By Peter Briguglio
The month of February has come to a close and the Region XV tournament has begun. CUNY Conference champions have been crowned, now all that is left is to determine who will represent the region at this year’s NJCAA National basketball tournaments. Below we recap key games throughout the past month and take a look at some early playoff results.
DIII Women’s Basketball
The CUNY Championship finals matchup on the women’s side matched up the home Borough of Manhattan Community College Panthers versus the Hostos Lady Caimans. Hostos went into the game ranked 9th in the nation and undefeated in CUNY conference play this season.
The #1 seeded Hostos struggled early on against BMCC and never seemed to get comfortable throughout the game. Though BMCC out-rebounded and shot a better percentage from the field overall, Hostos came away with the victory behind their defensive focus. The Lady Caimans forced 29 turnovers in the championship game, scoring 23 points off those turnovers.. Hostos’ Cashmir Fulcher scored 24 points on 9-for-16 shooting from the field with 9 rebounds in the game to lead the Lady Caimans to a 66-53 championship victory.
After defeating Sullivan in a double-overtime thriller in the final regular season game of the year, Hostos earned the Region XV tournament’s #1 seed and is riding a 22-game winning streak into the playoffs.
Sullivan will enter as the #2 seed in the tournament following their loss to Hostos.
The winner of the Region XV Tournament will advance to NJCAA nationals, which will take place at Mohawk Valley CC in Utica, NY, from March 16-18.
DIII Men’s Basketball
Last month’s CUNYAC Men’s Basketball Championship saw the #3 BMCC Panthers upset the #2 Hostos Caimans, while the #1 LaGuardia Red Hawks earned their second consecutive title bid after trouncing the #4 Bronx Broncos. That set up a rematch of the 2016 Championship game, which went in favor of LaGuardia by a score of 75-72.
Defeating BMCC appeared to be no small task as the Red Hawks had to contain CUNYAC Rookie of the Year Terrell Fullerton and the NJCAA’s leader in rebounds this season with 17.3 per game Jericho Cherisma on BMCC’s home court.
The Red Hawks and Panthers battled it out for majority of the game leading up to a 62-62 deadlock with about six minutes left in regulation time. It was then that a surge of offense from CUNY All-Star Mahlik Sherlock, who led the team with 23 points on 9-for-11 shooting with 9 rebounds in the game, and Leon Antwi, who netted 19 points off the bench, put LAGCC in the lead for good. CUNYAC Coach of the Year Ben Chobhaphand saw his Red Hawks team win the game 82-69 and the tournament for the second consecutive season.
All that is left now for the Red Hawks, and the rest of Region XV, is the Region XV Tournament. The Region’s defending champion Nassau Lions have earned the #1 seed with a 22-7 overall record and a 17-3 regional record, earning the tie-breaker over #2 seed and #10 nationally ranked Sullivan. LaGuardia will enter as the #3 seed.
The winner of the Region XV Tournament will advance to NJCAA nationals, which will take place at The UCR Regional Sports Center in Rochester, Minnesota, from March 16-18.