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Williams Brice Stadium on the campus of the University of South Carolina.
The South Carolina National Champions
Jonathan Chekol, Staff Writer • April 12, 2024

After a women’s tournament that will go in history books, the South Carolina Gamecocks reign supreme once again in Women’s College Basketball...

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HCC Men’s Basketball is Going to Nationals!

The+HCC+Mens+Basketball+team+is+headed+to+a+big+stage+at+the+Mid-Atlantic+District+Championship+game.
Depositphotos
The HCC Men’s Basketball team is headed to a big stage at the Mid-Atlantic District Championship game.

HCC Men’s Basketball is going to the “big dance” in Danville, IL, as the Dragons earned an automatic bid to nationals in the National Junior Collegiate Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II Region 20 Mid-Atlantic District Championship game. With their thrilling 74-71 victory over the Community College of Baltimore County – Catonsville (CCBC) Cardinals this past Saturday. The Dragons’ win this past Saturday was their second regional title in four years. The Dragons and the Cardinals have met before in the regular season in Catonsville, where HCC won 83-81 with sophomore guard Ryan Conway – who had 34 points in that game – hitting a left-handed game winning shot at the buzzer for the Dragons.

 

Both teams were the top seeds in the Region 20 tournament with the Dragons being the first seed with a 25-6 record and the Cardinals being the 2nd seed with a 20-10 record going into the game. In the tournament, the Dragons defeated 8th seed Potomac State and 4th seed Southern Maryland, while the Cardinals defeated 7th seed Montgomery College and 3rd seed CCBC Dundalk on their way to the championship game, which set up a rematch between the Dragons vs Cardinals.

The National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) determines the best athletic teams among junior, community and state colleges across the country. (Note: Image not affiliated with the NJCAA) (Depositphotos)

 

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The Cardinals vs Dragons rematch in the championship game was just as good as the regular season game, as it once again went down to the wire. The first half started with sophomore and the Dragons’ leading scorer, Andrew Mills, scoring 25 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks in this game. He imposed his will early on with a dunk to put the Dragons ahead 15-13. However, things didn’t look too great for the Dragons when Sophomore guard and the second leading scorer on the Cardinals, Shane Taylor – who averages 26.9 points per game this season – went out with a lower body injury, with his status for nationals still to be determined. Conway went off by scoring the next seven points to give the Dragons a 35-23 lead before the Cardinals cut the lead to 7 with two layups by Sophomore forward Albright Obodne who had 10 points in this game. Freshman guard Micah Morgan who had 12 points in this game went into the second half with the Dragons having a 39-32 lead.

 

The second half began, and the Cardinals set the tone early as they went on an 8-0 run including two three-pointers by freshman guard Lance Porter and sophomore guard Murray Grant. This led them to a 40-39 lead, as the Cardinals defense held the Dragon’s scoreless for four minutes. The Dragons did the same thing as they went on a run of their own with Freshman guard Emmauel Henriques, who had 9 points in this game and scored two free throws.

 

The Cardinals started to fire back again with their three-point shooting and two free-throws by Sophomore Guard Jo-Nathan Kelly, who had 16 points in this game that gave them a 55-52 lead with six minutes remaining. The Dragons fought back with Sophomore Jalen Bowie, who had 8 points in the game, coming up with a huge block to set up Conway with a fast break layup and a step back jumper to give the Dragons a 65-59 lead. A three point shot by Mills gave them a 68-59 lead. The Cardinals fought back to cut the Dragons’ lead to 70-69 with a three-pointer by Sophomore guard Murray Grant, who had 10 points in this game.

 

Conway once again showed up in the clutch just like he did in the regular season clash where he had 21 points and 3 assists. In this game, he had four clutch free throws down the stretch that gave the Dragons a 74-71 lead in this game.

 

The game ended, and the Dragons celebrated their first Region 20 Mid Atlantic District Championship since 2020. Mills was named the MVP of the Region 20 Mid Atlantic District  Tournament and Conway was named to the All-Tournament team.

 

HCC will go into the tournament as a 15th seed in the NJCAA Division II tournament.

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About the Contributor
Jonathan Chekol, Staff Writer
Jonathan Chekol grew up in Clarksville, MD, and he is currently a sophomore at HCC, majoring in Audio Video Media Production. Jonathan is a sportswriter here at The HCC Times and has an internship within the Athletics Department in multimedia sports communications. He is a huge sports fan and has been following sports, particularly football, basketball and soccer since childhood. He has a very good understanding of these sports and can explain details such as tournament formats, regulations, the history behind them, people in the boardroom, etc. to anyone around him. Jonathan also likes to exercise and spend time with family and friends.  

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