College Hoops: Davidson gears up for Region X tournament
At the Division III level of the National Junior College Athletic Association, there is only one way to reach the postseason playoffs. Win the conference tournament or go home.
Davidson County Community College will be nearly two hours from home today in the semifinals of the Region X tournament held in Wytheville, Va. To reach the district tournament, they will need to win two games. The scenario is simple enough but beating the opponents standing in their way is a lot more challenging. One slip-up and the season is over.
Up first will be a meeting with Sandhills Community College. A national champion two years ago, the Flyers have been beaten twice by the Storm. In the latest meeting Monday, Davidson embarrassed Sandhills 109-68. As talented of a team as the Flyers have, an outcome like that again is not likely. They can match the athleticism of the Storm and have a height advantage. It will be no easy game like last time around.
“Given that we swept Sandhills in the regular season and the way the game went Monday night, it does not make it any easier on us for Saturday's game,” said Storm coach Matt Ridge. “It takes a lot of talent to do what we have done, but it takes a lot of character to repeat what we have done. We have to be hungry and mentally ready to play.”
It almost came too easy for Davidson Monday. They shot better than 50 percent from the floor and put together one of the finer outings in the history of the school. But beating a team the caliber of Sandhills three times will be difficult. They had DCCC in trouble earlier in the year at home before the Storm fought back for a comeback victory. Additionally, they have beaten top-seeded Caldwell, who swept the season series against Davidson.
“We have got to keep a level head and just come in with the same mindset we did tonight,” said Storm shooting guard Robert Story following Monday's game.
A win for the 8th ranked Storm would likely pit them against Caldwell in the finals on Sunday. Rebounding has been a huge problem in both losses to the Cobras. Davidson would need to shoot a high percentage from the floor and keep the rebounding stats close to play on into next week.
“Caldwell is perhaps the best team on paper in the league,” Ridge said. “They are a big-time challenge to defend because they have so many weapons. I think our team has grown and are tougher than the last time we played them. If we are blessed with the opportunity to play them, I think they will see a much tougher team on Sunday.”
Sports Editor Zach Kepley can be reached at 888-3631, or firstname.lastname@example.org.