Williamstown fan Dave Fehr writes to a few friends. He is a basketball fan and will be making the trip to Salem.

There is a tendency in some parts of the country (and at d3hoops.com) not to take NESCAC (and New England in general) hoops seriously.

Well, in the Div. III NCAA Sectional at Williamstown this weekend, three of the top-10 ranked teams in the country were present. Where else does that happen? (Well, it also happened here two weeks ago in the NESCAC tournament semi-finals (Williams; Middlebury; Amherst). Of the eight teams playing last night in the quarterfinals, three were from NESCAC. Middlebury and Williams will be at the Final Four this Friday. (That also happened in 2004 – Williams and
Amherst.) Midd and Williams, if they take care of business, would meet in
the National Championship game this Sat. All in all, I think we do pretty
well.

Coach Maker said he didn’t sleep worrying about #10 ranked Va. Wesleyan. All
black (I don’t think it’s racist to point this out, as it’s a fact: the 3
white kids on the roster sat at the end of the bench and didn’t even dream
about getting into the game), fast, could shoot, shot a lot of 3s (but not
as many as we shoot), defended the three well), and played in the ODAC, a
very strong league. The one thing they lack is height (called “length” these
days). So, I figured we’d win because of the home court and because we could
out-rebound them.

We were out-rebounded 43-33! To start the game, the Va. Wes. coach decided
to single-cover Troy. Big mistake! We went to him on our first four
possessions: layup, jumper, jumper, jumper, 8-0 Williams. Five minutes into
the game it was 13-2, at which point we went into a deep freeze and were
outscored 32-14 until halftime. Ephs shot 1-10 behind arc in first half.
Slow comeback (down 2 at 15:26), fell back again (down 50-43 @ 12:21),
finally took lead @ 5:28 on a monster dunk by Troy which began an 9-1 run
culminated by a Wang 3. Last 3 minutes were free throws for the 79-73 final.
A Whittington show: 28-11-3-4-1 line in 29 minutes (10-14 FG).

Earlier, Amherst almost peed-away a big lead before beating Rhode Island
College 78-74, while outrebounding them 50-28. (How come we play the #10
team in the country while Jeffs draw RIC?)

Amherst Coach Hixon must hate playing at Chandler gym, having lost here for
the third time in 28 days! No slow start for the Ephs this time, doubling-up
the Jeffs (28-14) in the first 14 minutes, followed by Amherst returning the
favor, a 40-22 run thru halftime to lead 54-50 with 11:21 to play. Five
points in the next minute had Ephs retake the lead on a Klemm 3 (55-54), a
lead we never lost although it dropped to one (68-67) at 3:06 after Jeffs
ran off 13-5. A Troy dunk @ 1:22 and a Nate 3 @ 0:26 sealed the win.

Keys: We out-rebounded a better board team 36-29, and did it in an
interesting way with Whittington (as you’d expect), Robertson, Wang and my
man Dodson (whom you’d might not expect) all with 7. Key: We shot the ball
well (49% FG; 81% FT) and Amherst didn’t (40% FG; 27% 3-pt). Key: For the
last 3 years, Williams guards have had success driving to the rim vs.
Amherst. Yesterday it was Nate the Great (22 PT; 7-11 FG; 3 AST) leading the
way with Wang, though shooting poorly, also penetrating for 15 points.

Wooster, which we beat in the semis in 2003, will be a handful. They’re long
(start 6-7, 6-5, 6-4, 6-1 and 6-1) and have a 6-7 and 6-8 getting major
minutes off the bench. Their shooting stats (47.5%; 39.6%; 76.0%) are close
to ours. But if Troy’s not too banged up, I like our chances.

We’re off Thursday. Gigi’s already packing!

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