By Jim Tomerlin
On Feb. 16, the Commodores win streak continued, with an 89-56 victory against Wittenberg J.V. This success marked the seventh straight win for The Commodores.
Despite Wittenberg’s advanced skills and developed method of play, LCCC used the skills they’ve been working on and learning over the course of the season. Once again the key factor attributing to this win was the strong defense, especially at the other team’s goal. Passing and dribbling were kept to a minimum, which made for a successful effort in keeping the ball away from the Tigers.
“We did an excellent job executing the game plan,” said Coach Mike Cruz, “even though they (Wittenberg) were bigger than us and had a lot more bodies, we were able to win the rebound battle and convert points in the paint.”
The Commodores have been busy developing key strategies, which should hopefully result in success for the playoffs in March.
“Our guys brought a great deal of energy to tonight’s game and had sustained it for forty minutes and if we can build on tonight’s effort and continue to improve every day we can beat anyone in the country,” said Cruz.
Jacob Pope scored yet another double-double with 23 points and 10 rebounds. Greg Fite scored 20 points and Anthony Burns scored 13 points and 4 steals.
After breezing thru Butler County Community College 96-59, collecting their eighth straight win, The Commodores came home to finish the season against Mercyhurst Northeast. losing to the Saints 84-78. After the Commodores started off the game with a 15-2 run, sloppy defense and early foul trouble for Jacob Pope and Erol Stone, erased the lead in the first 10 minutes.
“It was a big part of the game but ultimately didn’t cost us the game,” said Cruz, “we had too many unforced mistakes tonight and that’s what cost us the game.”
The second half was as just as frustrating as the first. When the Commodores caught up with the Saints, more fouls and bad defense further the scoring divide. The Commodores were very uncharacteristic, committing 3 technical fouls in the game.
“Our guys didn’t keep their composure and it falls on me,” said Cruz.
Randy McCormick, Commodore guard, shouldered the some of the blame for the rest of the team. “Our attitudes and bad calls affected the game.” The Commodores finished the regular season as they had started, losing the game 84-78. However, even with the loss, the Commodores qualified for the playoffs.
The Commodores will be competing in the NJCAA Division III, Region 4 tournament in Madison College (9-18), Madison, Wis., from Feb. 29 to March 4, as the fifth seed. Even though the Commodores have lost the chance for a home game, the Commodores will be facing fourth seed Madison College, host of the tournament. The lucky advantage here would be, unlike the other teams, the only travel the Commodores would make is to Madison itself. Should the Commodores move past the Wolfpack, all they have to do is sit and wait for the rest of the participants to come to them. However, Cruz does have one small misgiving over the tournament seeding.
“It’s sad we will not be able to have a home game,” said Cruz, “however, at the end of the day we still have to play the games.”
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