Wednesday night provided some very split emotions for the Wartburg basketball teams. The women’s team brought home an IIAC Regular Season championship while the men’s team lost a game they badly needed to win.
The games got tipped off at 6 pm between the women’s squads from both schools. Wartburg was attempting to get revenge for a previous loss to the Norse in Decorah, the Knights’ only loss in conference play.
Wartburg and Luther would both start the game going back and forth, having the game tied at 8-8 early on. That was the last time the game would be tied for the rest of the contest.
The Knights’ would use a poor shooting first half from Luther, which included 0-15 from downtown, to take an 18 point lead into the halftime break. Wartburg never looked after the halftime break, the closest the Norse would get in the 2nd half was 14 points.
The second half provided a lot of offensive fireworks for Wartburg, especially for the Sommer twins as they connected four times for three pointers in the 4th quarter, helping seal the win.
Freshman Emma Gerdes also had a big game, collecting a career high 13 rebounds and getting her first double-double as a Knight.
Four Knights finished in double figures led by Kristie Sommer’s 18. Katie Sommer finished the game with 7 assists, putting her just two shy of setting a school record for assists in a season. This would break a record she set last season.
With the win, Wartburg secured its first Iowa Conference Championship since the 2002-03 season and the first one under head coach Bob Amsberry. The Knights also secure the number one seed and home court advantage for the Iowa Conference Tournament.
At 8 o’clock the men’s teams took to the court and the finish for the second game was vastly different.
Wartburg held a lead for over 37 minutes of the game, a lead that stretched out to 18 points at one point. The second time in as many games the Knights have held a lead for over 37 minutes and come away with a loss.
Luther would continue to mount comeback after comeback, no matter the deficit they faced. The Knights were forced to play without starting point guard Nick Webber, who missed the game with an ankle injury. This may have been the game when they needed him the most.
Cam Kickbush started the game for Webber. He and the rest of the starting lineup struggled throughout the entire game. Senior Jordan Cannon finished the game with only 8 points on 2-15 shooting.
The Knights are now sitting in 7th place in the Iowa Conference and only the top six teams advance to the conference tournament.
There are two games left in the season for the Knights, these games will come against the Dubuque Spartans on Feb. 15th, a team that is also fighting for the conference tournament, and Senior Day on Feb. 18th against the Buena Vista Beavers, the number one team in the conference.
Wartburg may have to win both games to secure an appearance in the 2016-17 Iowa Conference tournament.