By Ted Waddell
LOCH SHELDRAKE December 21, 2004 The first few minutes of Saturday afternoons National Junior Collegiate Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region XV game between the host Sullivan County Community College Generals (5-0) and the Lions of Nassau Community College (7-1) was a defensive battle on the boards and under the glass.
Going into the game, both teams were undefeated in regional competition.
However, about halfway through the opening frame, SCCC (3-4, 5-0 Region XV) woke up and started to turn up the heat on the way to taking a 33-21 lead at halftime.
In the second 20 minutes of play, the Generals kept pouring in on, outscoring Nassau (10-2, 7-1 Region XV) by 16 points (34-18) on the way to defeating the Lions 67-39 at the final buzzer.
With about four minutes left in the first half, SCCC Assistant Coach Troy Nowlin, who is in his second year with the Generals, made the rounds of the bench and fired up his players for the battle on the court. It was a strategy that inspired shock and awe in the opposition.
At the 18:55 mark, SCCC Coach Chris DePew started dancing around the floor like a tamale sizzling on a blazing skillet as the Generals normally precision passing game under the basket suddenly developed into a case of whos got the hot potato.
Then a dunk by freshman guard Everage Richardson put Sullivan up at 33-21, and the timely bucket got DePew back into a better mood seconds before the close of the first half.
It was ugly on our part, said Nassau CC Coach A.J. Wynder.
Sullivan did what they had to, and were very aggressive on defense and they executed on offense, he added.
Wynder said his team normally averages 70-80 points per game, and the 39 points against Sullivan was the Lions lowest production of the year.
As the pendulum started to swing in favor of the Generals, the momentum of the game changed when Sullivan began to hit their shots.
On Saturdays battle between the two undefeated Region XV squads, DePew said, It was a huge game for us.
He described the performance of freshmen Kelvin Nelson and Jamal Raphael as playing a monster game for us in the Generals victory over Nassau.
We played good, and came out hard and came out on top by 28, said Nelson, a 20-year-old freshman and a graduate of Milford Academy. It was a slow start, but once we got warmed up we did what we do best
moving the ball around and coming out on top.
Hopefully, well come home with the ring, added Nelson, referring to the 2005 NJCAA National Championship Tournament at SUNY Delhi.
Raphael, a graduate from high school in Sheepshead Bay, is a first-year hoopster at SCCC.
I think we had a pretty good game, he said. Everybody played the role they were supposed to, and we went hard from the beginning.
We ran into a few bumps in the road, but if we stay together we should be successful, Raphael added.
Raphael recorded a double-double, scoring 10 points and grabbing a team-high 14 rebounds.
Greg Johnson scored a game-high 16 points. Two other Generals, Antoine Williams and Richardson, scored in double figures. Williams netted 12 points and Richardson had 11.
Alex Guest was Nassaus high scorer with a total of 10 points. Melvin Jackson added nine points for the Lions.
Stats from the free throw line: SCCC 15-for-23 (65 percent); NASSAU CC 8-of-19 (42 percent).
Notes: In recent weeks, the Generals lost a couple of games to full scholarship Division I schools during a tourney on December 10 and 11 at Rockingham Community College in North Carolina. In the first game, SCCC fell by four points, and in the second, the Generals lost by a single point.
On Dec. 8, SCCC was defeated by a point at the hands of Division I Westchester Community College.
The Generals next home game is slated for 3 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 29. On that afternoon, SCCC will host defending two-time NJCAA Division III National Champion Suffolk County Community College.
February is scheduled to be a homecourt hoops fest at Paul Gerry Fieldhouse. The Generals have home games at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 8 (vs. Westchester); at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 10 (vs. TCI); at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 12 (vs. Delhi); at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 13 (vs. Hostos); and 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 15 (vs. Rockland).