WATERTOWN, Wis. -- The 2018-19 Sabercats Men's Basketball Team took the program into territory that had been uncharted for over a decade. Earning a fourth-place finish at NCCAA Nationals (the best team finish since 2003), the team finished the season with a 16-11 record - a winning percentage that has been equaled just once since the 1996 season.
All told, it was quite the season for Maranatha Basketball.
The team set the tone early on, as they defeated Dominican University (NACC) for the first time in program history on opening night.
A win over Wisconsin Lutheran (NACC) on the road a week later was the first time Maranatha had beaten WLC since 2011, and early on, the Sabercats had proven themselves against some rigid DIII regional competition.
The Sabercats picked up big away wins at Moody, Northland, and Martin Luther, and would go on to record a 6-2 home record on the season, as their only home losses came to Crown (NCAA DIII) and Silver Lake (NAIA DII).
One such home win seemed to be turning into a loss, as the Sabercats trailed Martin Luther by 11 points with 5:30 on the clock. Then the Sabercats did the unthinkable, knocking down eight points in 11 seconds en route to a 50-point second half (VIEW ON TWITTER). That second-half comeback was one to remember, and the Sabercats locked up an 82-76 win to show for it.
Riding a three-game winning streak, the team went into the NCCAA North Region Tournament with confidence, and they quickly earned the regional title after defeating Emmaus Bible College and Moody Bible Institute. The regional title had eluded them from 2003-2018, and reclaiming the crown two years in a row was a testament to the team's tenacity and experience.
At the NCCAA National Tournament, the Sabercats achieved a feat that hadn't been done in four years at the national level: as the #8 seed, they knocked off the #1 seed in the quarterfinal round. After leading 36-8 at halftime, the Sabercats wrapped up a resounding 73-62 win over the Randall University Saints, who were vying for their fourth consecutive national title.
From there, the Sabercats would go on to finish in fourth place, and it was their best finish at the national level since 2003.
The Sabercats broke into the program record books in the following categories*^:
|Team: season||2003 pts||10th (season)|
|Team: season||1151 reb||2nd (season)|
|Team: season||42.6 reb/game||2nd (season)|
|Team: season||385 ast||7th (season)|
|Team defense: season||.393 FG %||2nd (season)|
|Jonathan Book: career||929 pts||24th (career)|
|Jonathan Book: career||344 ast||2nd (career)|
* only documented information was recorded when compiling the all-time records. If you find errors or omissions, contact email@example.com.
^ ball-control records (rebounds, assists, etc.) were tracked beginning in 2000.
NCCAA All-Region selections: Jonathan Book (1st Team), Matt Gill (Honorable Mention), David Lerma (2nd Team), Stephen Wilkerson (3rd Team)
NCCAA North Region Coach of the Year: Keith Salscheider
NCCAA All-American selections: Jonathan Book (2nd Team)
NCCAA Scholar-Athletes: Matt Gill, CJ Jones, Rob Sonnenberg
AD3I All-Independent selections: Jonathan Book, David Lerma, Stephen Wilkerson (1st Team), Aaron Sanders, Rob Sonnenberg (2nd Team)
AD3I Coach of the Year: Keith Salscheider
Jonathan Book, Matt Gill, CJ Jones, David Lerma, and Rob Sonnenberg all conclude their four-year careers this season.