Before a near-capacity crowd in D.J. Sokol Arena, the Creighton men’s and women’s basketball teams started their 2012-13 seasons with a night of dunking, scrimmages and three-point shooting festivities.
Local radio celebrity and Creighton alum, Nick Bahe, served as the master of ceremonies for the evening.
Marksmanship kicked off the evening as eight coed teams took aim for the three-point shooting contest. The first two tandems saw Josh Jonesand Sarah Nelson shoot at the north basket (6), while Taylor Stormberg and Jasmin Corbin (15) fired to the south. The third and fourth duos were Avery Dingman and McKenzie Fujan (8) versus Marissa Janning and Jahenns Manigat (9). The third quarterfinal featured Isaiah Zierden and Sammy Jensen(19) against Tessa Leytem and Ethan Wragge (13). The final pairing saw defending champions, Grant Gibbs and Jordan Garrison (9) shoot to the south, while Doug McDermott and Ally Jensen (15) fired to the north. The top four teams reached the semifinals.
McDermott and Ally Jensen took control in the semifinals with a combined 18 to advance to the final round against Zierden and Sammy Jensen (17). In the final round, senior Ally Jensen staked her team to a 10-9, but the freshman Zierden outdueled McDermott in the final 30 seconds to secure the 18-17 win for himself and Sammy Jensen.
The women’s scrimmage ensued as Garrison led the White team to a 16-12 win. Garrison led the white squad with five points, while both Nelson and Fujan chipped in five for the Blue team. Fujan provided a spirited rally for the Blue team with all five of her points in the final minute of play.
The highlight of the night followed as sophomore Will Artino battled sophomore Austin Chatman, freshman Nevin Johnson and freshman Mogboluwaga Oginni in the Creighton dunk contest.
Round one saw each contestant nail their jam, highlighted by Oginni flying over student manager Brian Totino on a chair to open the action. Round two, however, saw Artino and Chatman separate themselves with a thunderous thrown down by Artino and a tomahawk jam from Chatman.
Bahe turned to the crowd for the decision and overwhelmingly Artino and Chatman were sent to the finals for a dunk off.
Facing the 2011 dunk champion, Chatman, Artino sought the counsel of teammate, Jahenns Manigat. Propelled by Manigat’s coaching, Will ‘Big Swag’ Artino became the newest Creighton dunk champion.
The 16-minute men’s scrimmage saw the White team race out to a 12-2 lead in the opening five minutes, led by seven from senior Gregory Echenique. The Venezuelan went on to drop 12 points before heading to the bench at the seven-minute mark with the White squad leading 23-8.
Keyed by seven points from Andre Yates, the Blue team closed to within 28-23 with under a minute remaining but the White squad sealed the deal with a three-pointer from Wragge for a 31-23 win. Echenique led all scorers with 14 points, while Yates and Wragge each finished with nine.
The night concluded with the teams signing autographs for fans.
The women’s basketball team plays its lone exhibition match at home against Southwest Minnesota State on Wednesday, Oct. 31, with a 5:30 pm tip at D.J. Sokol Arena. The men play their only exhibition against Mary on Friday, Nov. 2, at CenturyLink Center Omaha. Regular-season play begins on Nov. 9 for the men against North Texas at 7:05 p.m., the following day for the women host Oklahoma at 1:30 p.m.