THE FTCC Trojans Men’s Basketball team reached the NJCAA Region 10 Final Four in its first post-season year. Although, the team is disappointed that they could not advance further, the team exceeded expectations and will be ready next year when the opportunity comes again.
The Richard Bland Statesmen returned 7 players from their national appearance last year. That kind of post-season experienced helped them to ready themselves for the Trojans. The Trojans controlled the tip and scored, but were put back on their heels quickly as the Statesmen spread the court and pressured the Trojans beyond what they expected. They keyed on the shooters; keeping Tristen Rodriguez and Jabari Bowman from getting good looks for 3 pt shots. They were very physical with CJ Miller and Johnny Hughes inside. Nick Kuhns was kept at bay, as well. Bowman was able to slash to the basket at times and put up 22 pts along with Hughes’ 12 pts, but nobody else was at their season average. Too many shots around the basket just did not fall.
There were very few highlights in the game. The Statesmen opened a 32 pt. lead in the first half, but the Trojans were able to regain their composure long enough to get it back to 18 pts just before the half. They were able to do the same as the second half opened, but the experience of the Statesmen helped them to steady their game and pull away again. The lead was a s much as 44 pts. before the Trojans were done at the buzzer, 73-101. They were disappointed in the result, and gained an appreciation of what it takes to play in the post-season.
The excitement from the campus was great. Dr. Keen, Dr. Brand, and several other key administrators were in attendance. They all realized how intense the level of play at our level is. The first rows of the stands featured coaches from numerous four-year colleges scouting these teams for their future stars. Coaches from colleges in NC, SC, VA, GA, MD, WV, and OH were making notes. Several FTCC players will have great opportunities because they have played well in front of these coaches.
Although the Trojan’s season ended, they know that there are seven other region teams there were not able to advance to this game, in the Final Four. That is a great statement for this young program. The newest team in the region made this game in its first eligible year. The bar has been set, and the Trojans have made sure that the region knows that they are for real. Next year can’t come soon enough!
FTCC 30 43 73
RBC 50 51 101
FTCC Haymer, 2, Adams, 7, Kuhns, 7, Bowman, 22, Mims, 13, Stover, 3, Miller, 7, Hughes, 12
3 PT Bowman, 3
RBC Jones, 6, Hicks, 7, Patterson, 15, Smith, 13, Taylor, 2, Joyner, 12, Lloyd, 4, Dronjak, 10, Bing, 11, Trotman, 6, Southerland, 15
3 PT 10, Patterson 2, Smith, 2, Lloyd, 1, Dronjak, 3, Bing, 2