Eck-cellent start for defending champion Blue Dragons

Hutchinson Community College’s Kai Mitchell goes up for two points during Tuesday’s NJCAA Tournament opener against Cape Fear. The Blue Dragons won and advanced to the second round Wednesday.

By Lucas Barlow
Sports Editor

Repeating as NJCAA national champions is no easy feat, and hasn’t been done since

2003-2004 when Southeastern Iowa did it.

The defending men’s basketball champions, 11th-seed Hutchinson Community College, will have to win five straight games in order to manage that feat. However, the Blue Dragons are off to a good start. In their first ever meeting against 22nd- seed Cape Fear Community College, the Blue Dragons routed the Sea Devils in the opening

Round of the NJCAA Division 1 Men’s Championship on Tuesday afternoon, 84-60, at the Sports Arena.

The game was tight for most of the first half, with Hutchinson only leading by two at halftime. However, the second half belonged to Hutchinson, which flexed their scoring ability.

The game was already decided minutes in the second half, after the Blue Dragons went up by double digits. From their, they didn’t look back. The trio of Devonte Bandoo, J.J. Rhymes, and Robert Whitfield scored 30 of the Blue Dragons 52 second half points. Hutchinson shot 45.1 percemnt from the field, while holding Cape Fear to just 30.6 percent.

Ryhmes led all scorers with 19 points.

With the win on Tuesday, Blue Dragons coach Steve Eck becomes the winningest coach in Blue Dragon history, earning his 260th victory. He surpassed Charles Sesher who coached Hutchinson through the 1930-57 seasons.

“This national tournament is all about the players,” Eck said. “It’s not about me at all, but rather the players competing and enjoying it.”

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.