By Ted Waddell
LOCH SHELDRAKE February 12, 2008 It had to happen eventually.
The Sullivan County Community College (SCCC) Generals hadn’t lost a basketball game on their home court ‘Down in the Bunker’ at Paul Gerry Fieldhouse on the Loch Sheldrake campus in about three seasons.
But after 42 consecutive wins at home, SCCC’s streak ended in Thursday night’s contest versus Technical Career Institute (TCI).
TCI (20-6) defeated SCCC, the defending National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division III champions, 93-89, in overtime.
The game was tied 76-76 at the end of regulation, setting up an extra five minutes of play.
SCCC won the tip-off to begin the OT and Bertram “B.J.” McDowell scored quickly to the stage for what proved top be an exhilarating race to the finish.
As the clock ticked down, the score was tied at 84-84 and again at 86-86. But TCI grabbed a 90-86 lead.
SCCC (14-7) closed to within a point with 28.3 seconds remaining and the basket was followed by a referee’s call that left SCCC Coach Chris DePew raging on the sidelines.
TCI inbounded the ball from the end line, but the intended recipient dropped it.
A SCCC player grabbed the ball on the fly, but one of the officials nixed Sullivan’s possession. He then called for another inbound pass and gave the ball back to TCI.
Seconds later, TCI seized the opportunity and ended the game with a win.
DePew vociferously disagreed with the referee’s call.
“It was an inbound pass and the kid dropped it, and it went right to our guy,” DePew said. “It should have been our ball… that referee was struggling all night, and unfortunately [that call] cost us the game.
“I’m very, very disappointed in the officiating,” he said.
However, the home team coach had praise for one of the game’s officials, Kyle Walter.
“He did an excellent job,” DePew said. “But he didn’t have much help.”
Kevin White and Jamel Jackson led TCI to victory with 26 points and 23 points, respectively.
For SCCC, McDowell scored a game-high 34 points, David Williamson netted 19 points and Tim McKnight added 13 points.
“I see why they were national champs last year,” TCI Coach Pernell Hosier said. “Even though they lost some key players, they’ve got some pretty good guards, and No. 42 [McDowell], he’s awesome.”
Hosier credited the play of his guards such as White, and “our big guy, Stevy Gael, [who] had some nice blocks.”
“They were able to make the plays they needed to at the end to win the game,” DePew commented.
DePew said that when his team took a 10-point lead late in the second half, he thought his team would be on its way to another victory.
But then a couple of SCCC players tried to spell the word “team” with an “I”.
“There’s no ‘I’ in the word team, and a couple of our guys have got to learn that,” DePew said. “It’s not all about them, it’s about winning the game.”
DePew said the game hinged on his team’s ability to shut down TCI’s Jackson, who averages 28 points per game.
“Tim McKnight did an absolutely spectacular job for 40 minutes, locking up their best player,” he said.
“We knew we had to compensate for their size with our speed, and for the most part we did, but when push came to shove at the end, we got a little tired out,” DePew continued. “TCI is a full scholarship [NJCAA] Division I team, and for us to hang in there with them and play hard is a tribute to my kids.”