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Rob Potter | Democrat

SCCC’s Kenny Bradshaw tries to put up a shot while being defended by Joliet Junior College’s Max Chapman (44) during a Sunday afternoon game in The Lodge at Rock Hill Classic Tournament at SCCC’s Paul Gerry Fieldhouse. Also pictured are Joliet Junior College’s Andy Supergan (24) and Brandon Redmond (12) and SCCC’s William Davis Jr. Bradshaw scored 13 points in the game and was named to the All-Tournament Team.

SCCC Generals top defending national champ Joliet JC, 80-70

By Rob Potter
LOCH SHELDRAKE — November 16, 2010 — The Sullivan County Community College (SCCC) Generals improved to 4-0 on the young 2010-2011 basketball season on Sunday afternoon with an 80-70 victory over the Joliet (Ill.) Junior College Wolves in the first annual The Lodge at Rock Hill Classic Tournament at SCCC’s Paul Gerry Fieldhouse.
The victory also competed an outstanding four-day run for SCCC. On Thursday night, the Generals defeated Passaic (N.J.) Community College, 87-66, at Paul Gerry Fieldhouse. Passaic entered the game as the No. 10 team in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division III preseason men’s basketball poll.
On Saturday, the Generals stopped the MassBay Community College Buccaneers, 79-71, in a first-round game at The Lodge at Rock Hill Classic. MassBay was ranked No. 5 in the Div. III preseason poll.
Then on Sunday, the Generals took a 43-32 halftime lead on their way to defeating Joliet JC, the defending NJCAA Div. III national champion and No. 1 team in the Div. III preseason poll.
SCCC held its lead throughout the second half, but had to withstand a late rally by Joliet JC (4-1). With 2:26 to go, freshman point guard Frankie Drayton made a free throw to push the Generals’ advantage to 70-58. But the Wolves responded with a 12-4 run. Joliet JC’s Brandon Redmond scored a basket with 45 seconds remaining to bring his team within four points at 74-70.
Just seven seconds later, SCCC’s Marvin Jean drove to the basket and scored to make it a 76-70 game.
In the final 31 seconds, Drayton and Jordan Thorpe both made a pair of free throws to help seal the Generals’ 10-point win.
Drayton paced the SCCC offense with a game-high 19 points. Three other Generals – Jean, Cleanthony Early and Kenny Bradshaw – scored in double figures. Jean had 17 points, Early netted 16 points and Bradshaw recorded 13 points.
Drayton, who scored 13 points in the Generals’ victory over MassBay CC, was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
“Frankie Drayton was tremendous this weekend,” SCCC Coach Kevin DeVantier said. “He played 78 of 80 minutes, brought the ball up, played defense and scored. He did a great job.”
DeVantier noted that Drayton, who is normally the Generals’ backup point guard, started both games in the tournament because starting point guard Dashawn Joyner suffered a sprained wrist in Thursday night’s triumph over Passaic CC.
DeVantier pointed out that shooting was the key to his team’s victory.
“We shot the ball very well today,” he said. “Joliet came out in a 2-3 zone defense and they were daring us to shoot the ball. We were able to make those shots. This was a good win for us because Joliet is a very good team.”
Although he was pleased to see his team stay undefeated with victories over three highly-ranked teams, DeVantier knows that the Generals will face more challenges down the road.
“We can’t get too overwhelmed by the rankings,” he said. “The season is very young, so we can’t be too worried about the rankings. We just need to play well and keep winning games.”
Justin Reed led the Wolves with 16 points and teammate LeAaron Pierce added 13 points.
“Sullivan was able to get the lead because they shot the ball so well,” Joliet JC Coach Joe Kuhn said. “In the first half, they made 5 of 10 3-point shots and about 50 percent of their 2-point shots.
“This was our third game in three days, so we might have been a little tired today,” he added. “But Sullivan has a heck of a basketball program.”
While the Wolves have four starters returning from last year’s national championship team, Kuhn noted that defending the title will be challenging because the team plays in a very tough region. But if they win their region, Kuhn and his players will return to SCCC’s Paul Gerry Fieldhouse in March for the 2011 NJCAA Div. III National Championship Tournament.
Even if they are unsuccessful in their bid to qualify for the national tourney, the Wolves enjoyed their visit to SCCC this past weekend.
“It was a great experience,” Kuhn said. “I am thankful they invited us to come out here and play. This was a great tournament and we had a good time.”
In addition to Drayton being chosen as the tournament MVP, several other players were honored. SCCC’s Kareem Bernard received the tournament’s Sportsmanship Award. Named to the All-Tournament Team were: Kenny Bradshaw (SCCC), Marvin Jean (SCCC), LeAaron Pierce (Joliet JC), Brandon Redmond (Joliet JC) Mikhail Rubin (MassBay CC) and Jeremiah Washington (Herkimer County Community College).

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