Unfinished Business

Unfinished Business

WATERTOWN, Wis. -- After they finished in third place in the NCCAA DII last season, the motto for the Sabercats Women's Basketball Team became "unfinished business". They printed those two emotionally charged words on their practice jerseys as a daily reminder of the goal for 2020: to get back to Nationals and not lose a game.

They took that goal seriously. By the end of the season, they had secured the regional championship and the best overall record in program history as a bonus.

They went back to Nationals.

And they didn't lose a game.

But the business is still unfinished.

After their first-round win over Champion Christian, the Sabercats were slated to take on Grace Christian for a ticket to the national championship. But the day before the semifinal, the NCCAA announced the cancellation of the rest of the tournament due to the outbreak of coronavirus. That was it. It was over.

"Coach Mo came into the lobby and all he said was, 'We're done,'" said senior Karley Johnson. "I felt so many emotions when he broke this news to us. Kels [Kelsey Johnson] and I cried for a long time. I'll never forget that day."

"I initially felt devastated and shocked," Kelsey said. "My career, the dream of winning nationals, being with my team, was all over because of one decision. I was just overwhelmed and very sad. We wanted to finish by beating our opponents, and we knew we could do it."

It was all going right for the twins and the team. Their record of 20-3 was the best winning percentage in the history of the program, and they had etched their season all over the place in the program record books. They went into Nationals with the exciting momentum of a five-game winning streak and the lingering memory of last year's semifinal loss to Arlington. They were ready to prove that they had learned their lesson. They were ready to show that this was their year.

They'll never know if it was.

"Hearing news like that... you just can't put it into words - it's so unprecedented," said Coach Clayton Morrison. "As soon as I told [Assistant Coach Clayton Morrison IV], his first words were, 'How do we break it to the seniors?' As soon as we shared it with the team, the news crushed them. Hearing that they had already played in their final minutes and they were being deprived of the emotional excitement which leads up to your final game, their dream could no longer become reality. They wouldn't play another game.

"There were four teams left. Each team believed it was their year to win the championship, and rightfully so. Unfortunately, no one will ever know how those final games would have ended. We're all left wondering what would have happened."

--

The Sabercats were just one of three teams in the NCCAA DII that went undefeated in NCCAA play on the season, and they boasted the best defense in the country. Their home record was 10-1 and they highlighted an already-outstanding season with an eight-game winning streak in the middle of the season.

This group was something special, climbing into the single-season record books some 18 times on both a team and an individual level:

Team: Season     Mark  Rank: Season 
Overall Record 20-3 1st
Scoring Margin  +15.1 PPG  1st
REB Margin +9.5 RPG 1st
AST/Game 15.2 T-1st
STL/Game 13.2 2nd
PTS/Game 67.3 3rd
FG% 40.5% 3rd
Scoring Defense 52.2 PPG 3rd
REB/Game 40.6 8th
FT% 65.3 8th
3-PT% 27.8 9th

::

Individual: Season     Category Mark Rank
Callie Morrison AST/Game 5.0  T-1st 
Callie Morrison 3-PT%  37.5%  3rd
Callie Morrison AST 116 5th
Kelsey Johnson  REB/Game  9.6 T-5th
Callie Morrison FG% 46.1% 8th
Callie Morrison STL/Game 3.0 T-8th
Callie Morrison STL 69 10th

::

Seniors Karley and Kelsey Johnson were exceptional, combining for 18 career top-10 entries of their own:

Individual: Career     Category     Mark    Rank
 Kelsey REB/Game 8.4 T-2nd
 Kelsey REB 828 3rd
Karley STL 205 3rd
 Kelsey STL 201 4th
 Kelsey AST 257 4th
 Kelsey AST/Game 2.7 4th
 Kelsey PTS 1,360 5th
 Kelsey BLK 50 5th
Karley STL/G 2.3  T-5th 
Karley AST 203 6th
 Kelsey  PTS/Game  13.9 6th
 Kelsey FG% 44.2 6th
 Kelsey 3PT% 31.1 6th
Karley FG% 43.6 7th
Karley AST/Game 2.3 7th
 Kelsey STL/Game 2.1 7th
Karley REB 606 8th
Karley REB/Game 6.9 8th

::

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

AWARDS

The National Christian College Athletic Association released the NCCAA North Region selections during the weekend of the regional tournaments, and the All-America selections at the National Tournament. Callie and Coach Mo highlighted the selections:

Name                               Award           
Clayton Morrison   North Region Coach of the Year   
Callie Morrison North Region 1st Team
Callie Morrison NCCAA All-America 1st Team
Karley Johnson North Region 2nd Team
Kelsey Johnson North Region 2nd Team

--  

Kelsey Johnson made Maranatha history by becoming the first Maranatha student-athlete to earn the NCCAA Game Plan 4 LIFE Character Award twice in the same season. Kelsey earned the award for Sabercats Women's Volleyball and followed it up with the selection for Women's Basketball. The award is given based on the student-athlete's leadership ability, playing skill, and Christlike character qualities like Love, Integrity, Faith, and Excellence.

OUTLOOK

Losing three seniors will be something the team will have to work hard to counter next season. But with the ending of the last two seasons in mind, one thing is sure: next year's motto remains "unfinished business".

"[The team] finished with excellence both on and off the court," Coach Mo added. "When they heard the news, they quickly realized there was a bigger need at that time than themselves. The focus of the underclassman immediately turned towards the seniors. As the coach, I could not have been more proud of our team. We had a special year, the chemistry and genuine friendship amongst every team member grew as the season progressed. Here at this moment, they displayed the character and sense of family that went far beyond the game itself. As their coaching staff, loved ones, and Maranatha family, we say 'well done, team.'" 

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
Reclaim the Fame
November 16, 2019 Reclaim the Fame
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