Hot Shots in Siebens Fieldhouse; Beaver Basketball Squads Sweep Luther at Home


Tanner Frost

A combined offensive effort both on the road and at home this past week was enough for the Beaver Men’s and Women’s Basketball squads to record their first conference sweep since February of 2018.

Notching another big non-conference victory, 89-74, over Concordia University of Chicago this past Sunday as well, the Beaver Men’s Basketball team currently sits at 5-1 overall.

Their lone loss came in the form of the current ARC leaders in Oras, but rolling to big wins over Luther, Wartburg, Simpson and the four-time reigning champions Nebraska Wesleyan Prairie Wolves finds the Beavers in 2nd place in the American Rivers Standings.

As for their counterparts, the Beaver Women have struggled to find the win column and final ball to start the 2021 season but have been playing well despite cancellations and postponements.

Head Coach David Wells and his side earned themselves their first conference win of the seas and their head coach’s tenure with an emphatic 69-65 triumph over Luther alongside the men, as the ladies gained momentum into the brunt of their schedule.

Here’s how both teams have performed so far this season and what to watch for the second half of conference play:



After an explosive start to the 2019-2020 season, 2021 is more of the same for second-year Head Coach Trevor Johnson and his squad.

With two exhibition games canceled due to COVID-19 and safety regulations, the Beavers currently sit at 5-1 overall and second place in the American Rivers standings.

“Chasing a title this year after grabbing four significant victories over their other contenders,” Johnson said.

Storm Lake Senior Michael Demers has continued his hot hand from last season as well, leading the team in scoring with 17.2 PPG so far and leading in rebounds. New face Zane Neubaum (Fr.) has also exploded onto the scene sitting with a team second-best 13.7 PPG.

Demers also sits at 5th in the conference in points per contest, but the various ARC team’s conflicting schedules have prevented most teams from playing the same number of games.

Neubaum, meanwhile, sits at 4th place for the conference’s best field goal percentage with a mark of .567.

Seniors Garrett Sittner and Jake Thompson round out the four Beavers averaging above double digits so far in points per game at 12.7 and 10.2 respectively.

Sittner, alongside another freshman Michael Santich, also has been providing key passes in pivotal positions for a combined 48 assists between the two.

As a team, the Beavers have recorded the third-best mark for offensive output (81.2 PPG), and the second-best defense, carrying over from last season (72.5 allowed PPG).

The team is also tied for the second-best three’s made per game at 11.5 makes per contest.

The Beaver Men had an important test up next in the context of their title hopes but things changed; the men’s game against the current ARC leaders in Dubuque at home on Wednesday was canceled as well due to COVID.

BVU will now play a new American Rivers matchup this Wednesday, hosting the Coe Kohawks at home.



Sitting at 1-2 overall, the Beaver Women have been troubled by an uncompromising schedule.

One canceled exhibition game and two postponements to their matchups with Nebraska Wesleyan and now Loras have required adaptation, which has been the theme of the school year for Wells and his squad.

“COVID-19 has given us the opportunity to learn what we can and what we can’t control. We are a more flexible team because of it and has proven to help us bond together as a team,” says Coach Wells. “Everything requires adjustment, flexibility, some grace, and a willingness to persevere despite the environment. I ask the team to try to approach it with a good attitude and give effort when given the opportunity.”

Led by Seniors Cassy Miller and Christina Schauer, the still relatively young roster has been revitalized by experienced veterans and new faces alike.

The addition of local high school stars from Newell-Fonda Olivia Larsen (So.) and Megan Morenz (Fr.) have provided a spark to the Beaver Offense. The former Mustang duo averaged 16.7 and 8 PPG so far across three contests, while Miller and Schauer added 11.7 and 9 PPG.

In the post, Vanessa Hamlett (So.) continues to snag every loose ball possible, leading the team with 26 rebounds, 16 of which have been offensive boards. With the reintroduction of Erin Streit (Jr.) post-injury from last season, the squad has been much more well-rounded.

The team’s all-around improvement in play reflected in their victory over Luther last Saturday evening, taking down the Norse for the first time since 2016-17. Wells and the team see the victory as a potential turning point and will try to ride the momentum.

“One win is nice, but it makes you hungry for more, the ladies have been working so hard this season. We’re playing our opponents with more grit and with more energy than before. I dare say we are having fun playing the game, I’ll take that all day every day.”

Wells also notes how COVID-19 regulations and results have prevented the team from utilizing their full roster for the majority of the season. Alongside the aforementioned cancellations and postponements of games, Wells notes his massive appreciation for flexibility and adaptability from his players, managers, and staff.

Working closely with the BVU Athletic Training staff in these unprecedented times, it’s taken a team effort to organize a hectic schedule and reach this point in time.

“The ladies have approached this season fearlessly and keep going, I don’t know how many days we’ve had a full roster, but they always remember the ones who are out at the moment. Winning gives confidence and hope, we try to talk about our habits and the process more than the results. Winning small battles is key,” says Wells.

“As a group, they are buying into a family concept, we will go together for better or worse,” he adds. “For us, worse has challenged us to communicate, love, and persevere. For better, we’re still standing, practicing, staying ready for whatever life throws at us together as a family.”

The Women were set to play Dubuque as well, but the game was canceled due to COVID-19. The Beavers will now host the Coe Kohawks instead of the Simpson Storm at home in Siebens Fieldhouse on Saturday.