Defense Comes Through for Flyers
The Sandhills Community College basketball team led all NJCAA divisions in scoring going into postseason play.
But it took a tremendous defensive stand by the Flyers to make it into Saturday’s national championship game against Cedar Valley College of Lancaster, Texas.
The Suns will try to follow in the footsteps of the 2011 champion, Mountain View College of Dallas, and keep the national championship in Texas.
After Bronx CC overcame an 18-point deficit to tie the Flyers at 78-78 and send Friday’s semifinal game into overtime, 6-foot-6 Erick Ewing and 6-10 Louis Craft helped hold the Broncos to one field goal (a three) in the final 23 seconds of regulation and five minutes of overtime.
The pair has combined to block 15 shots in the two games and altered many more.
“The offense wasn’t working tonight so we had to play defense to win the ball game,” Ewing said.”It seems like each round gets tougher so we’ve got to come out and play hard tomorrow.”
Actually the offense of Ewing was working pretty well. He was seven-for-nine from the field and three-for-four from the foul line, scoring a team-high 17 points.
What Craft and Ewing, and the rest of the Flyers did best was put tremendous pressure on Bronx CC at the end of regulation and overtime without committing fouls.
“It was discipline really,” Craft said. “I tried to step up for my teammates. Hopefully tomorrow we’ll win the championship.”
While 10 Flyers saw 10 minutes or more of action during the 85-84 win, three of the Broncos played the entire 45 minutes. The other two starters were on the court for 35 and 37 minutes and only the five starters got into the scoring column.
The Flyers knocked two of the three New York City teams out of championship contention and Cedar Valley eliminated the other to make the North Carolina-Texas final. Cedar Valley won the title in 2001.
The Paul Gerry Gym-nasium at host Sullivan County Community College seats 1,900 and is a beautiful facility. The NJCAA and the college have run a fine tournament.
The Brookdale CC team from New Jersey that the Flyers defeated 93-92 on Thursday bounced back to beat Roxbury 86-76 in one of Friday’s consolation bracket games.
When the final shot by Bronx CC was off the mark and the Flyers were in the championship clash, the contingent of Flyers fans appeared to be happy but a pretty worn out group after enduring the two nights of almost unbearable suspense.
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