Though many men’s basketball teams at Lorain County Community College have made it to the playoffs, the 2016-17 team is the first to have something to show for it.
The Commodores’ beat Columbus State Community College’s Cougars in overtime 107-104 to win the regional championship, the first in school history.
“Our team as a whole, we played for each other,” said coach Eggleston. “This is the first time the LCCC men’s basketball team won the regional championship in their history.”
After CSCC scored the game’s first four points, LCCC went on a 17-3 run in four-and-a- half minutes. Their main scorers were Jarred Schultz and T.J. Steele, combining for 10 of the 17 points. Schultz added multiple assists for LCCC during the run.
The Commodores would keep the lead until the end of the first half, which is when CSCC tied the score 39-39. The Cougars would take the lead momentarily until Steele made a 3-point shot and Schultz added a layup to retake the lead. The half ended with the Commodores on top 44-42.
“We said right from the door, ‘We need to get in and we need to get started right from the beginning,’” said Eggleston. “We didn’t want to be in the position where we were losing and had to fight our way back.”
The Cougars had 13 offensive rebounds in the first half.
“In the first half we really struggled to rebound,” said coach Eggleston to LCCC Athletics. “That hurt us early and we knew we had to get going on that in the second half.”
CSCC had four players crashing the boards, which made it difficult for the Commodores to grab any rebounds, according to Eggleston.
During the last minute of regulation, the Cougars’ Juwan Demmings made one of two free-throw attempts. He later fouled Steele, who is currently ranked 10th in DIII in points per game.
Steele, who played on an injured ankle, converted both of foul shots to make the score a 3-point game, 90-87.
With 16 seconds left in regulation, LCCC’s Mike Rell fouled CSCC’s Rodney Willis as he lined up to shoot a three. Willis, who ended the night with 35 points, made all three free throws.
The game was headed to overtime.
Steele scored 10 of the Commodores’ 17 points in overtime and finished the game with 26 points. He shot over 50 percent from the field, went 6-8 from 3-point land, and was a perfect 6-6 at the at the foul line.
Schultz finished the game with 31 points, 12 rebounds, and 6 blocks.
“[Schultz] played a tremendous game,” said coach Eggleston. “He played for his teammates. He wanted to help make it happen for his teammates and he played for them.”
Throughout the game, LCCC committed 29 fouls.
“When you play aggressive defense you may tend to foul, and we played aggressive defense and it was a part of the game,” says coach Eggleston.
“The guys are so excited and I am happy for them,” said head coach Marty Eggleston. “This [regional championship] is about them and the work that they put in all season long.”
The Commodores played the District Championship game in Elgin, IL on March 4. The Commodores took on the fourth-ranked Division III team in the country, Elgin Community College, and lost 86-68.