Three years ago, the No. 3 Georgetown men’s club basketball team (22-3, 15-3 Mid-Atlantic East) played three games in an entire year.
The program joined the National Club Basketball Association in 2015, and one year later, the team, boasting a regional championship title, is just three games away from a national championship.
“There was nothing,” senior captain Brody Garrity — who serves as the team’s unofficial head coach — said in reference to the team’s past seasons. “This club was … like, we showed up and ran some pickup at [Yates Field House] and did nothing more than that.”
Three years ago, the club basketball team played its few games tucked away on the single college-sized court in the back of Yates. This past Saturday, McDonough Gymnasium played host to the club basketball team’s shot at a regional championship.
“We’ve been pushing for McDonough for a while. We figured, you know, last home game, regional championships, what better time to play here,” senior captain Brendan Crowley said. “I’ll tell you, this was awesome —just awesome. We love Yates, but nothing beats this.”
During the team’s first game in the larger arena, the team emerged victorious against the No. 4 Drexel Dragons (15-7, 15-3 Mid-Atlantic Central) at the National Club Basketball Association’s Mid-Atlantic Championship, a best-of-three series between the two teams.
The first game saw Georgetown gain an early lead with Crowley, senior Malik Williams and sophomore Ryan Wall leading the way with a barrage of three-pointers and transition buckets. However, the Dragons mounted a rally at the end of the first half.
“We got caught a little bit with having too many slashers on the court and needing more shooters,” Garrity said. “Maybe they went on a 6-0 run to end the first half … and they came back and tied it [in the second half].”
In the second half, the Hoyas regained a small lead and began to trade baskets with the Dragons before finally breaking away around the two-minute mark, due in part to the pulsing energy of the arena, eventually winning 84-72.
“[The] crowd was great; we built momentum off that,” Garrity said. “And we were able to parlay that into the first game being a win.”
Heading into the second game, the Dragons had shown they could hang with the Hoyas’ high-powered offense. It became clear that defense would be key if Georgetown were to clinch the championship and avoid a winner-take-all third game.
This time around, the game was close throughout, with Drexel holding a narrow lead for a significant stretch of the second half. The Hoyas responded with timely adjustments, tightening their defense and embarking on an electrifying run to win the game — capturing the title of regional champion — 91-69.
“We called a timeout with about eight minutes left and set up a scheme where we wouldn’t be helping as much, and [focused on] more personal responsibility, man-to-man,” Garrity said. “We played them really tough … and they kind of got a little bit rattled with how ferocious we were playing.”
Now, the team has two weeks of rest before the National Championships in Pittsburgh: A grueling three-day, single-elimination tournament against seven of the other top teams in the country.
“For all these kids, it’s like a dream come true. It’s fantastic,” Crowley said. “We’re just happy to still be playing in April, and we’re going to go to Nationals, and who knows, maybe we’ll bring home a national title.”
Crowley and Garrity, the only seniors who have played on the team all for all four years of their time at Georgetown, have built up the program and transformed it into something much more than just some guys playing pick-up at Yates.
“Brendan [Crowley] has just been a phenomenal leader and a phenomenal presence in our organization. He’s so passionate about doing this that he’s made everybody else more serious about it,” sophomore Michael Martinez said. “We’ve always had great players … The biggest difference from last year to this year is the seriousness.”
From the team’s organization to the crowd at McDonough on Saturday, everything about the club team this season has been exciting and new in a way that it had not been before.
“It was probably the most energetic environment for a club game … that I had been to this year,” said sophomore Kennedy Maker, who was in the stands for both games.
“It kind of surprised me — the unity of Georgetown that we have — with everyone so focused on their academics and stuff, people came out and showed their support for the boys. I was glad to be a part of it,” said Evan Couture, another sophomore in the stands.
With an increased level of organization, unity and commitment to leadership, the team hopes to maintain this season’s success in the future, even after Crowley, Garrity and four other seniors graduate this year.
“It’s all about commitment, you need people who are committed,” freshman Patrick Murray said. “[The captains] were very good this year in what they wanted to do. They were good in setting it all up for the freshmen.”
Compared to playing just three games for Crowley and Garrity in their freshman years, the team has certainly turned a corner.
“Today we crossed the 25-game mark,” Crowley said after Saturday’s win. “It’s just a perfect, perfect ending. Not just for club but my college career.”
But his career, and this team’s season, is far from over, as the Blue and Gray have a chance to make history in Pittsburgh in two weeks.
“It’s just going to get better, honestly. I mean, the young guys on this team, like, freshman through juniors; it’s already loaded,” Crowley said. “We marvel [at them] every day.”
Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.