Warwick, R.I. – March 7, 2016: The CCRI Knights Basketball team hosted the District II Championship on Saturday against Monroe Community College (MCC) from Rochester, NY. CCRI was crowned the Region XXI champion last week when they defeated No.10 (NJCAA DII basketball poll) Dean, while the No.11 ranked MCC Tribunes were coming off their Region III Championship victory. The Knights hung tough for most of the game but in the end Monroe proved to be better team and took the win by the score of 69-49. The loss puts an end to the Knights great season as they finish with a 16-13 record.
The first half was a back and forth battle as both teams traded baskets throughout. Co-Captain Edvaldo Ferreira (Cape Verde) was a big reason for that as he showed his all-around game by hitting some mid-range jumpers and finishing around the rim with acrobatic moves. Valdo’s 14 points combined with two 3-pointers from both Adrian La Fleur (Sydney, Australia) and Elijah Vazquez (Woonsocket, RI) helped keep CCRI in the game. La Fleur, who started the season primarily as a shooter, became CCRI’s primary ball handler as he was able to use crafty moves to help his teammates get open and slow down the Monroe pressure. After an excellent half by the Knights, they trailed 32-31 going into the break.
The first offensive possession for the Knights in the second half immediately set the tone for the rest of the game. MCC pressed the Knights and forced a bad shot at the end of the shot clock. From there, the Tribunes continued to pick up their intensity level and got under the Knights on defense. The pressure forced major turnovers by the Knights along with disrupting any offensive rhythm to be had. The Knights struggled to get good shots and in the end could not score enough to make up for the turnovers that Monroe converted into points.
Ferreira still posted a double-double for the Knights despite the tough outing. It was his 23rd such game of the year, by far leading the team. Valdo finished the season with averages of 17 points per game, 14.2 rebounds and 4.9 blocks.
La Fleur finished the game with 15 points while hitting 4-8 from downtown. He also added five rebounds and three assists to his stat line. La Fleur finished with 13.7 points per game while leading the team with 4.6 assists per game.
Head Coach Rick Harris had this to say about his team’s game and their season, “For three halves, the Dean Region Championship game and first half of District game we really were playing some special basketball. Unfortunately a very good Monroe C.C. team decided to do something about it with about sixteen minutes left in the game. Their length and athleticism proved too much for us to contain and thus I must credit their outstanding defense in making us uncomfortable down the stretch. We were unable to get good looks at the basket and our guys seemed to have their legs taken from under them. I told the young men in the locker room afterwards that they have nothing to hang their heads about. It was a fantastic ride and unforgettable season. The players winning the New England Region Championship last weekend was as special a game as I have been involved with in my ten years here at CCRI. With a roster of 8 new freshman and just three sophomores they moved ahead of schedule by winning 16 games, going 13-4 in Region XXI and winning the New England Championship. The players and I had a taste of the National Tournament on our lips over the past ten days and the young men will be better prepared in 2016-17 with the process that leads to Danville Ill. I am extremely proud of their progress and they all have much to look forward to in the future.”
The Community College of Rhode Island, New England’s largest comprehensive community college, enrolls nearly 18,000 students in credit courses and thousands more in non-credit and job training classes. Its athletic program boasts 12 varsity programs and an academic support program for all student-athletes.