By Ted Waddell
LOCH SHELDRAKE February 27, 2007 The Sullivan County Community College (SCCC) Generals wrapped up their regular season of hoops on Wednesday night with a picture perfect 24-0 record by defeating the Bulldogs of Berkeley College, a men’s junior college club team, 109-54.
At halftime, SCCC, which is the No. 1 ranked National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division III team in the county, was well on the way to victory, holding a 51-21 lead over Berkeley (2-13).
In the second half, SCCC’s proverbial locomotive continued to build up steam. But the spirit of the game was almost derailed in the final four seconds when several home team fans rushed out onto the court and Generals’ senior forward Michael Hines fired off a halfcourt shot in the heat of the moment.
That last-second shot burned the Berkeley Coach Brian Maher and prompted SCCC Coach Chris DePew to walk Hines over to Maher to make a face-to-face apology.
“I’m very, very disturbed by the fact that our crowd felt the need to run out on the court before the game was over, and Mike took a halfcourt shot that didn’t need to be taken,” DePew said.
“This program is all about class, and when you’re up big, that wasn’t classy,” he added.
With 2 minutes, 34 seconds remaining in the contest, SCCC’s Keith Green scored to put the Generals into triple-digit territory for the first time this season. Green’s hoop gave the Generals a 100-47 lead.
Five Generals scored in double figures. Sayed Ali led the way with a game-high 23 points, Jakar Wells had 18 points, Hines recorded 17 points, Mustafa Palmer netted 15 points and Donte Harrison registered 12 points.
For Berkeley, two players reached double figures. Jahlil Shannon had 14 points, Elie Theka posted 13 points.
Both teams shot fairly well from the free-throw line. SCCC was 19-of-27 (70 percent), while Berkeley went 14-of-23 (61 percent).
“I’d like to wish them the best,” Maher said of the Generals. “I think they’re a national champion team, and I think they’ll win it this year.”
When his team has a 24-0 record, that zero has got to be right up there on DePew’s radar screen.
“It makes me a little nervous,” he said. “Unfortunately, we’ve become a little content [because] we expect to win, and I’m afraid that we’re going to get caught one of these days.”
Tonight, the Generals face Rockland Community College in the semifinals of the Mid-Hudson Conference Tournament at Orange County Community College in Middletown.
With a win, SCCC will play either Orange CC or Westchester Community College tomorrow in the championship game.
Then it’s on to the Region XV Tournament, which will be held Friday, March 2 through Sunday, March 4 at Westchester CC in Valhalla. The tourney is a hurdle SCCC needs to clear in order to make it to the NJCAA National Championship, which will take place from Thursday, March 15 to Saturday, March 17 at SUNY Delhi.
“It’s won or done,” said DePew of the upcoming regional event, which is a tourney where if you lose, you’re history.
At least until next season.