2011-12 Stories of the Year (No. 1): The Night
AT THE BOTTOM OF THE NO. 1 STORY FROM 2011-12, ARE VIDEOS FROM THE NIGHT
MEQUON, Wis. – The list could have gone on and on, and it is obviously longer than we thought it would be when we first started making it. The 2011-12 athletic year at Concordia University Wisconsin had many successful and inspiring stories, but we decided to limit it to five.
These stories were compiled by the CUW Sports Information Department, and like all lists it is subject to debate. The top stories will be revealed in stages. Stories 4-1 will be revealed individually over the next few days, with the top story of 2011-12 being released next Tuesday.
Fans will then have an opportunity to vote on their top stories of 2011-12 by e-mailing their list to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, June 15.
The R. John Buuck Field House was filled with emotion and the reaction to what happened on Feb. 8 will never be forgotten.
The Lakeland College Muskies were coming to town for a highly anticipated Northern Athletics Conference showdown, with first place on the line in the North Division. The first-place contest was set up a week earlier when senior Luke Doedens (Cedarburg, Wis.) nailed a dramatic buzzer-beating 3-pointer against Marian University to send the game into overtime, which the Falcons would prove to be victorious.
Well, on that Wednesday he would do it again.
But before any of the basketball heroics would come to fruition, athletic trainer Darren Smith had a surprise for not only those in attendance, but for his special lady. After weeks of preparation and planning, his girlfriend Karin would be hand-picked to win the 'grand prize' in a nonexistent contest. Little did she know Darrin had planned for members of the men's basketball team deliver flowers to her before he went down to one knee and asked her to marry him. And with a strong "Yes" coming from Karin the fireworks began.
The game opened with a barrage of 3-pointer from both sides, before the Muskies took control behind Jake Schwarz's 29 points and Justin Ward's timely shooting from downtown. However, the Falcons countered with junior Brian Jackson's (Carol Stream, Ill.) 21 points and senior Mitchell Schneider's (New Holstein, Wis.) team-high 25 points.
On this night, however, Doedens had a special someone backing him from high above, his late sister Nikki, who lost her life eight years prior in a car accident. For him she was always there on Feb. 8 when he had a game. With her looking down he never failed to play his best for her and his family.
As the game progressed CUW found itself down by as many as 12 points early in the second half. Most head coaches would call a timeout after the opposition hit a dagger for a 3-pointer, but Shawn Cassidy had faith in his team and let them play on. As the seconds and minutes ticked off the clock the Falcons put themselves in a position to bring the crowd to their feet.
With 3.3 seconds remaining LC's Josh Regal had to make 1-of-2 free attempts to give the Muskies the victory. The pressure must have been too much for the senior point guard because he missed both attempts. After the second miss senior Matt Paluchniak (Oostburg, Wis.) grabbed the rebound and flipped the ball to Doedens.
After three dribbles, including a cross-over to get past two defenders, the 6-foot-5 guard heaved a 39-foot, one-footed 3-pointer to send the game into overtime. As the ball floated through the air, it just seemed right to continue such an incredible night with a buzzer beater. Less than a second after Doedens released the ball the horn sounded, the lights on the backboard illuminated and the ball gracefully banked in for another unforgettable shot.
During the first possession of the second overtime Schneider drained a 3-pointer from the left wing to put CUW in control the rest of the way for a thrilling 106-102 double overtime victory.
Less than two months later Doedens would win D3Hoops.com Buzzer Beater of the Year, earn NAC Player of the Year and be named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches and D3Hoops.com All-Midwest Region Teams.
2011-12 Stories of the Year
HM: Pawlak ends career at NCAA Championships
No. 5: CUW men best in the NAC
No. 4: Sanders backflip appears on ESPN
No. 3: Ambrocio one win from being an All-American
No. 2: Kapco Park unveiled