JDCC basketball to play today in regional tournament
The Jefferson Davis Community College Warhawk basketball team will begin play in the ACCC (Alabama Community College Conference) regional tournament Thursday in Tuscaloosa—three wins away from a regional championship.
The Warhawks, who have a first round bye, will play the winner of the Southern Union/Chattahoochee Valley game Wednesday, Thursday at 1 p.m.
JDCC, who is currently 18-8 overall, finished their conference schedule with an 11-3 record and finished first in their division to win the South Division Conference championship.
JDCC began their season in November with three straight losses to Pensacola State, Pensacola Christian and Southern Union. Following the three losses, the Warhawks won six-straight games before losing two in a row. JDCC would get two more wins before losing to Wallace Selma. After going 2-2 in their next four games, JDCC ended their season with seven straight wins.
“I think the 0-3 start was a combination of who we were playing,” JDCC head coach Allen Gainer said. Pensacola got as high as No.8 nationally, PCC is currently 21-9, and Southern Union is a strong team. All that and plus the fact that we are unable financially to play a host of preseason/exhibition games. When we played each of those teams, they had already played double-digit games in the preseason.”
Gainer said the biggest keys to the season this year has been the desire of the players. “They want to succeed and were willing to pay the price to make it happen,” Gainer said. “Each day in practice they compete and make the games easier than practice is. Having a great point guard in Larel Jackson that understands the game—when he can run and when we need to slow down—has been huge. It is the first time in my career that I’ve trusted a point guard to run the game himself without my input.”
Gainer said other players like Turmonte Ragland and Brandon Scott have such a chemistry playing together that they are able to do thing together that other players can’t. “They have a trust that the other one is in position to make a play or to help out if they individual get into trouble,” he said. “D.J. Jackson and Adam Stumpf have been so solid playing post defense that nobody is scoring on us in the paint even though we are undersized most nights. Greg Crum has brought intensity to the team that wasn’t there before Christmas. Sherman Presswood is able to score at will when we just can’t seem to find a basket. R.J. Bowers has caught fire from the 3-point line, stretching out our opponent’s defense. Malcolm Bell has made our press work properly, saving us against LBW and Bishop…games that should have been lost.”
Gainer added that players Derell Washington, Sedric Rudolph, and Rodney Scott have given the team solid depth that allows him not to fear going into his bench.
“This has been crucial during the marathon of the season, and will be big next in the tournament,” Gainer said. “We have a difficult, by doable road to the championship game. We will play the winner of CVCC and Southern Union. If we win that, we will likely play MMI or Faulkner. With some good luck and no injuries, there is a chance.”
Warhawk player Larel Jackson said this season has been a season of adversity starting with the three consecutive suffered at the beginning of the season and the continuing with the loss of a couple of players.
“The team knew the expectations that we had and continued to work hard,” he said. “This season became a successful one because these group of guys showed great character on and off the court.”
Jackson played a big part in the Warhawks win against Wallace Selma Monday at home. Leading by as many as 16 points in the second half, JDCC blew their lead and fell behind the Patriots by one. JDCC would rally to get the lead and hang on to win by one point. Jackson had a blocked shot late in the game to get the win and seal the conference championship.
“It was just the act of good timing and playing good team defense,” he said. “We had a great wall-up by Greg Crum and without fouling and I came over the top to get a piece of it. As far as the being the conference champs, it feels wonderful to win this title giving the school its first, and of course winning it with a group of deserving guys. I would like to thank all of our supporters through out the season and I would also like to give high praise to coach Gainer for giving me the blessing to play for JD and giving me even more knowledge of the game.”
Brandon Scott said the 2011-2012 season for the Warhawks has meant a lot for the whole team.
“Despite the slow start we never took our mind off the goal we have set,” he said. “That goal was to be the south division champs. And that feels really good that we accomplished that goal.”
One key game for the Warhawks this year was a double overtime home win against Faulkner State that JDCC won 105-100.
“We knew we had a tough game coming up with Faulkner so everyone already had their mind set to go out and win,” Scott said. “I look at that game as a test to see who really wanted the title the most. As a team we all pitched in and played our role. As we went into overtime the fans got more into the game so that gave the team the boost we needed to push forward. The harder we pushed the more they started to slow down that let us see who was really hungry for the title. Without the support from our fans and a great coach we would have never made it this far. Thanks to everyone for all of your support and commitment to the team.”
Turmonte Ragland has helped JDCC “steal” a lot of wins this season. Ragland set the school record for most career steals.
“It has been a good season for us,” Ragland said. “Getting the team steal record and the wins have been really good. We having been able to accomplish things because coach Gainer keeps us with a positive mind set. The team has really worked hard and two individuals stand out the most to me—R.J Bowers and Sherman Presswood. They have really stepped their game up.”
Ragland said the whole team is doing well this year.
“Greg Crum coming off the bench provides defense in buckets,” he said. “Malcolm Bell provides pressure on the ball. Adam Stumpf blocks shots. It’s just a lot of people getting together like family. Rodney Scott, Sedric Rudolph, Brandon Scott, D.J. Jackson, Derrell Washington, and Larel Jackson are like my brothers. I really play my heart out for them.”
While Gainer and the team has had a lot of success this season, Gainer said it has done a lot for him.
“Mostly what this season has done is to re-energize me,” he said. “Being around these guys that want to win and want to do what I’m asking has made me excited about going to practice each day. I’ll probably never have a group like this again.”
UPDATED: JDCC will play Chattahoochee Valley today at 1 p.m.
Here is the tourney bracket:
Here is the tourney stat page:
Watch the game live from this link:
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