Just one more time.
With the sweet, soothing sound of Daft Punk's "One more time" playing over the Ban Johnson Arena speakers, the net was cut down by the No. 18-ranked Marietta College men's basketball team Saturday after it defeated Heidelberg University, 73-61, to secure the program's first Ohio Athletic Conference regular season title in 36 years.
"It was a long time coming and to be able to win it on our home court and be able to celebrate it here a little bit, it's worth everything to us now," said fourth-year MC head coach Jon VanderWal.
Waiting patiently, each of the Pioneer players, coaches and support staff took turns strolling to the stepladder under the basket, climbing the rungs, and then removing a string of the net with a pair of scissors.
Each was cheered and applauded by many of the 1,596 fans still in attendance to witness the ceremony.
"Actually, I think it was the crowd that pulled us through today," said MC junior standout Kevin Knab, whose game-high 21 points put him over the 1,000 career points mark. "It was electric in here."
Anthony Gholson, even though he was in the visitor's locker room at the time of Marietta's postgame celebration on the court, would probably be inclined to agree with that "electric" statement.
"I love the atmosphere down here," said the Heideberg University head coach before heading back to Tiffin. "The kids are great. All the fans and atmosphere...that's what OAC basketball should be about."
"I think the fans were a big factor; they were very classy and showed a lot of character," Gholson continued. "Our guys like the environment. I would love to come back down here, because it would be the OAC championship game if we did."
One more time?
Well...Heidelberg would indeed be a worthy and dangerous opponent for Marietta College. The Student Princes (10-13, 8-8) after all are one of two schools to pin a loss on the Pioneers (21-2 overall 14-2 OAC) this season. The other is the Capital University Crusaders, who are up next for MC on Wednesday.
"We knew it wasn't going to be easy," said VanderWal of the Heidelberg game. "They posed problems for us. They're really athletic and we really didn't shoot the ball well today (36.7 percent) - and that's kind of what happened up there (Tiffin) the first time. But their pressure and intensity did that to us."
Even so, the Berg still had no answer for Knab in the low blocks.
"They really didn't," VanderWal said. "We stressed all week that we wanted to give (Knab) the ball as much as possible.
"I was actually disappointed in our perimeter players. Heidelberg's pressure made us make some decisions that I really didn't like. But we got it to Kevin just enough."
One more time - with feeling?
Ah, last but certainly not least, the nattily dressed and wet (yes, he got doused a little bit in the lockerroom) VanderWal with a huge grin on his face approached the stepladder to the music of Sister Sledge's "We are family" and not "One more time." Removing the remainder of the basketball net, the coach then turned and tossed it playfully to the players, who have made this moment in time so magical and memorable.
"It was just a special day for Marietta basketball," VanderWal said.
Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor and can be reached at 376-5441 or at firstname.lastname@example.org