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Lady Knights Knock-off Monroe for Championship!
The CCRI Lady Knights basketball team continued their play in the Region XXI/XV Super Regional Tournament on Sunday at the Monroe Athletic Complex in New Rochelle, NY. The Lady Knights faced the defending National Champions and currently No. 10 ranked (NJCAA DII poll) Mustangs of Monroe College. The Lady Knights captured the Super Regional Championship and top seed in the District N-O Tournament next weekend back in New Rochelle, NY. CCRI did so with a 65-60 victory over defending National Champion Monroe College. The Lady Knights improve to 19-11 on the season and advance to the District Championship. The District Championship Tournament will be held back at the Monroe Athletic Complex next weekend March the 10th and 11th.
The defending champion Monroe took an early 11-2 lead in the opening minutes of the first half. The Lady Knights battled back and found themselves down only four at halftime with the score 36-32.
The Lady Knights took the lead in the second half and were up by five points 48-43 with 12 minutes remaining. The Mustangs battled back to tie the score 56-56 and then 58-58 with a minute left which led to a tremendous closeout by the Lady Knights. With the score tied 58-58 with 41 seconds left in the game CCRI center Jenna Ayala (Pawtucket, RI by way of Paterson, NJ) hit a 3-pointer from the corner to give the Lady Knights a 61-58 lead. CCRI closed the game with free throws and defensive rebounds by Nyjah Porcher (New Britain, CT) and Co-Captain Jahira Smith (Norwich, CT) to hold the Mustangs scoreless in the final minute of the game until a Verdine Warner basket as the buzzer sounded which gave the Lady Knights a dramatic 65-60 victory and first Region Tournament victory since 2008 versus Orange County CC.
For the second straight night Nyjah Porcher led all scorers with 22 points to go along with 10 rebounds, three steals and an assist. Porcher was 9-10 from the charity stripe hitting clutch free throws in the closing seconds. Nyjah averaged 21.5 points, 13 rebounds, three assists and 1.5 steals during the Championship. Porcher was helped on Sunday by Jahira Smith who scored in with 16 points, four assists, four rebounds, and two steals. Also helping CCRI was Jess Randall (Warwick, RI) with eight points and four rebounds and Jenna Ayala added seven points, including the game winning 3-pointer and eight rebounds. Rounding out the CCRI attack was Moe Plummer (Fairfield, CT) with five points and five rebounds and Celina Rosa (Plantation, FL) played lock-down defense while adding four points, two assists and two rebounds.
Head Coach Kate Lynch commented after the big win: “I am truly proud of these young ladies. They weathered Monroe’s runs and answered both on the offensive and defensive end. They buckled down defensively and executed on offense when we needed it the most. We will enjoy the win tonight, but we have a tough tournament ahead next weekend. We have to begin to prepare ourselves mentally and physically.”
CCRI returns to action in the Northeast District tournament next weekend at the Monroe Athletic Complex at Monroe College in New Rochelle, NY. Here is the Tournament schedule:
Saturday March 10th
Game 1: CCRI (1) vs. Lackawanna College (4) @ 3:00PM
Game 2: Union County College (2) vs. Monroe College (3) @ 5:00PM
Sunday March 11th
Championship game: Winner Game #1* vs. Winner Game #2* @ 1:00PM, 3/11/12
*Winner of games #1 and #2 will advance to NJCAA Division II National Tournament At Illinois Central Community College in East Peoria, IL March 20-24, 2012