Close Calls

Close Calls

WATERTOWN, Wis. -- The 2019-20 Sabercats' Men's Basketball season finished with a number of close calls.

Not only was the team just a few minutes shy of upsetting the #1 team in the NCCAA DII at home, but they also were just seconds away from advancing to the NCCAA North Region Championship - a championship that could have been a relatively easy win - on paper, anyway - against the #6-seeded Trinity Bible College Lions. Instead, the team took a 98-88 overtime loss in the regional semifinal to Faith Baptist Bible College to end the season on a low note.

As it turned out, the Sabercats had a close call with heartbreak as well - one that they avoided.

Not going to the NCCAA DII National Tournament meant not having to travel to Joplin only to have the tournament cancelled just hours before it began. A mixed blessing? Maybe, but ask any of the student-athletes, and a regional title still would've been preferred.

All in all, the season had multiple positives: the team finished 11-13 (counting two wins against NCAA-non-countable-opponent Dayspring Bible), and boasted a 5-4 home record. They also went a perfect 5-0 in the regular season against NCCAA North Region opponents.


"It hurts to end the season the way we did," said Coach Joel Borchardt. "It really stung. Especially knowing that was the last game. I told the guys that I hope they remember the game the whole summer so it motivates them to work hard over the summer, and I've already seen guys getting in the gym in prep for next year. Failure is sometimes a good motivator to get better and hopefully it will be good for us moving forward.

"I don't think our record reflected our potential, per se, but it reflected the hard work of the guys to overcome some of the challenges during the season - we only had three returning players that had played meaningful, significant varsity minutes last year. So I think we have significant potential to be better next year now that guys understand their roles. We're definitely excited for next season and to show that we can play well and glorify God in our efforts."


Despite the disappointing ending to the season, the Sabercats still had a number of statistical achievements on a personal and team level:

Team/Individual           Mark       Record Book  
Team: Season  40.0 REB/G  4th: Season
Team: Season  29.5 DREB/G  4th: Season
Team: Season 14.6 AST/G T-3rd: Season
Team: Season 7.5 STL/G 8th: Season
Stephen Wilkerson 85.3 FT% 10th: Season
Aaron Sanders  3.6 AST/G  9th: Season
Aaron Sanders 1.7 STL/G 5th: Season

*Ball control totals (rebounds, assists, etc.) were tracked beginning in 2000.


The National Christian College Athletic Association released the NCCAA North Region selections during the weekend of the regional tournaments, and Stephen Wilkerson and Aaron Sanders were named as some of the best student-athletes in the North Region.

Wilkerson earned NCCAA North Region 1st-Team honors after leading the Sabercats on the season with 16.9 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. Both of those numbers were career-best marks for the Texan, who highlighted the season by scoring double digits in all but three games, notching eight double-doubles along the way. Wilkerson hit a career-high 34 points in a win at Moody Bible Institute and was a go-to performer all season long.

Sanders earned NCCAA North Region 3rd-Team honors and was a consistent presence all season. Sanders broke into the Maranatha program records books in steals and assists per game (above) and was one of four that started every game for MBU. Sanders chalked up 13 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game, making him a consistent producer in Sabercat colors.



With no seniors on the roster, this young team is poised for improvement next season. The stinging ending to the 2019-20 season will linger, and who knows if it will be just fuel to the fire.

A Forward Look
June 24, 2020 A Forward Look
Hosting Hopes
June 19, 2020 Hosting Hopes
Back to Business
June 17, 2020 Back to Business
Remembering History
May 21, 2020 Remembering History
June Camps Cancelled
April 22, 2020 June Camps Cancelled
High Notes
April 4, 2020 High Notes
Unfinished Business
March 28, 2020 Unfinished Business
Close Calls
March 23, 2020 Close Calls
Opening Day Letters
March 20, 2020 Opening Day Letters
Coronavirus Cancellations
March 16, 2020 Coronavirus Cancellations
Depue Makes it Two
March 16, 2020 Depue Makes it Two
Nationals Cancelled
March 12, 2020 Nationals Cancelled
Callie Highlights Honors
March 11, 2020 Callie Highlights Honors
Johnson Honored Again
March 10, 2020 Johnson Honored Again
Wilkerson Awarded
March 6, 2020 Wilkerson Awarded
Nationals Insider
March 4, 2020 Nationals Insider
First Hurdle
February 27, 2020 First Hurdle
For Three
February 26, 2020 For Three
Sizing Up the Seedings
February 19, 2020 Sizing Up the Seedings
Callie Collects
February 14, 2020 Callie Collects
Classroom Competence
February 13, 2020 Classroom Competence
Running Da Show
February 3, 2020 Running Da Show
Inside the Field
January 23, 2020 Inside the Field
Year Three
January 16, 2020 Year Three
DeLozier Steps In
January 3, 2020 DeLozier Steps In
Twice Honored
December 13, 2019 Twice Honored
Steps Forward
December 13, 2019 Steps Forward
Lofty Standards
December 13, 2019 Lofty Standards
Looking Back, Looking Ahead
December 10, 2019 Looking Back, Looking Ahead
Home Stretch
December 10, 2019 Home Stretch
Unfinished Business
December 9, 2019 Unfinished Business
Twice Around for Johnson
December 1, 2019 Twice Around for Johnson
Best of the Best
November 27, 2019 Best of the Best
Nationals Scouting Report
November 19, 2019 Nationals Scouting Report
St. Lawrence Honored
November 18, 2019 St. Lawrence Honored
Revenge Ready
November 16, 2019 Revenge Ready
The Kick
November 15, 2019 The Kick
Looking Ahead
November 11, 2019 Looking Ahead
The Best in the North
November 9, 2019 The Best in the North
Living to Fight
November 9, 2019 Living to Fight
Two of the Best
November 9, 2019 Two of the Best
Sizing up the Semis
November 7, 2019 Sizing up the Semis
Flying Fopma in Focus
November 1, 2019 Flying Fopma in Focus
Wide Open
October 29, 2019 Wide Open
Work to Do
October 29, 2019 Work to Do
Nelson Gets the Nod
October 28, 2019 Nelson Gets the Nod
In Memory of Terry Price
October 25, 2019 In Memory of Terry Price
Four For Fopma
October 21, 2019 Four For Fopma
Fopma Goes Farther
October 14, 2019 Fopma Goes Farther
Triple Trouble
October 8, 2019 Triple Trouble
Johnson at the Top
October 1, 2019 Johnson at the Top
Hansel Honored
September 30, 2019 Hansel Honored
Kinzler Collects
September 30, 2019 Kinzler Collects
Shepard Snags Award
September 23, 2019 Shepard Snags Award
NCCAA Top 10 - September 17
September 18, 2019 NCCAA Top 10 - September 17
A Nod for Johnson
September 16, 2019 A Nod for Johnson
Fopma in the Spotlight
September 10, 2019 Fopma in the Spotlight
Fresh Start
September 10, 2019 Fresh Start
Off and Running
September 5, 2019 Off and Running
Maranatha Memories
August 31, 2019 Maranatha Memories
Reynolds Rewarded
August 30, 2019 Reynolds Rewarded
Eyes on the Prize
August 28, 2019 Eyes on the Prize
Just the Facts
August 23, 2019 Just the Facts
Dual Purpose
August 6, 2019 Dual Purpose
Borchardt Takes Over
August 1, 2019 Borchardt Takes Over