Flyers 'Dream Big'
The Sandhills big men won more than their share of battles in the paint in Saturday’s NJCAA District 7 championship basketball game against Prince George’s. They blocked 14 shots and out-rebounded the Owls 55-43 in the contest won by the Flyers 82-67.
All Aboard: SCC Flyers Claim District Crown; Final Destination National Tourney in NY
After earning a berth in Friday’s District 7 title game with a hard fought victory over the Anne Arundel Pioneers, the Flyers punched their ticket to New York on Saturday via an 82-67 win over the Prince George's C.C. Owls in the championship tilt. Sandhills (27-6) now heads to Sullivan County Community College, in the Catskills region of New York, for the NJCAA Division III tournament, which starts on Thursday.
But for a long time in the game, Josiah Woodruff kept the Owls in contention almost by himself with pull-up jumpers and drives. Five minutes into the second half, the Flyer lead was five and the 6-foot-2 guard already had 18 points.
Each time T.J. Jones came into the game for the Flyers, Woodruff became less of an offensive threat. The 6-3, 217-pound guard-forward from Pine Forest High School used his length and width to good advantage. He also scored 12 points, grabbed six rebounds, blocked two shots and recorded three steals.
He felt coming off the bench helped him figure out what Woodruff was trying to do.
“I knew where he was going and I slowed him down a little bit so that was good,” he said.
According to Flyers’ coach Mike Apple, having a championship team requires players to accept roles.
“I can’t say enough about how well T.J. Jones played, especially defensively,” the coach said. “I told him at halftime that he was a match-up nightmare for those guys to get around. At Pine Forest he was the main man and a scorer. This year he’s a defensive stopper. He’s accepted it and he’s excelled in it.”
The Flyer bench has averaged over 50 points per game during a streak that includes 12 wins in the last 13 outings. Against Prince George’s, the bench point advantage was 43 to 15. Using an 11 or 12 man rotation most of the season, 10 or 11 players typically log 10 or minutes in a game.
Cutting down the nets is not something the average basketball player gets to enjoy as the Flyers did after wrapping up the District 7 title.
“This is really the first time I’ve won a championship in anything,” sophomore guard Trevor Cole said. “High school football is the closest I came (state runner-up, Jack Britt.
“During the offseason Coach Apple was telling us how special we are and how much talent we’ve got. I guess we realized it and we did it. I’m at a loss for words right now I’m so excited.”
Dre Huntley, the Flyer’s 5-foot-4 guard, who ratchets the speed up a notch every time he comes into the game, was asked if he was surprised the team has come so far.
“Oh yes, I always dream big,” he said. “I never dream small.”
More like this story