Last season, Jordan Spaschak of the Westmont men’s basketball team played in all 29 games, starting in 28 of them. He did what he could for the Warriors, averaging 5.5 points per game, 4.2 assists per game and 3.5 rebounds per game.
Then, in the offseason, the senior met with some doctors.
“I’ve had five knee surgeries and after meeting with those doctors, it was evident that I shouldn’t be playing basketball anymore,” Spaschek said.
“It was a hard decision but Coach Moore met me with a lot of understanding and compassion and grace and I just looked forward to helping these guys in any way I can.”
Thursday night at Murchison Gymnasium on Senior Night, Spaschek helped Westmont out on the floor for one final time.
The senior guard scored four points, pulled down five boards, earned two steals and had a game-high nine assists, as the Warriors used a big second half to defeat San Diego Christian 91-74.
With the win, Westmont (26-3, 15-2) clinched an outright Golden State Athletic Conference title, it’s first since 2013 and only the second regular-season championship since the turn of the century.
“Any time you have a chance to play for Coach Moore, you gotta love it, and then the cherry on top was getting to play with these guys,” Spaschek said.
“They are just a great group of guys who can shoot the heck out of it and are willing to play for one another.”
After being told last season that he wouldn’t be able to play, Spaschek said he was hurt, but not shocked.
“It was tough to look at the X-rays and see what was going on with my knee. Yet, at the same time, it wasn’t anything my body hadn’t been screaming at me all last year,” Spaschek said.
Despite the news, Spaschek knew he wanted to stay apart of the program and helped out with the team-building aspect, something he credits for the team’s success this year.
The idea for Spaschek playing one game came early in the season and was an idea presented by Moore. Humble as they come, Spaschek was unsure if he would want to play saying, “I really don’t want to play now because we’re in such a rhythm and each game matters so much.”
However, as injuries presented themselves, such as Cade Roth and Hunter Sipe who were both inactive, Spaschek thought he could help one more time.
In total, Spaschek played 27 minutes and said the experience is “something I will cherish for the rest of my life.”
Last year, Spaschek didn’t know his last minute of basketball was probably going to be the last of his career. This time around the senior knew as Moore checked him out with a bit over three minutes left to a standing ovation.
“I’m grateful that I got to share with this group of guys. There’s not a better group of guys and it warmed my heart,” Spaschek said.
His coach only spoke highly of Spaschek as well.
“He is one of the finest leaders of men I’ve ever been around, no matter what age,” Moore said. “We won the game because Jordan was stable and poised and had great composure and led.”
Before the game, Spaschek was a bit emotional as the PA announcer read what Moore wrote about him, but one thing stood out, tall above the rest.
“In the end, he said, ‘I love you’ and I’ve known coach Moore has loved me, he didn’t need to say it,” Spaschek said.
“But just to hear that from a man, who outside of my mama, I don’t look up to anyone any more than him. I definitely got emotional and gave him a hug, but as soon as the ball was tipped, I let that pass and focused.”
The Warriors were not too sharp in the first half against the Hawks, however, as nine turnovers helped San Diego Christian stay close with the halftime score being 42-33 in favor of Westmont.
To start the second half, the Warriors were on fire, as they used a 23-7 run within the first six and a half minutes to lead 65-40. From there, Westmont just stayed in front and cruised to a 17-point win.
Senior Justin Bessard, in his final regular-season home game, led all scorers with 25 points and he also added nine rebounds.
“I just wanted to have fun. That was the main thing about it and you know what we came out here and did that. I got to play for the first time, my brother Jordan Spaschek and this what he does. I’m sad that he couldn’t be with us all year, he could’ve done that every game,” Bessard said.
The senior forward was extremely thankful after the game for the opportunity given to him.
“It’s been a road to get to this point. I’ve been to a lot of different schools and this one’s really treating me like a family,” Bessard said.
With the win, Westmont will host the GSAC tournament and will play on Friday at 7:45 p.m. after it plays its season finale at Hope International on Saturday.
“This is what we’ve been looking forward to all year. Our goals have been to win championships. The GSAC regular season, the GSAC tournament and the NAIA tournament. We got the first one done and now we have to keep going,” Bessard said.