By NoontimeSports.com (@NoontimeSports)
We’re t-minus three days away from the end of 2017 – let’s party!
Yet, before we officially turn the page to 2018, let’s take a look back at the year in New England Division III Basketball, beginning with the Babson College men’s basketball team, which captured its first-ever national title.
Similar to the hometown New England Patriots, the Beavers overcame a 25-point deficit in the national semifinals to defeat top-ranked Whitman, 91-85, before edging Augustana, 79-78, in the championship.
Joey Flannery netted a game-high 23 points in the final, while blocking a potential go-ahead layup by Augustana’s Nolan Ebel to secure the one-point win in Salem, Virginia.
The victory capped an exciting run by the Beavers, who closed out their 2016-17 campaign with 31-2 overall record. Babson won all six of its games in March, including a second meeting with Tufts University in NCAA Sectional Semifinals.
The Bay State also celebrated another national championship with Amherst College defeating Tufts in the women’s basketball national championship, thanks to a game-high 21 points from Ali Doswell. The win marked the third time the Mammoths has defeated the Jumbos last season – one of those victories came in the 2017 New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) championship.
Amherst concluded its 2016-17 season 33-0, and remain undefeated this season thus far – they are back in action this afternoon (Thursday, December 28th) when they face UC Santa Cruz at the D3Hoops.com Classic in Las Vegas, Nevada.
In addition to Amherst and Babson, the 2016-17 season saw some other teams enjoy exciting runs, including the UMass Dartmouth women’s basketball team, which advanced to its first-ever ‘Elite Eight’ after knocking-off La Roche (71-64), Montclair State (71-63) and SUNY New Paltz (67-57).
On the men’s side, we saw Williams College advance to the national semifinals, while Keene State advanced to sectional finals to face Babson after defeating Amherst (69-66), Ramapo (92-91) and Christopher Newport (68-64). Endicott College also made a splash in the big dance, earning a pair of victories over Nichols College and Salisbury before falling to Middlebury College in the third round. The Panthers would fall to the Ephs of Williams the following day.
Following the final whistle – or game, technically – we unveiled our Noontime Sports Teams of the Year, including our first-ever Rookie Team, too!
A few days after the Beavers captured their first-ever national title, we caught-up with their play-by-play guy – that would be John Cabral.
In addition to speaking with Cabral, we also spoke with Stephen Brennan, who guided the Beavers to an exciting championship win.
Finally, we wrapped-up our 2016-17 basketball coverage with a prediction blog post – what teams to watch or follow this season (2017-18). How are our predictions doing?
Look for more New England Division III coverage in 2018, plus some new content and podcasts, too! As always, make sure to stay connected with us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube – you can also find us on LinkedIn, too!