The Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute Cobras Mens Basketball team fought through a slow start and a tough opponent to earn a trip to Saturdays NJCAA Division III National Championship
Game in Loch Sheldrake, N.Y.
CCC&TI (29-6) defeated Eastfield College 72-68 Friday evening, holding off a late rally in a back-and-forth, physical match-up. The two teams faced off in the first round of last years NJCAA Division III National Championship tournament, with Eastfield (27-7) beating CCC&TI and taking second place in the tournament. On Friday, the Cobras had their revenge.
The championship game, which will be held at SUNY-Sullivan, will tip off at 7 p.m. Saturday. With the win, the Cobras advance to the championship game of the tournament for the first time. Its previous best finish in the National Championship Tournament was fourth place in 2013. The Cobras will face Rock Valley College Golden Eagles from Rockford, Ill., who later Friday night defeated defending national champions, Brookdale Community College, 80-59.
The Cobras were led by sophomore TJ Wilson, who scored 21 points and 7 rebounds. He was also 5 of 6 from the free throw line. Also scoring in double figures were freshman Lawrence Jackson with 17 points and freshman Justin Parham, who scored 15 and was a perfect 4 for 4 from 3-point range.
Eastfield dominated early in the game up by as much as 10, but the Cobras fought back to take their first lead of the game with about 4 minutes left in the first half and carried that lead into halftime. After several lead changes, the Cobras held off the Harvesters in the waning minutes of the game. There were seven lead changes in the game.