Men’s basketball continues to stay on top with 6-1 record
BY EMMANUEL BATES & NATALIE SHIRVANIAN
STAFF WRITER & SPORTS EDITOR
The Schoolcraft Men’s Basketball team remains on top in the Michigan Community College Athletics Association (MCCAA) and continues to be ranked number one in the country in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II Men’s Basketball pre-season poll. Through six games the team has captured victories over Jackson CC (92-62), Grand Rapids CC (87-66), Lorain County CC (82-61), Lake Michigan College (101-61), Cuyahoga Community College (82-68) and the latest victory coming off a double-digit win over Owens Community College (117- 83).
On Nov. 21, the Ocelots traveled to Toledo, Ohio to match up against rival Owens. Schoolcraft shot an impressive 61.8 percent in field goals in the first half, leading by 11 points at the end of the half and followed up with 60.9 percent field goal shooting in the second. Sophomore guard and captain Ja’Christian Biles went 12-17 in field goal shooting and 8-13 from the three-point territory. Freshmen center R.J Coil lead the team in rebounds with 11 grabs and shot 5-9 from field-goal range, followed by sophomore forward Davon Taylor who had seven rebounds and went 8-12 from field-goal range.
The domination taken over by Schoolcraft against Owens came to show their biggest game of the season. With a win of 117-83, both teams played hard in the first half, while the Ocelots had a 11 point lead over Owens, 55-44.
“Ja’Christian played really well with 32 point six steals and six rebounds; also, RJ played his best game so far killing it on the glass and making hustle plays which was key going in the game,” said Taylor.
Two minutes into the game, Biles went hard with a steal from Owen’s Derrick Jamerson, Jr. scoring with a dunk for the Ocelots. Schoolcraft scored four three-pointers in the first half by Biles with two, sophomore guard Dre Black and sophomore guard Tyler Johnson
Heading into the second half, the Ocelots were prepared to not only take another victory, but also to take the court by fire. Taylor put ten on the board for the Ocelots, followed by Biles with eight.
With 19 seconds to the end of the game, freshman Dwayne Chastain, Jr. completed a three, and also had four assists in the second half.
“When we look at ourselves in the mirror, we see ourselves, those are the only people that can beat us. Being the number one team in the country puts a chip on our shoulder, but others might not see it like that,” said Chastain, Jr.
Go hard in the paint
On Nov. 14, the Ocelots hosted Cuyahoga. In the first half, the score was tied 31-31 with Schoolcraft shooting 34.4 percent from field goal range, and Cuyahoga shooting 44.4 percent. Sophomore forward Anthony Wartley-Fritz and Biles tied in rebounds with nine; Biles went 7-18 from field goal range and 5-12 from three-point territory and Wartley-Fritz went 4-9 from field goal range.
“We figured out we can still win games even when we’re not playing well. Our lack of focus and energy hurt us, but our depth proved to be critical, as some of our reserves stepped up in critical situations” said head coach Abe Mashhour, relaying how the Ocelot’s bench scored 21 points.
Jumping into the second half, the Ocelots put up an impressive 51 points, helping towards the win over Cuyahoga 82-68.
The Ocelots are playing disciplined and focused basketball. One can expect great things from them as they finish off the first half of the season and enter the second half come January. Schoolcraft returned to the court on Dec. 2 at Lansing Community College 90- 80 (LCC) and on Dec. 5 at home, hosting Owens (recaps online). For more information about schedules, stats and rosters, visit MCCAA.org.