Mens Basketball, ranked No. 1, wins thirteenth straight
BY NICK MISIAK
In the latest National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II polls released on Tuesday, Feb. 17, the Schoolcraft Mens Basketball team was ranked first in the country, and with their 79-71 victory over Mott Community College on Wednesday, Feb. 18, the Ocelots also clinched the top seed and a first round bye in the NJCAA District 10 tournament.
Freshman guard Ronald Booth scored 23 points for the Ocelots, who were a remarkable 18-18 from the free throw line. Sophomore forward Javon Thomas added 13 points, eight rebounds, four steals, two assists and two blocks, while freshman guard Tyler Johnson made two clutch free throws and gathered a huge defensive rebound late for the Ocelots to seal the victory.
Freshman guard Rod Milton led the Bears offensively, scoring 14 points in 32 minutes off of the bench. Mott freshman guard Malik Young played all 40 minutes, totaling 12 points, six assists, three rebounds and a steal.
Schoolcraft faced a scare early on, falling behind by four and trailing the Bears most of the first half. Thomas’ layup with 1:03 left in the half tied the game at 33-33, but a lapse of defense in the final minute and a buzzer-beating layup from Mott’s Young gave the Bears a 39-33 halftime lead.
Schoolcraft roared out of the gates to begin the second half though and took a 43-42 lead just over three minutes into the half, after Johnson drained a three-pointer. The lead volleyed back and forth until the Ocelots locked down defensively and began to pull away from the Bears. Booth completed a three point play with 1:54 left remaining in the game, and his two free throws with 33 seconds remaining iced the game for good.
VALENTINE’S DAY MASSACRE
Freshman forward Ja’Christian Biles made five of his nine three point shots en route to a game high 25 points on Feb. 14, as Schoolcraft continued their winning streak, rolling over Henry Ford Community College 85-60.
Freshman forward Anthony Wartley-Fritz scored a season high 15 points and snatched eight boards, while freshman guard Ronald Booth put together a solid stat line of 12 points, six rebounds and five assists.
Freshman guard Dalton Aaron led the Hawks with 24 points, and sophomore guard Lloyd Harris scored 18 points off the bench.
The Ocelots jumped out to an early 11-0 lead in the first four minutes of the game and did not look back. The closest Henry Ford came within tying Schoolcraft was within six points.
Schoolcraft carried momentum throughout the first half, and a last second dunk by Biles off of a pass from freshman guard De’Shawndre Black gave the Ocelots a 48-31 lead at the half.
“I thought all of our guys played well today. The last time we played this team, the game turned into a shootout, so today it was nice to see us step up defensively and control the flow of the game,” said head coach Abe Mashhour.
OCELOTS PULL OUT WIN OVER OCC
Sophomore guard Tyler Johnson’s late free throws contributed to his team high 18 points in an impressive 88-82 victory over Oakland Community College on Feb. 11.
The Ocelots all produced offensively, as seven Schoolcraft players (Johnson, Javan Thomas (14), Marcus Williams (13), Anthony Wartley-Fritz (9), Ronald Booth (9), De’Shawndre Balck (9) and Davon Taylor (9)) scored nine points or more.
Five Raiders players scored in double figures, but Oakland could not come back from a ten-point deficit with 2:26 remaining in the game. Freshman forward Trevon Bentley had 14 points and nine rebounds to go along with two assists and two steals. Freshman guard Brandon Robinson and sophomore forward William Abbott both had 13 points for the Raiders as well.
Schoolcraft will have its final home game on Monday, Feb. 23, when the Ocelots host Delta Community College at 7:30 p.m. before closing out the season on Wednesday, Feb. 25, at St. Clair County Community College.