Both Muhlenberg basketball teams are going to the Centennial Conference playoffs this year. Last season, neither team made the playoffs or had winning records, but both teams had extreme improvement this season, were able to avoid injuries and are building off of recent hot streaks.
The women’s basketball team is currently on a three-game winning streak while winning four of their last five, with their most recent win at home against Washington College. They currently have a 13-12 overall record, with an impressive 12-8 record in conference. “This is a young team that we thought would grow and come together well by the end of the season. That was our goal, to be playing our best down the stretch and into the post-season and we have accomplished that. We have won 5 of our final 7 games, with five of those games versus play-off teams. We have won close games and come from behind games, so we should be well-prepared for the playoffs this week,” said Coach Ron Rohn, who is in his 21st season as head women’s basketball coach.
Rohn has had success when he has reached the playoffs, winning ten Centennial Conference championships during his tenure at Muhlenberg. “Our goal all season was to reach this point. Get a playoff spot and be playing well enough at the end of the season to know we can beat anyone. We have competed well against the other playoff teams, and I know the team feels that if we play to our highest level, we can beat anyone in the tournament,” said Rohn.
“After having such a strong finish to the regular season, we’re very excited to be entering the postseason. We’ve had a different experience in each of our last three games, which is really valuable going into playoffs because we’ve shown what we can do. At F&M, it was a close game all the way through and we were able to hold on for a win. At Ursinus, both teams made some runs in scoring but we fought through two overtimes to win. Then on Saturday against Washington, we overcame a 19 point first quarter deficit to win by double digits. Being able to get the job done in each of those scenarios gives the team a lot of confidence going into the playoffs, so we’re very excited,” said Margaux Eripret ‘22.
“Our team will keep practicing and playing hard. We have been doing the same thing all season, but it feels like now it’s coming together really well. We just have to trust the process and each other into the postseason,” said Ava Connolly ‘25 who is looking forward to the potential playoff run.
The men’s basketball team is currently on a five game winning streak going into the postseason, with their most recent win also against Washington College at home. They are the fourth seed with their first opponent being at home against Ursinus. “As we prepare for a potential postseason run, we will stick to following the same process that we have used all year. Our daily commitment to pursuing progress is what has put us in a position to make a postseason run and so we will strive to use that same daily commitment to pursuing progress to fuel us throughout the remainder of this season,” said Kevin Hopkins, who is in his fifth year as the men’s basketball head coach.
“Our guys have had the same approach to each and every game that we have played this season. We have challenged our guys to be the most committed, connected and competitive individuals and team that we can be each and every day as we strive to meet our non-negotiable standards that we have set for ourselves within our program. Our success has been a result of the compound interest that has come from our daily process of pursuing progress not perfection,” said Hopkins when talking about how they can continue their recent hot streak into the postseason.
A standout from the team this year was when they broke the single game record in the Centennial Conference for best three point percentage by a team in a single game. The teams shot 63.3 percent from three that game. Another standout performance from the season is when Dan Gaines ‘22 got a career high 35 points in the final season of his incredible career.
In the first round of conference playoffs on Tues, Feb. 21, the women’s team unfortunately lost to Haverford 46-58 which will mark the end of their 2022-23 season. The men’s team beat Ursinus 74-53 and will continue on their playoff journey to the conference championship.