FROM STAFF REPORTS The CCRI Knights men's basketball team traveled to Brockton, MA and the campus of Massasoit Community College to take on the Gateway Community College Lions in the Region XXI/East District Championship Game. The Knights' defense was
The CCRI Knights men’s basketball team traveled to Brockton, MA and the campus of Massasoit Community College to take on the Gateway Community College Lions in the Region XXI/East District Championship Game. The Knights’ defense was once again spotlighted as they held a strong Gateway team quiet, enabling a 78-68 victory. The win improves CCRI’s season record 23-10 overall and 19-3 in Region XXI play.
The final on Sunday would be the third meeting between Gateway and CCRI of the season. The Knights took the first meeting back in November 81-79 and the Lions took the second meeting 89-84 in January. The two teams came together knowing the winner would punch their ticket to the NJCAA DIII National tournament with the loser ending their season in Brockton.
Gateway started the hotter of the two teams and took an early lead. CCRI would steadily chip away at Gateway and took their own lead and entered the halftime break up by six points, 37-31. Balanced offense propelled the Knights in the early stages. Freshman Mikey Gamble (Hartford, CT) scored nine points with sophomore co-captain Elijah Lewis (Bridgeport, CT) scoring eight and freshmen Mitchel Noresca (East Providence) and Tyreek Davis (Torrington, CT) tallying eight and six points respectively. Gateway’s Douglas Daniels led all scorers with 11 first half points.
In the second half continued with CCRI slightly outpacing Gateway and building a lead as the clock ticked down. Freshman Bereket Janat (Westerly) came up big with 11 second half points, draining three three-pointers. Noresca improved upon his first half numbers as he scored 13 second half points to propel the Knights forward. The Lions never got within less than six points and CCRI would win the game and Region XXI Championship 78-68.
The Knights were led by Noresca as he tallied 21 points, 16 rebounds, one assist and one block. Noresca heads to the National Tournament with 21 double-doubles and leading the nation with 505 rebounds. Gamble produced 17 points, going 2-4 from three-point land with an additional eight rebounds, four assists and one steal. Janat chipped in 13 points, including team-leading three 3-pointers, four rebounds, two steals and one assist from the bench. Lewis tallied 10 points, with two threes from beyond the arc while adding three assists, two steals and one rebound.
The performances of Noresca, Janat and Gamble earned the trio spots on the All-Region XXI Tournament Team with Gamble earning Tournament MVP honors.
Head coach Rick Harris commented: “Great day for CCRI. Our defense was phenomenal and it seemed every game someone new stepped up. DelSesto on Saturday and Janat on Sunday. Real amazing to see this group come together. Really fun to see them play like a mature higher-level unit. So glad our season continues as they are a real fun group to be around.”
The CCRI Knights men’s basketball team will next be in action on Wednesday, March 11th as they travel to Rochester, Minnesota to take part in the NJCAA DIII National Tournament.