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Men’s and women’s basketball earn postseason berth in upcoming Region XXI Tournament

Men’s and women’s basketball earn postseason berth in upcoming Region XXI Tournament

The Community College of Rhode Island men’s and women’s basketball teams are heading back to the postseason and their quest for a return trip to the NJCAA Division III National Tournament begins within their own region.

Both teams have qualified for the NJCAA Region XXI Tournament, won last year by CCRI’s men’s and women’s teams, who were the No. 1 overall seeds in both brackets.

In the men’s bracket, the defending regional champion Knights earned the No. 8 seed this year thanks to a remarkable second-half turnaround. Ranked No. 5 in the nation in this year’s preseason poll, the Knights struggled out of the gate and went 4-8 in November and December before eventually finding their rhythm once the calendar flipped to January.

Under the guidance of first-year head coach Marcus Douthit, the Knights won 10 of their final 16 games and finished the regular season 14-14 and earn the eighth seed, where they will play at top-seeded Northern Essex this Saturday at noon. The game streams live on Northern Essex’s official YouTube channel. (All first-round games are played at the home of the higher seed before the tournament shifts to its neutral site at Holyoke beginning next weekend in the semifinals.)

To advance, the Knights will need to upend red-hot Northern Essex, which finished the regular season 28-1 and has won 23 consecutive games, including its season finale last weekend against the Knights.  

This year, the No. 6 nationally-ranked women again clinched the top seed in the Region XXI Tournament by finishing 19-6 overall and 9-0 in regional play for the second consecutive season; the Knights haven’t lost a regular-season game to a regional opponent since the 2018-19 season.

The women’s tournament begins Saturday, March 4 at Holyoke Community College with the Knights playing No. 4 seed Bristol at 12 pm followed by a 2 pm showdown between No. 3 seed UConn Avery Point and No. 2 seed Massasoit. The semifinal winners face one another Sunday, March 5 in the championship game at 1 pm. Information on how to stream all women’s tournament games will be available next week. The regional champion earns an automatic berth to the NJCAA D-III Championships. The Knights punched their ticket last year for the first time since 2013 and earned the No. 10 seed in the national tournament.

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