Knights enjoy a banner weekend
Allen wins two national titles, both basketball teams capture regions
The CCRI indoor track team was represented by Bobby Allen (Cranston) at the 2012 NJCAA indoor track & field championships at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Ill. Over 600 athletes from various NJCAA colleges competed at the championships. All participants qualified for the championship meet by reaching the qualifying standard in their respective event. Allen became the national champion in two events: the 3,000-meter run and the mile run. He was the first CCRI student-athlete to win two indoor championships at the same meet (Jasmine Jennings won the hammer and shot put in the outdoor track & field championship in 2005). By winning both races, he also earned first-team NJCAA All-American honors for both events in indoor track & field. These were Allen’s second and third national championships and All-American honors, as he also won the 2011 NJCAA Division III cross country national championship this past November at Holyoke Community College.
The first event for Allen at the championship meet was the 3,000-meter run finals, which was held Friday night. Allen won in a time of eight minutes and 34.87 seconds, out-kicking sophomore Stanley Kebenei from Iowa Central Community College on the last lap and winning by the narrow margin of just .27 seconds. Kebenei finished second in a time of 8:35.14. Kebenei, who came to Iowa Central from Nakura, Kenya, entered the race with the fastest time on the 3,000-meter run performance list this year with an impressive 8:10.15 at the Tyson Invitational February 10th. Allen was third on the performance list, running a CCRI record time 8:29.27 at the Boston University Valentine Invitational on the same day.
Allen and Kebenei later faced-off at the championships on Saturday, where they were the top two seeds in the mile run. Once again, Allen’s finishing kick proved to be too much for Kebenei. Allen won the mile run in an impressive time of 4:14.93, outpacing Kebenei by .7 seconds. Kebenei came into the race as the top seed, having the fastest mile time this year of 4:11.03, narrowly edging the performance of Allen’s CCRI record time of 4:11.79 that he set at Boston University in January. However, head-to-head, Allen proved to be the superior runner at the championships, as he secured his second championship and second first-team All-American honor in two days. It wasn’t a lost day for Kebenei, as he was national champion in the 1,000-meter and 5,000-meter runs.
“We are all proud and happy for Bobby who continues to rewrite the history books here at CCRI,” CCRI head coach Gregg Cornell said.
Knights take Region XXI with record-setting 27th win
The No. 3 CCRI Knights men’s basketball team hosted the Colts of Orange County Community College from Middletown, N.Y. for the Region XXI championship game on Sunday. The Knights defeated the Colts 83-69. With the victory, the Knights picked up their school-record 27th win, against only four losses. In addition, the Knights advanced and will host the District 11 Championship Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Vincent A. Cullen Fieldhouse, located on the CCRI Campus in Warwick, versus Region XIX champion Lackawanna College from Scranton, Penn.
The Knights and Colts had faced each other earlier in the season during November, with the Knights winning 74-54, but both teams were had improved during the season. The Knights were ready, as five players scored in double figures and three of them charted double-doubles. The Knights and Colts battled back-and-forth in the first half, trading baskets until the Knights took a small 40-35 lead into halftime.
In the second half, the Knights used their patented 1-3-1 half-court press and went on a 13-3 run in the first five minutes of the half. The Knights increased their lead to as many as 18 points, but the Colts chipped away and got it down to 15 points, with the score 73-58 with only 4:45 left. However, the Knights kept the Colts at bay for the rest of the game to secure the 2012 Region XXI Championship.
Desmond Williams (Torrington, Conn.) was voted outstanding player of the championship with another remarkable performance, scoring 24 points with four blocked shots, four steals, three rebounds and two assists. Williams was helped by point guard Bryan Yarce (Cranston) with 10 points and 12 assists, captain Trevor Mabry (Norwich, Conn.) with 18 points, 10 rebounds with three blocks and Roger Livramento (Central Falls) with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Also helping the Knights were Isaac Medeiros (Johnston) with 10 points, three rebounds and two blocked shots and captain Chris Canino (Hartford, Conn.), who added seven rebounds and three steals.
“Our team play and following the game plan were the keys to this historic win,” CCRI head coach Rick Harris said. “I am proud of the team for winning the regional championship and now it’s on to the district tournament.”
Lady Knights beat 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, N.Y. The Lady Knights faced the defending national champions and currently No. 10 (NJCAA D-II poll) Mustangs of Monroe College. The Lady Knights captured the Super Regional Championship and top seed in the District N-O Tournament next weekend, doing so with a 65-60 victory. The Lady Knights improved to 19-11 on the season and advanced to the district championship.
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 points 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 finish by the Lady Knights.
With the score tied 58-58 with just 41 seconds left in the game, CCRI center Jenna Ayala (Pawtucket) 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, Conn.) and captain Jahira Smith (Norwich, Conn.) to hold the Mustangs scoreless in the final minute of the game until a meaningless Verdine Warner basket as the buzzer sounded, giving the Lady Knights their first regional tournament victory since 2008 versus Orange County Community College.
For the second straight night 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. Porcher averaged 21.5 points, 13 rebounds, three assists and 1.5 steals during the championship. Smith, who had 16 points, four assists, four rebounds and two steals helped Porcher on Sunday. Also helping the Lady Knights was Jess Randall (Warwick) with eight points and four rebounds and Ayala, who added seven points, including the game winning 3-pointer, and eight rebounds.
Rounding out the CCRI attack was Moe Plummer (Fairfield, Conn.) with five points and five rebounds and Celina Rosa (Plantation, Fla.), who played lock-down defense while adding four points, two assists and two rebounds.
“I am truly proud of these young ladies,” CCRI head coach Kate Lynch said. “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.”
The District N-O Division II women’s basketball championship tournament is set to begin this weekend. The teams participating are the No. 1 seed Community College of Rhode Island from Warwick, the No. 2 seed Monroe College from New Rochelle, N.Y, the No. 3 seed Union County College from Cranford, N.J. and the No. 4 seed Lackawanna College from Scranton, Penn. The district tournament will be held Saturday and Sunday March 10th and 11th at the Monroe Athletic Complex in New Rochelle, N.Y. The schedule of games is as follows:
Saturday, March 10th
Game 1 – No. 1 CCRI vs. No. 4 Lackawanna College, 3 p.m.
Game 2 – No. 2 Union County College vs. No. 3 Monroe College, 5 p.m.
Sunday, March 11th
Championship game – Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2, 1 p.m.
*Winner of games one and two will advance to NJCAA Division II National Tournament at Illinois Central Community College in East Peoria, Ill. on March 20-24.