It was a bittersweet ending for the William Penn men’s basketball team on Tuesday, as the best season in school history came to an end in the NAIA Division II national championship game in Point Lookout, Mo.
The top-seeded Statesmen, coached by Newton native John Henry, fell to No. 2-seeded Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) by a final of 73-59. William Penn carried a 20-game win streak into Tuesday, and finished with a 34-2 record.
Brandon Beasley led the Statesmen, and all scorers, with 23 points and added eight rebounds. Keith Steffeck was the only other William Penn player in double figures, however, scoring 12. Cardinal Stritch had four players in double figures, led by Darren Moore with 21.
Cardinal Stritch took a minor 39-36 lead into halftime, but went into lockdown mode in the second to outscore the Statesmen 34-23 in the second to cruise to the victory.
A “Welcome Home” celebration is planned for the team on Thursday at 11:15 a.m. in William Penn University Gymnasium. Fans will also be able to line the town’s square at 3:30 p.m. today to welcome the team as it arrives back from Missouri.