Tigers head to Final Four

Published 9:30 am Tuesday, March 12, 2024

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He walked into the postgame press conference still holding on to the net. For Josiah Hardy and some of the Hampden-Sydney Tigers, Saturday’s win was just a bit different. They picked up the 68-60 win over No. 19 Nebraska Wesleyan and punched their ticket to the NCAA D3 Final Four. But beyond that, for Hardy and the other seniors, it was the fulfillment of a promise. 

“It’s awesome, last game in Kirby, winning and we get to cut down the nets,” Hardy said, still holding on to part of the net during his postgame press conference. “I was talking to some of the other seniors just now. You know, when we came in freshman year, we knew what we wanted to do. Now we’re doing it.” 

And it’s important to the Ashburn native to meet those goals, as he’s been connected with the school even before he first suited up as a Tiger. Hardy started getting recruited in his junior year of high school, invited to this place called Hampden-Sydney that he knew nothing about. As he told us earlier this year, Hardy “saw how this is a brotherhood that extends beyond college.” And it convinced him to come play, along with several others, to suit up for a team that was just 14-13 in the season before he came. 

Now, those seniors are playing a major role in pushing Hampden-Sydney further than the school’s been in years. With Saturday’s win, the Tigers stand 30-2 on the year. That’s a new record for most wins in a season. They’re now headed to their third Final Four in school history and the first since 2003. 


The senior class has led the way throughout this NCAA Tournament, with a different player taking center stage each night. On Friday night, it was Hardy leading the way with a career-high 20 points. In the games before that, it was Ryan Clements and Davidson Hubbard putting up points. For Saturday’s Elite Eight game, however, a different upperclassman led the team in scoring. Adam Brazil had 22 to lead the Tigers and afterward, he just credited teammates who kept telling him to shoot more. 

“Really it was the confidence my teammates instilled in me before the game,” Brazil said. 

Then as the game started, he kept being told his shot looked good and to keep going. 

“And I said, you know what, you’re right,” Brazil said. “Maybe I’ll shoot a few.” 

The senior team captain is often described as the Tigers’ ‘Swiss Army knife’ by Coach Caleb Kimbrough because of his leadership and his ability to do everything on the court. This tournament has also marked a special milestone for the Davidson, North Carolina native, as he crossed the 1,000-point mark, joining fellow Tiger Davidson Hubbard in that group. 

But for the senior guard, one key thing he took away from Saturday’s game was how much he’s enjoyed playing in Kirby, as that marked his last 

“The energy is just unmatched at Kirby,” Brazil said in the postgame press conference. “It’s always fun to play (here).” 


Several times this year, when we’ve talked with players and Coach Kimbrough about being in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC), they’ve labeled it as the top conference in Division 3. Everyone says they experience so much, see so many different styles of play and types of coaching, it prepares a team to take on anybody else. Now two of the ODAC’s best will be facing off in the NCAA D3 Final Four. 

Hampden-Sydney will travel to the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Indiana, to take on No. 7 Guilford College. 

It’s a bit of a revenge game for the Tigers, as Guilford is one of only two teams to beat them this season. Hampden-Sydney went on the road to Greensboro and lost 80-71. Guilford is also the alma mater of Kimbrough, who played four years and then coached six years with the Quakers – all under his mentor Tom Palombo, who he’ll face again in Fort Wayne. Guilford secured their own Final Four seat with a 50-48 win over No. 23 Christopher Newport on Saturday in Greensboro. 

“Our mentality won’t change, our preparation won’t change,” Kimbrough said in the postgame press conference. “We’re gonna try to do us a little bit better than they do them.” 


But back to those goals Josiah Hardy mentioned before. He and the rest of the seniors had a couple they laid out as freshmen. The first was to win a conference championship. They did that by dominating the ODAC Conference Tournament last month. They wanted to make the NCAA Tournament again, which they did by winning the conference. There’s just one goal left. They made a goal to win a national championship. 

“We’re still not done,” Hardy said. 

Hampden-Sydney will play Guilford on Thursday, March 14, beginning at 5:30 p.m. We’ll post links on our website as to how people can watch the game.