Men’s Basketball advances to quarterfinals in National Tournament
By James Paxson, Sports Editor
The Schoolcraft Men’s basketball team opened the first round of the NJCAA Division II National Championship against the Cecil Community College Seahawks in Dansville, Illinois on March 16 with a 14-point win, 96-82. Schoolcraft is riding a 14 game winning streak, with their last loss coming on Jan. 16.
“We plan to stick together and go as far as we can in the tournament this year,” said Tyler Johnson sophomore guard.
The game started off evenly paced with neither team taking a commanding lead until around the eight minute mark when Schoolcraft’s offense started to click. With 12:37 left to play the Ocleots took a ten-point lead over the Seahawks and held onto a double-digit lead until the end of the first half ensuring that Cecil gained no momentum. At the end of the first half, Schoolcraft led 50-43.
The sophomore and freshmen duo of guards DeShawdre Black and Bryon Collins were the difference makers for Schoolcraft. Both made big plays throughout the first half at crucial times keeping the Ocelots ahead. Cecil continued to foul Collins and Black and both continued to be perfect from the line.
Cecil pressed hard at the start of the second half bringing the score within five points at the 16:02 mark but Schoolcraft kept their composure. The Ocelots sank four three pointers in the first ten minutes of the second half being up by 13 points at the ten minute mark of the second half.
“We won the game with offense and defense, but more with offense. We were hitting a lot of tough shots.” said sophomore guard Ja’Christian Biles.
The Ocelots had multiple players that contributed ten or more points during the game including guard Ja’Chrisitian Biles (22), forward Davon Taylor (19), and guard DeShawndre Black with 12. With the win, Schoolcraft moves on to the quarterfinals to be played on March 17.
“Here at the tournament the pressure is on and teams know there is a need to win,” said Coach Mashhour.
For up to date scores, team schedule and game stats go to the National Junior College Athletic Association website at www.njcaa.org.
Overtime victory against Macomb punches ticket to Nationals
The game that punched the Ocelots ticket to the National Tournament didn’t come easy for the Ocelots on March 5 at the NJCAA District 10 Men’s Basketball Championship held at University Center, Michigan. Macomb Community College was looking to steal the Ocelots hopes of making a second straight National tournament appearance and had a double-digit lead at halftime with a score of 43-27. If the Ocelots wanted to keep their post-season hopes alive they would have to enter the second half and take control.
Guards Tyler Johnson and DeShawdre Black led the scoring for the Ocelots most of the second half. Down by two with 20 seconds to go, sophomore forward Davon Taylor made the game tying layup with a big play extending the game to overtime with a score of 74-74.
Black made the final two free throws and helped the Ocelots win the game in overtime 89-85. Black Ja’Christian Biles led the team with 20 points and Davon Taylor had 19.
The win sent the Ocelots to the National Tournament for the second consecutive year.