Section: Sports

Matijasich plays in final game for Ladies, Lords finish 6-19

Matijasich plays in final game for Ladies, Lords finish 6-19

Paige Matijasich '20 plays in her final game for Kenyon COURTESY OF KENYON COLLEGE ATHLETICS

Women’s

The Kenyon Ladies basketball team concluded their season this past week with losses to Allegheny College and Denison University. In their final contest of the regular season, the Allegheny Gators came from behind to defeat the Ladies, 67-63. The loss dropped Kenyon down to the No. 6 seed in the NCAC tournament, assuring a first-round matchup against Denison’s Big Red. The Ladies were then defeated handily by Denison, 63-43, for the eighth time in the NCAC tournament. Kenyon concluded their season with an admirable 10-16 record.   

In their first game against Allegheny, the Ladies got things rolling early. Greta Propp ’22 and Paige Matijasich ’20 recorded the game’s first eight points. Ellie Schaub ’21 joined in on the offensive showcase, draining a deep 3-point shot to put Kenyon ahead 16-3. Despite the Ladies’ hot start, the Gators showed great resilience and were able to crawl back into the game. By halftime Allegheny had cut the margin to just six points, trailing 33-27.

Allegheny seniors Julianna Skowron and Zoe Youdell would simply not allow their final collegiate basketball game to end in a loss. The dynamic pair added a combined 45 points and 28 rebounds. The Gators charged ahead and were able to tie the game up at 61-61 with just under three minutes to go in the fourth quarter. After two Matijasich free throws, the Gators finally took control of the game and locked down the Ladies offense. Allegheny held Kenyon to zero points in the last two minutes of play while putting up the final six points of the game.

In her final regular-season game, Matijasich was dominant as usual. The star guard led the team with 20 points to go along with 11 rebounds, six assists and two steals on 33 percent shooting from the field.

On Tuesday night, Kenyon headed to Granville, Ohio to face off against Denison in the NCAC quarterfinal round. Dension is ranked No. 3 this season in the NCAC with an impressive 18-8 record.

After getting off to a quick 5-0 start, Kenyon went ice-cold. The Ladies missed eight of 10 shots and turned the ball over five times in the remainder of the first quarter. By halftime, the Big Red had opened up a 27-19 point lead.

The Ladies started the second half firing on all cylinders. Kenyon brought the game within striking distance and trailed by just four points, the tightest window since early first in the quarter. Denison then exploded, going on an 11-1 run to clinch the game. The Ladies never brought the game closer than an eight-point deficit for the remainder of regulation. They had more turnovers (21) than shots (16) while converting just 35.6 percent from the field.

In her last game in the purple and black, Matijasich led the team as she has done all season. She notched 13 points, five assists and seven rebounds.

“Because our team is so young, we can learn a lot from Paige and her competitive nature, her love and passion for basketball, and her leadership and kindness on and off the court,” Propp said. “She has impacted the [Kenyon women’s basketball] program in so many ways and she is leaving behind a huge legacy.”

Matijasich will surely be missed at Kenyon, and will always be remembered in the record books. She finishes her career ranked fourth of all time in free throw percentage (77.8), fifth in rebounds (687) and seventh in points (1,402).

Men’s

The Kenyon Lords basketball team’s season ended last Saturday with a 100-77 loss to Allegheny College. Despite solid play on the offensive end from the Lords, their defense was once again overmatched.

After getting off to a 4-3 start, the Lords then went 2-15 in their remaining 17 games, finishing 6-19 with a 3-15 record in conference play. While Kenyon’s season ended on a nine-game losing streak, they did double their win total from the previous year, demonstrating some impressive young talent. According to Carter Powell ’20, some highlights for the year included the team’s upset of Lycoming College in Florida over Winter Break, as well as seeing the underclassman continue to develop their game.

In the game against Allegheny, the Lords started strong, jumping out to a 9-2 lead on Powell’s  hot hand. Allegheny responded in full force, though, shooting over 51 percent from the field. All five of Allegheny’s starters were in double digits, including 23 points, eight rebounds and six assists from forward Jordan Rawls. The Gators’ scoring effort was only three points shy of the Tomsich Arena scoring record of 103.

On the Lords’ end, Powell scored 19 points and Ugnius Zilinskas ’21 contributed 16 points and seven assists, a career high. Powell’s 19 points capped off an excellent career and a senior season that was highly productive, despite coming off a knee injury. He led the team with an impressive 17 blocks and contributed an average of 11.1 points per game. He made a career-high 40 percent of his 3-pointers.

“I was just happy to contribute in any way,” Powell said. “You kind of have to change your game a little bit when you’re not as quick or as explosive as you used to be,” which, he explained, can mean taking 3-point shots rather than driving to the rim.

Zilinskas, who averaged 16.7 points per game, will be in contention for conference-wide honors. Powell expects a lot from him, both in terms of offensive output and as a leader, being the team’s only rising senior.

With three seniors graduating this year, Ryan O’Neil, Alex Cate and Powell, the emphasis for next year is going to be ensuring first years and sophomores step into leadership roles.

“This off season, [Kenyon] need[s] to get stronger and need[s] to become more comfortable playing with each other,” Powell said.

In terms of wins and losses, Powell says that it’s never easy to win six games, and some losses can be demoralizing. On the other hand, he lauded the team’s closeness and dedication to improvement, something that will propel what is one of the conference’s younger rosters, boasting seven first years, in the future.

“I think a big takeaway from this season is that the people around you and the lessons you learn are just as important as the wins and losses,” Powell said.

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