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Knight fall to hot-shooting Monroe CC 85-78
The No. 20 ranked (NJCAA DII poll) CCRI Knights men’s basketball team traveled to Rochester NY to compete in the District 2 Men’s Basketball Championship Game versus the No. 3 ranked Tribunes of Monroe Community College. The Knights lost to the Tribunes 85-78. With the loss the Knights end their season with a 20-12 record while Monroe CC improves to 29-3 and advances to the NJCAA National Championship Tournament in Danville, IL March 19th-23rd.
Monroe CC used some great outside shooting in the second half to defeat the Knights and secure the District 2 Championship 85-78. After a seesaw first half MCC took a three point lead into half time 34-31. CCRI utilized their zone defenses to distract the many MCC long range shooters to take a 48-45 lead with 13:24 left in the game. However those Tribune shooters finally found their range and hit four consecutive 3-pointers to put together a 12-2 run in a matter of three minutes at the 10:20 mark to go up 10 points with the score 64-54. The Knights continued to battle and cut the lead down to six points 73-67 with four minutes to play. But the clock worked against the Knights as they had to foul and MCC hit their foul shots to earn the hard-fought 85-78 victory.
The Knights were led by its trio of sophomores including: All-American Tri-Captain Desmond Williams (Torrington, CT) who scored 23 of his 27 points in the second half, while adding three assists, two blocked shots and five rebounds. Williams ends his CCRI basketball career as the No.4 all-time scorer with 1,332 career points, just eight points behind Rick Santos who score 1,340 in 1971-73. Tri-Captain Isaac Medeiros (Johnston, RI) charted a double-double scoring 17 points while pulling down 15 rebounds, and Tri-Captain Bryan Yarce (Cranston, RI) scored six points and dished out a game-high nine assists. Also playing well for CCRI was freshman Jerome Harris (Hartford, CT) who hit four 3-pointers for 12 points to go along with four assists, two blocked shots and two steals.
Head Coach Rick Harris commented after the game “Every team other than the team that wins the National Championship loses its last game and that is always tough. But I am extremely proud to have coached these sophomores and this team this year. They played one of the toughest schedules in the country and took everyone's best shots. We had a target on our back yet managed to win twenty games and the New England Championship. That was due to the fact that this team was not afraid to lose. They only played to get better and to do their best. This approach allowed them to have the best chance possible to become the best team that they were capable of becoming. Today it took an exceptional three point shooting performance by the No. 3 ranked team in the country on their home court to deny us the chance to get back to Danville, IL which stings right now. Our guys followed the game plan today and controlled the tempo for 65% of the game. Our team defense at times was outstanding but we just have to credit a talented Monroe team. They are a deserving National Tournament team. Tomorrow we will wake up and the sun will still be out. Most importantly we will recognize the fact that we gave our best physically and mentally and played exceptional team ball. These guys have created memories and friendships that will last a lifetime, much longer than the sting of this defeat. The coaching staff and I are proud to have worked with them this past season. Our sophomores have set the bar high for future Knights and they now are on to bigger and better things.”
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.