Like any fairytale, the situation at first sight was grim: University of Redlands’ first-year guard Joey Sponheim and two of his teammates came in to put the Bulldogs’ men’s basketball team up by 10 points in the first three minutes. If this was any indication of the game to come, it was going to be a long one for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Stags.
Fortunately, the CMS squad was calm, cool, and collected in maintaining their composure and staying grounded in their game.
“Starting slow has been a theme for us unfortunately,” guard Miles President HM ‘20 said. “We’ve been in that position a lot, so we knew what we had to do to come back.”
The Stags fought with a vengeance to work their way back into the game and close the gap. With President and guard Michael Scarlett CM ’18 nailing some clutch three-pointers and forward Riley Hall CM ’17 working the inside paint, the Stags never gave up on the end goal and brought it back within three, 33-29 to the Bulldogs, at half time.
Halftime was a pivotal point in the fairytale—when CMS chose to stick to the game plan and bring their fiery energy into the second half.
“We had to get out on them a little more, keep moving the ball around, and trust the offense,” says President of their strategy.
A few characters in this story deserving of honorable mention were President, Scarlett, Jack Ely CM ‘18 and Kendrick Morris CM ‘18. Scarlett came out on fire in the second half, draining buckets left and right. Ely was a sparkplug and an asset to the team all over the floor, creating plays offensively and rebounding some crucial shots defensively. Morris pulled out a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds, showing up offensively in the second half. President himself had eight key points for the Stags.
“The little things that don’t show up in the stat book are so instrumental to our team,” President said, “the guys on the bench especially, yelling out shot clock and keeping us energized. Everyone has a role on the team that they’re fulfilling really well right now.”
With unyielding drive and strong team chemistry, the CMS team was unstoppable. With 14 minutes left in the game, the Stags finally took the lead and never looked back. In sync with each other and with victory on their minds, the Stags were up by three with a minute left on the clock. Out of nowhere off an assist from his teammate, Scarlett swished a jumper and hit two follow-up free throws to make it happy ever after for the Stags.
The Stags’ next game was against the Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens, where they split the Sixth Street Rivalry and lost 80-61. They then played the Whittier College Poets and won 87-67. Their next game is against University of La Verne on Saturday, Feb. 11.