Posts Tagged ‘Blue Dragon basketball’

Tom Reilly, NJCAA host, helps Tournament run smoothly

Thursday, March 22nd, 2018

With the NJCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship having begun Monday, the Sports Arena has been jam-packed with junior college teams and fans from all over the country.

With that in mind, how does everything not get out of control?

There are behind-the-scene people who help run the NJCAA Tournament and manage possible chaos. One of these groups is the team hosts. Tom Reilly, a Topeka native and Hutchinson resident is Hutchinson Community College’s host for this year.

“Every team has a host, and there are 24 teams in the Tournament,” Reilly said. “The hosts don’t know who they have until the seeds are finalized. Once they are informed who they have, they reach out to the school and introduce themselves.”

Their job is mostly to help the team with time management, scheduling practices and supervise the locker rooms and on benches with the team they are hosting. They cater to the coaches’ needs.

Sometimes, hosts know their designated junior college team close enough to have friends or acquaintances within the community. For instance, Reilly knows some people in the Hutchinson community who can help him out and he knows Blue Dragons coach Steve Eck well.

Because of his connections with Trinity Catholic, Reilly got to schedule a Blue Dragon practice for Tuesday night in advance, if the Blue Dragons were to win that afternoon against Cape Fear. Since they did win, they got to go over plays in preparation for Wednesday night’s game against Florida SouthWestern.

Reilly mentioned that he hasn’t gotten to host HutchCC until this year, and he is excited he is on the Blue Dragons’ bench this season.

“I’ve worked as a host for about 13 years,” Reilly said.

He has been through this several times and said that he always looks forward to basketball season. That is how he got his job in the first place. He said that he was asked in 2006 if he would be willing to become a host since he was a well-known basketball fan.

Since then, he has enjoyed the experiences he has had with the teams he hosted so far.

New season, new role for Blue Dragon sophomore

Friday, February 16th, 2018

By Lucas Barlow
Sports Editor

As the postseason nears for the Hutchinson Community College men’s basketball team, veteran players will have to step up as leaders to help get the Blue Dragons in top form for the regional and, maybe, the national tournament in March.

One of those players is sophomore guard Tiylar Cotton.

Cotton was a member of last year’s team that went 35-2 en route to the NJCAA national championship. One year later, he hopes to return to the championship game as a much more experienced and well-rounded player.

Born and raised in Wichita, Cotton attended Wichita North High School, where he was a 2016 graduate. He is one of the two current players on the Blue Dragon roster who hail from Kansas.

Cotton decided to play at HutchCC because he felt they had a great coaching staff, and indeed they do. Since head coach Steve Eck’s arrival in 2009, the Blue Dragons had amassed a 231-46 record prior to this season.

Cotton played in almost every game his freshman year, only absent in five games. He  averaged 9.2 minutes per game, as he had to play behind Hutchinson all-time great guard Samajae Haynes-Jones, who now plays at Wichita State.

Throughout the year, Cotton posted solid totals for the amount of time he played. After his team won the national championship in 2017, Cotton listed it as one of his greatest accomplishments.

“Winning a national championship was an unreal feeling,” Cotton said. “We had been working all year for that, and when the time came, it seemed like a dream.”

This season is a bit different for Cotton. He now has doubled his minutes per game, and his role for the team has changed. The game against Pratt on Jan. 24 was his best game yet – he posted a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds, while also getting six assists.

With only four games left in the regular season, Cotton looks to stay focused

“My goals for the rest of the season are to just focus on winning the rest of our conference games,” Cotton said. “After that, then we can worry about regionals and nationals.”

The Blue Dragons are currently 21-4 (17-4 conf.) and ranked No. 14th in the country. They will next play Saturday at the Sports Arena against Cowley. It will also be the college’s annual Pink Out Night.