College Hoops: Bigger prize awaits winner of Tarheel Conference
Winning the regular season in the Tarheel Conference will mean more than just a No. 1 seed in the conference tournament in 2013. It will get the victor a ticket into the district round, leaving them one step away from a spot in the field of eight at nationals.
That free pass is something Davidson County Community College head coach Matt Ridge, would like to obtain. The Storm have either tied or outright won Region X the last six years, but that has only gotten them a better seed for the conference tournament where the last team standing was the only representative in the district round. With the new rule put in play, the Tarheel Conference will now send two further into the postseason.
“Our regular season means a lot more than it normally does,” said Ridge. “We are hoping we can get off to a great start Wednesday against Caldwell Community College. In my opinion they are the best Caldwell team we have played in our six years.”
Storm players returned to the floor for practice Tuesday, a little more than three weeks since their last game when the Clinton Junior College Golden Bears delivered a haymaker under the chin.
“The guys seem excited to be back on the court together,” Ridge said. “We have a few legs that were a little more in shape than others, but we are getting the rest of them back in shape and will hopefully be ready to rock and roll by Wednesday.”
Davidson was careless with the ball the first half of the season averaging 20 turnovers per game. While that stat does not please Ridge, it was the lack of toughness the Storm showed against the Golden Bears that has him concerned most.
“Not taking care of the ball will get you beat quicker than just about anything,” he said. “We have got to make the easier plays. At times, our guys try to make passes they should not try. But on the flip side we just need to be tougher. That is one thing last year’s team was phenomenal at. It is hard to teach competitiveness and toughness, so we are hoping what we have been doing in practice will make our guys tougher. I think them seeing themselves get outhustled by Clinton will help them realize that we have got to be humble and hungry and come to work every day.”
DCCC currently has four players averaging double figures. Freshman Daniel Lawson is tops on the team with 15.9 points. Fighting for a jersey in the preseason, Lawson has turned it on and has earned the starting nod at the two-spot. Sharpshooter Robert Story is tallying 12.3 points a game. Most of that comes from behind the arc where he is shooting 35 percent. Sophomore Torian Showers has an average of 10.2 points and hits 44 percent from deep. Brandon Clyburn has burst onto the scene the last few games and averages 10.1 points. He has shown some nice moves in the post and is not afraid to step out and knock down shots around the perimeter.
Davidson will travel to Southside Virginia Community College today before a run of three conference games against the Cobras, Wytheville, and defending national champion Sandhills.
Sports Editor Zach Kepley can be reached at 888-3631, or firstname.lastname@example.org.