Loyola graduate and Grinnell College senior basketball player Griffin Boehm enjoying best season of career: Griffin Boehm’s experience in college is different than the one he had in high school, and that’s a good thing.

For one, less than 10,000 people live in Grinnell, Iowa, a population roughly three times smaller than Wilmette. Second, the Pioneers basketball team employs a system that is in stark contrast to that of the Ramblers.

In part, that’s why Boehm (Class of 2015) decided to enroll at Grinnell, located between Des Moines and Iowa City.

“It was important to me to take a road less traveled,” he said. “The college is in a rural town, and it’s a desolate setting. But it’s been refreshing.”

As for the basketball, the Pioneers play a seemingly chaotic style, both on offense and defense. They score an average of 121.5 points a game and allow 105.2. They try to substitute all five players every minute. In 2012, Jack Taylor scored 138 points, an NCAA record for most points in a single game. His 109 points in a 2013 game ranks third on the all-time list.

“It took a lot of time to get acclimated to how we play,” said Boehm, a 6-foot-5 forward.

Upon closer examination, the principles aren’t that much different to those adhered to at Loyola, according to Boehm.

“It’s more organized than people think,” he said. “Each player has a role. I’m more of a defensive player and an offensive rebounder, which is a huge focal point of ours.”

Boehm has played in all 15 games and started four. He averages 9.9 minutes a game and is tied for second on the Pioneers with 33 offensive rebounds. The player he’s tied with averages 13.5 minutes a game, and the team leader in steals with 35 averages 16.6 minutes.

“I play hard and bring energy,” Boehm said. “Effort is something that is transferable, no matter where you play.”

After beating Lawrence University 135-104 at home Saturday, Grinnell entered the week 11-4 and second in the Midwest Conference at 7-2. St. Norbert College leads the league at 9-0. The Pioneers are looking for their first regular-season conference championship since 2009 and first outright league title since 2001. Grinnell last qualified for the NCAA Division III tournament in 2001.

“It’s exciting to be competing in meaningful games down the stretch, especially as a senior,” Boehm said.

As a junior at Loyola, Boehm was instrumental in the team’s 2014 Class 4A sectional title, the program’s first since 2006.

A two-time selection to the Midwest Conference’s academic all-conference team, Boehm is majoring in history with plans to earn a law degree or Ph.D. Before furthering his education, he said he most likely will apply for jobs in the Chicago area after graduating.

“It’s been an interesting and fun ride, and it’s gone by incredibly quickly,” Boehm said. “I’ve learned a lot about myself, on and off the court. I’ve valued all of the different experiences.”

Swimmers Olivia Andrew, Ella Tierney finding their way in college: After making history at Loyola, the Class of 2017 graduates are competing for two of the country’s best programs. Andrew is a sophomore at UCLA, and Tierney is a sophomore at University of Texas, the No. 1-ranked team by the College Swimming & Diving Coaches Association of America.

In the Longhorns’ first meet of the new year Thursday, Tierney swam in three events — 200-yard freestyle, 500-yard freestyle, 400-yard freestyle relay — as Texas earned a win over No. 17 Auburn on the road.

Andrew opened 2019 with successful swims. In the Bruins’ wins over Harvard and San Diego on Jan. 7 at home, she posted top times in both the 100 and 200 freestyle. She also swam on the 200 medley and 400 free relays.

At Loyola, Andrew and Tierney were integral in the program’s first state title in 2014. As seniors, they helped the Ramblers to a runner-up finish at the state meet. Between the two, they collected 25 state medals. They teamed up to finish first in the 400 free relay as sophomores.

Tierney won a state title in the 500 free and took second in the 200 free as a senior. That same season, Andrew placed second in the 100 butterfly and sixth in the 200 free.

Photo credit: Grinnell College Sports Information