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Knights clip Falcons 97-63 to advance to Nationals!
March 11, 2012: The No.4 ranked (NJCAA DII poll) CCRI Knights men’s basketball team hosted the Region XIX Champion Falcons of Lackawanna College from Scranton, PA to a packed Cullen Fieldhouse on Saturday to decide the District 11 Championship and see which team would earn a berth to the NJCAA Division II National Tournament in Danville, IL March 20th-24th. The Knights defeated the Falcons 97-63. With the victory the Knights return to the Nationals for the 12th time. The last time they made it to Danville was in 2007, also under Head Coach Rick Harris. In addition, with the victory the Knights improve on the program-best record to 28-4 on the season.
Though Lackawanna had close to a .500 record they came into the post season as one of the hottest teams in the country. They showed why in the first half as they sank eight 3-pointers to stay with the Knights with the score 48-44 CCRI at half. The first half pace was frenetic with the Knights playing good defense and making scoring runs only to have Lackawanna burying 3-pointers to stay in the game. However, in the second half the Knights utilized their trademark 1-3-1 half-court defense which put them on a 12-3 scoring run to put the Knights up 60-47. From there the Knights never looked back as they outscored Falcons 49-19 in second half to cruise to the 97-63 victory and District 11 Championship.
Leading the way for the Knights was Desmond Williams (Torrington, CT) scoring a game-high 29 points, including a season-high seven 3-pointers on 7-9 from beyond the 3-point arc while adding eight rebounds, three steals and a blocked shot. Also having a huge game was Roger Livramento (Central Falls, RI) charting another monster double-double with 13 points and 19 rebounds while adding five assists and a blocked shot. Rounding out the Knights’ top performers was point guard Bryan Yarce (Cranston, RI) who ran the offense perfectly dishing out 12 assists swiping two steals with zero turnovers and six points, Co-Captain Trevor Mabry (Norwich, CT) scored 18 points with five rebounds and three blocks and Isaac Medeiros (Johnston, RI) added 12 points, three assists, two rebounds and a blocked shot. Overall 10 of the 11 Knights hit the scoring column and played outstanding team basketball with 29 assists and just three turnovers with 49 rebounds and 13 blocked shots while shooting 60% from the floor.
Coach Harris commented after the big victory “I could not be prouder of our young men. Like JFK they follow the lead of ‘how can I help the team, not how can the team help me.’ This was evident in our 29 assists and three turnovers. Of course with a great point guard like ‘The General’ Bryan Yarce (12 assists, zero turnovers and two steals) everything offensively seems to run so smoothly. These young men have been a pleasure to coach and I will enjoy every moment we have together in the National Tournament. Teams like this only come around once every 10-15 years if a coach is lucky.”
The Knights now wait patiently as they find out the seeding and schedule for the NJCAA Division II National Tournament which will be played in Danville, IL March 20th-24th.