Posts Tagged ‘NJCAA Championship Basketball Tournament’

End of the road for Blue Dragons

Thursday, March 22nd, 2018

By Lucas Barlow
Sports Editor

The dream is finally over for the Hutchinson Community College men’s basketball team.

The daunting challenge of winning back-to- back national championships proved too difficult for

the Blue Dragons as they exited the NJCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship in the second round Wednesday night at the Sports Arena, falling to Florida SouthWestern State 80-65.

“They’re a good team,” Blue Dragons coach Steve Eck said. “We got their best shot tonight, and it showed.”

Many would say this is one of the more “rollercoaster-esque” seasons in recent years, as Hutchinson

experienced many highs and lows throughout the past six months. They also graduate one of

the most dynamic duos in sophomores J.J. Rhymes and Devonte Bandoo. However, the Blue

Dragons have nothing to be disappointed in, as they finish another great season with a, overall

29-7 record and fourth straight appearance at the national tournament.

The Sports Arena was the place to be Wednesday night, as the 11th-seeded Blue Dragons took on the sixth-seeded Buccaneers from Florida SouthWestern State in a highly-anticipated second-round game. Right from the beginning, it was apparent that the Buccaneers were hungry to knock off the defending national champions on their home court. The game was tight for a majority of the first half, with the Blue Dragons staying within 10 points, but after a

media timeout late in the half, things started to get ugly for Hutchinson.

Up 37-29 at the half, the Buccaneers did not slow their scoring in the second half, as they repeatedly knocked down

shots. Florida SouthWestern used its quick transition game and lethal scoring ability to put the

game to rest early.

After the first media timeout of the half, the Buccaneers were up almost by 20, and the Blue Dragons didn’t have enough firepower to get back in it. Hutchinson’s season was over 14 minutes later.

The Buccaneers shot an impressive 52.5 percent, while the Blue Dragons were held to 38.9 percent.
“Florida SouthWestern is well rounded, they run good offense, they play tough defense and it was tough to score out there,” Eck said.

Eck also stated that the height mismatch was difference maker and that the Buccaneers were no doubt the best team they’ve played all year.

The Blue Dragons graduate six sophomores this year- each of them playing vital parts on this year’s squad. However, Bandoo and Rhymes will go down as two of the best players in Hutchinson history. Rhymes finishes seventh in Blue Dragon leading scorers (1,295 points), while Bandoo finishes 15th (1,072 points). “I wouldn’t want to go out with any other group of guys,” Rhymes said in an emotional post-game interview. “We had our ups and downs, but their family that I wouldn’t want to trade for anything else, and I thank them for

that.

“I also want to thank God for giving me this opportunity, and I can’t wait to see what he

has for me in the future.”

All of the sophomores leave will leave HutchCC with 64 total wins, a conference championship and of course, the 2017 national championship.

Men prepare to compete in their 21st NJCAA Tournament

Monday, March 19th, 2018

By Brenna Eller
Opinion Page Editor

The NJCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship is coming to the Sports Arena again, starting Monday. Not only that, but Hutchinson Community College received one of the eight at-large-bids and has been seeded 11 in the tournament against Cape Fear, whic the Blue Dragons will play at noon Tuesday.

The Blue Dragons will now have been in the NJCAA Tournament 21 times.

Joe O’Sullivan, the Tournament Director, gave some information on the workings of being in the NJCAA Committee. There are other people with specific jobs such as team host, scorer’s table, press credentials and assignments, locker room and equipment, statisticians, entertainment, opening ceremonies, awards, public address, game officials (provided needs and security by committee), house committee, and others.

“They all do a great job without much involvement from me. My job is to manage all aspects of the tournament directly involving the games,” O’Sullivan said.

He also explained in further detail what he does.

“I coordinate the activities, making sure they are where they need to be when scheduled, communicate with coaches and game officials and NJCAA officials as necessary, provide solutions for problems should they arise, deal with inquiries and occasional complaints from fans, etc.,” O’Sullivan said.

Since HutchCC is now in the NJCAA Tournament, O’Sullivan said he presumes that there will be an increase in ticket sales and more enthusiasm from the Hutchinson community.

“Many of our fans have been coming for many years, and they can recite from memory the years in which Hutchinson won the tournament,” O’Sullivan said. “They are familiar with many of the teams who are returning, and the coaches and players from those schools who went on to four-year schools and to professional basketball.”

Even if the Blue Dragons hadn’t gotten into the Tournament, there still would’ve been a large audience.

“That has been proven over the 70 years the American Legion has sponsored this tournament in Hutchinson, even when HutchCC didn’t make it,” O’Sullivan said.

Since the American Legion hosts for all 24 teams, the Sports Arena has been appointed a “neutral court” so that there is no bias and no such thing as a “home-court advantage”. Therefore, committee members like O’Sullivan are impartial to certain teams, although O’Sullivan said that he is glad Hutchinson has made it to the Tournament.

 

Men advance to NJCAA Tournament Quarterfinal

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

By Bailey Terry

Bailey Terry/Collegian - Keanu Pinder, Perth, Australia, drives from the corner past a player during the second round game of the NJCAA Tournament.

Bailey Terry/Collegian - Keanu Pinder, Perth, Australia, drives from the corner past a player during the second round game of the NJCAA Tournament.

The Sports Arena was full of Blue Dragon men’s basketball fans as they faced off against the Moberly Greyhounds in the second round of the NJCAA Tournament on March 16.

The Dragons put on a show to beat the Greyhounds 84-74 to advance onto the quarterfinals, which puts their record to 30-4.

The leading scorer for the Hutch was Akbar Hoffman, Newark, New Jersey, with a career-high 29 points; he shot about 60 percent for the night.

Right behind Hoffman was Bashir Ahmed, Bronx, New York, with 22 points and 12 rebounds; he shot 85 percent from the foul line.

The Dragons out-rebounded their opponents 46-33, with about half from the offensive glass.

Multiple times, Moberly was able to cut Hutch’s lead to just five points, but every time that occurred, the Dragons would hit shots to continue to push their lead.
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Dragons’ run ends in NJCAA Tournament quarterfinals

Sunday, April 5th, 2015

By Bailey Terry

Bailey Terry/Collegian - Bashier Ahmed, Bronx, N.Y., takes the ball to the basket as he is guarded by an opponent, while playing Georgia Highlands in the quarterfinals of the NJCAA tournament on March 19. The Blue Dragons lost the game 59-64.

Bailey Terry/Collegian - Bashier Ahmed, Bronx, N.Y., takes the ball to the basket as he is guarded by an opponent, while playing Georgia Highlands in the quarterfinals of the NJCAA tournament on March 19. The Blue Dragons lost the game 59-64.

The Blue Dragons basketball team played Georgia Highlands in the quarterfinals of the NJCAA at the Sports Arena on March 19 and lost 59-64. Their season ended with a record of 29-7.

DeShawn Freeman, Rocky Mount, N.C., in his final game in his HCC career, had a double-double with 22 points and 13 rebounds.

Bashier Ahmed, Bronx, N.Y., scored 14 points and pulled down five rebounds.

Akbar Hoffman, Newark, N.J., scored nine points, while Austin Budke, Beloit, scored six points.

The first six possessions the Dragons held, they turned the ball over.

Starting off with six turnovers caused Hutch to have to pick up the pace.
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Lady Dragons fall in NJCAA championship game in Salina

Sunday, April 5th, 2015

By Bailey Terry

Richard Steckly/Collegian - Kalani Purcell, Hamilton, New Zealand, takes a shot around her opponent in the championship game of the NJCAA tournament on March 21 in Salina.

Richard Steckly/Collegian - Kalani Purcell, Hamilton, New Zealand, takes a shot around her opponent in the championship game of the NJCAA tournament on March 21 in Salina.

The Lady Dragon basketball team traveled to Salina for the NJCAA tournament championship game on March 21 and played Chipola, who was ranked No. two in the tournament, and lost 46-54.

The Dragons ended their season with a record of 36-1 and they were runner-up at Nationals for the second year in a row.

Five of the Dragon players are graduating and ending their careers with a record of 71-2, only losing in the championship game of the NJCAA tournament.

Alyx Bloom, Clay Center, finished her Dragon career with 14 points.

Kalani Purcell, Hamilton, New Zealand, scored 11 points, 19 rebounds, six assists, and three blocks.

With those three blocks, Purcell broke another record, having the most blocks in career with 94.

Purcell and Cynthia Petke, Yaounde, Cameroon, both made the All-Tournament team.
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National tournament felt in HCC parking lots

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

By DaKota Hilburn

Anthony Vieyra, Hutchinson, collects money while Tyrone Clark, Cimarron, helps direct traffic as people come to watch the tournament.

(Photo by Loribeth Reynolds) At the Sports Arena west lot, Anthony Vieyra, Hutchinson, collects money while Tyrone Clark, Cimarron, helps direct traffic as people come to watch the tournament.

It’s that time of year again, the NJCAA Men’s Basketball tournament.

We all know what that means; less parking spaces for students and teachers.

Students, faculty and staff who usually park in the Sports Arena lot on weekdays now find it blocked off for tournament parking, causing that overflow of cars to look for spots elsewhere on campus.

Even the satellite parking lots north of the student union and those west of Plum Street are packed.

“The tournament takes over the whole area for parking,” said Steve Dunmire, director of security at Hutchinson Community College.
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