Number one ranked Men’s Basketball off to fast start
BY EMMANUEL BATES
The Schoolcraft Men’s Basketball team dominates the pre-season poll rankings for the National Junior College Athletics Association (NJCAA) at number one, and the men have definitely proven their positions on the court.
The Ocelots are currently sitting in first place in the Michigan Community College Athletics Association (MCCAA) standings at 3-0 (the only undefeated team in the conference) with wins over Jackson Community College (92-62), Grand Rapids Community College (87-66) and Lorain County Community College (82-61) as of publication date.
The Ocelots headed to Elyria, Ohio on Nov. 8 to take on Lorain County Community College. Both teams played strong in the first half ending with the Ocelots on top by three points, 35-32. Sophomore guard Ja’Christian Biles lead the team in points with nine, followed by sophomore forward Anthony Wartley-Fritz with eight points and six rebounds. As the Ocelots returned for the second half, they played hard on both ends of the court, forcing Lorain to work even harder. Sophomore guard Tyler Johnson sank in 14 points, 12 of which were three-point jump shots. Biles also put one to the net with a dunk with 14:34 minutes left in the half, giving the Ocelots a ten-point lead.
“We knew what we were capable of doing,” said Biles. “The second half was just the time to prove it.”
The Ocelots finished off Lorain with a 21point victory, 82-61.
Just one-day prior on Nov. 7, the men welcomed Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) to the court. The Ocelots brought a taste of their confidence taking a big win over GRCC with another 21-point victory, 87-66.
Johnson and Fritz each put in ten points, as Fritz also had eight rebounds. Sophomore guard Tyron Hamby showed his skills making one of three three-point attempts, and sinking four of seven field goal attempts, adding ten to the scoreboard in the second half.
“I think it’s a good start to the season, the guys came out with a lot of energy and played very well defensively throughout most of the game. [We] had a few let downs, but it is to be expected this early in the year,” said head coach Abe Mashhour.
The Ocelots began their 2015-16 season at home against Jackson Community College on Nov. 4. Schoolcraft dominated with their home court advantage in a win that set the pace for the season. Hamby went 10-14 in field goal attempts, sank in an impressive 25 points and had ten rebounds in the victory over Jackson College. Black also racked up 17 points and nine assists for a 30-point lead victory against the Jets, 92-62.
The Ocelots have the magic touch to continue into the season with more triumph. With double digit victories in their past three games, they plan to keep the momentum going through the rest of the first half of the season. The team will travel to Ohio to face Owens Community College on Nov. 21 and Lansing Community College on Dec. 2 before returning home to face Owens on Dec. 5 for a 7:30 p.m. tip off.
“It’s going to be fun to see what we do the rest of the season,” said freshman center R.J. Coil. For more information about schedules, stats and roster visit MCCAA. org.