month and have been putting off writing our thesis, so… We’ll surface again once that’s done. We’ll try and save you from any super reflective “life and basketball” posts, but there will be all conference and all tournament teams and what not, so keep an eye out.

Congrats to all on hard fought seasons, and as always:

West Coast is Best Coast!