Dempsey Lajoie

NORTH ANDOVER, MA- Throughout highs and lows of their seasons the Merrimack Men’s Basketball team has clinched a spot in the NEC Championship game, for the second year in a row. Tip off will be Tuesday March 12, at 7 pm in Lawler Arena vs. the Seahawks of Wagner College. 

CCSU’s loss to the Seahawks was a huge upset in the NEC tournament, but was in favor of the Warriors. With this outcome and being a higher seed the Warriors have the home court advantage – largely due to the fact the first match up with the Seahawks was held in Hammel Court.  

The Warriors are the NEC Regular Season Champions for the second year in a row; this year sharing the title with CCSU. Head Coach Joe Gallo says “It feels great. That was our third regular season championship in 5 years. I always preach to the guys that the regular season championship is really who you are as a program. You have to constantly show up for 16 games with sustained effort. That is not easy to do.” Which the Warriors have surely done this season. 

Coach Gallo said that splitting with the Seahawks “Does not make him worried at all. They are a good team and a program we have a lot of respect for. I think when you get to 1 final game you can throw the previous records out the window.”

In preparation for this game the Warriors are going into it treating it like any other game; We really have not changed our approach one bit. We are a pretty routine program and our Mondays, Tuesdays, etc.. all look the same regardless of the opponent or circumstances. We are just treating it like the next game and as always, we prepare to win every game, Coach Gallo said.

Sophomore guard Jordan Derkack said similarly to Coach Gallo that “We do our best to stay on track and play one game at a time and we know playing anyone in the conference is a grind. From the days leading up to preparing to the actual gameplay on the court, it’s all a grind. Our coaches do a great job helping us prepare for the game with scouting and understanding tendencies.” 

Winning this game means so much to the Merrimack community and our program Coach Gallo said. Alongside him 5 year veteran; and key player off the bench Jordan McKoy says “Winning this game would mean everything to me, being here for 5 years and experiencing it all; this would be by far the best moment. I’m ecstatic at the opportunity to make more history at this school. Derkack says “Everyone deserves this from the players on the court, to the students on campus, but our coaches truly deserve everything that comes their way. I’m super excited to play in a game of this magnitude at home in front of our fans and excited because we know what a win would mean to this school and program. 

With Lawler Arena being sold out within hours on Monday March 11, we know it is going to be a packed house. In the Warriors we trust; our players, coaches and supporters.

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