This year the SLIAC tournament was held at Webster University. The Webster Gorloks was seeded #1 in the conference with a 16-2 record. The Greenville Panthers had the #2 seed going 12-6. The third seed belongs to the Fontbonne Griffins at 12-6 and the Blackburn Beavers secured the last spot by going 12-6 on the season.
The first game of the tournament was between the #2 seed Greenville Panthers and the #3 seed Fontbonne Griffins. The Panthers kept their season alive with a 164-148 win against the Griffins. The Panthers took the lead with 13 min to go in the first half and never looked back to win by 16 points. Austyn Contreras led Greenville with 41 points. He shot 11-15 from the 3-point line. Marvin Batemen finished with 33 points while shooting 8 of 14 from the 3-point line. Riley Simmons and Kameron Vinsel both finished with 7 rebounds. Dustin Bankowski dished out 13 assists in the win. In the loss for the Griffins, Anthony Jones led the team with 45 points and 9 rebounds. Caden Clark finished with 29 points. Gus Kleekamp had a double-double with 10 points and 10 assists. Greenville went on to play against the winner of Webster verse Blackburn.
The second game of the tournament was between the #1 seed Webster Gorloks verse the #4 seed Blackburn Beavers. The Gorloks won 85-77. Webster led at halftime 45-36. Then the Beavers went on a 15-9 run to cut the lead to 3, but in the end couldn’t grab the lead. Josh Johnson led the Gorloks with 25 points. Wynne Brown Jr finished with 18 points. For the Beavers, Karson Hayes finished with 20 points. Christian Wagner scored 17 points and grabbed 7 rebounds. Webster makes the championship against the Greenville Panthers.
The championship was played by the #1 seed Webster Gorloks and #2 seed Greenville Panthers. The Gorloks pulled out the win over the Panthers by the score of 121-112. The Gorloks started the game with a 9-2 run in the first three minutes of the game. With 9 min to go in the first half, Greenville cut the lead to 31-27. Then at the half Webster was leading 57-46. Throughout the second half, Greenville gradually chipped away at the difference. Greenville had a 14-7 run that was capped by a three from Barry Nixon to put the Panthers within two with 9 minutes remaining. The Panthers tied the score at 107 but promptly committed a pair of turnovers to allow Webster to regain its control of the contest. For Greenville, Marvin Batemen led Greenville in scoring with 23 points. Riley Simmons had 18 points. Then Eric Williams finished with a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. In the win for the Gorloks, Wynne Brown, Jr. led all scorers with 34 points. Rodson Etienne finished with 27 points and 6 rebounds. Jordan Clay scored 23 points and grabbed 8 rebounds against the Panthers.
The Championship win for the Webster Gorloks earns the SLIAC’s automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Basketball Tournament that begins next weekend. The NCAA will unveil the 64 team bracket for this year’s Division III Men’s Basketball Tournament at 11:30 a.m. on Monday, March 2.