After just 1,132 games since starting as a varsity squad, the Flying Dutch basketball team has reached a historic milestone: 800 wins. They are only the seventh Division III team to do this and it took them just 45 years. After defeating Adrian, current head coach Brian Morehouse echoed an appreciation for the “coaches, players, administration, medical staff who made this all possible.” His predecessors include Cynthia Bean (72-73 to 74-75), Anne Irwin (76-77 to 78-79), Marjorie Snyder (80-81 to 83- 84), Terri MacFarland (85-86 to 88-89), Susan Wise (89-90 to 92- 93) and Tod Gugino (93-94 to 95-96).
The program had a bit of a rocky start, as no coach lasted more than five years at the helm until Morehouse took over. Before he became head coach, the program had a middle-of- the-pack 266-253, record but have since emerged as an elite program with a record of 529-83. By winning 86.4% of his games, Morehouse has helped establish a winning culture on and off the court, that has produced 11 MIAA Most Valuable Players or Defensive Players of the Year.
The message of greatness on the court has been evident this season and Saturday was no exception. The fourth-ranked Flying Dutch did not trail once against the Adrian Bulldogs and jumped out to a 25-7 lead at the end of the first quarter, after which the team did not look back and went on to outscore their opponents 84-49. This win kept them undefeated and improved their record to 5-0 overall and 2-0 against MIAA opponents.
Fans are buzzing after this win, as it displays a key improvement from the 2016-17 season in the team’s defensive prowess. The Flying Dutch held Adrian to just seven points in the first quarter, a head-turning feat that leaves fans confident in the team on both ends of the floor.
Another promising sign was the contribution seen from almost the entire team in Saturday’s game, as 40 of the team’s 84 points came from players off of the bench. Coach Morehouse said it himself: “it’s a really nice thing as a coach to feel like you can put anybody in the game.”
With a double-double from Francesca Buchanan (’19) who had 12 points and 11 rebounds, the impact of senior leadership on the team is obvious. Even Kenedy Schoonveld (’21), who had 14 points and did not miss a shot on Saturday, has attributed much of the Flying Dutch’s success to the lessons that these upperclassmen have taught, saying: “Our upperclassmen have taught us a lot and given us a lot of confidence, which has helped me go out and have confidence in myself to take the shots that I feel comfortable taking.” She must not be the only one feeling this confidence, fellow freshmen Jess Moorman and Lauren Newman contributed nine points each.
Morehouse also showed a great appreciation for Title IX and those that have sought to equalize sports across genders, saying that “Title IX laid the groundwork for what our team is now able to do and it’s our job to respect that, not only to carry on but to advance it and encourage the young girls who come to our games to be basketball players.”
This mentality has garnered massive support from fans who traveled to Adrian to witness this monumental moment for the program. When the final buzzer rang on Saturday, fans could be seen holding up homemade “800” signs to show their support.
The team looks forward to its next challenge: Great Lakes Christian College who they will face tonight at Devos Fieldhouse.