Hampden-Sydney makes national title game. Who will they play?

Published 12:17 am Friday, March 15, 2024

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When we talked to Hampden-Sydney players during the regular season, they had a couple goals. The first was to win the Old Dominion Athletic Conference Tournament. That’s happened. The second was to earn a spot in the NCAA D3 Tournament, which they did by winning the ODAC. And the third was to have a shot at winning a national title. They’ll get that opportunity on Saturday, after beating No. 7 Guilford College 62-57 in the Final Four. 

“We have one goal in mind and that’s to win championships,” senior forward Davidson Hubbard told The Herald earlier this year. And Hubbard backed up those words Thursday night, scoring 11 of his 16 points over the last 5:36 of the game to help Hampden-Sydney advance. He got help from sophomore Shane Fernald and fifth-year player Ryan Clements, who both finished with 10 points for the Tigers. Clements filled up the stat sheet, adding eight rebounds, three assists and three steals. Fernald added five rebounds and five assists. 

Thursday’s matchup was a battle all the way through, with the Tigers trailing 30-29 at halftime and still losing 47-40 with less than seven minutes left. That’s when Hubbard and the rest of the seniors took control, outsourcing the Quakers 22-10 over the last six minutes. The Tigers limited Guilford to 33% shooting on the night, while hitting 42% of their own shots. 

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“What a battle tonight,” said Hampden-Sydney Head Coach Caleb Kimbrough. “Our guys were their best when their best was needed and came up with several huge plays down the stretch. We stayed together, stayed tough, and our grit showed. Proud of these guys, proud of this team, but we are not done yet.”

Let’s talk about the title game opponent

Hampden-Sydney will take on Trine Saturday, March 16, beginning at 4 p.m. in Fort Wayne’s Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. What do we know about their opponent? Well, after beating No. 3 Trinity 66-54 on Thursday, Trine comes into the game at 28-4 on the season. Trine also comes in as basically a home team in the title game, as they’re located just 35 miles northeast of Fort Wayne. 

It’s been a tale of two months for the Thunder. After losing three times in February, Trine came to life in March, currently riding a five-game winning streak that includes victories against No. 25 Coe, No. 11 Wisconsin-Platteville and No. 3 Trinity on Thursday night. 

The Thunder are led by a trio of Emmanuel Megnanglo, Fred and Cortez Garland. The 6’8 ft. Megnanglo, who comes from Amelia Academy High School here in Virginia, averages 7.1 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game. Of the Garland brothers, 6 ft. senior guard Cortez averages 16 points per game, while 6’2 ft. junior guard Fred averages 13.9 points. 

Hampden-Sydney making history 

This is just the second National Championship appearance in program history for Hampden-Sydney. The Tigers finished as national runner-up in 1999. With Thursday’s win, Hampden-Sydney improves to 31-2 on the year, the most wins in a season for the team. And one more game awaits on Saturday.