Rochester, MN - Sophomore Ray Adams, from Rochester John Marshall High School lead the Yellowjackets to a 90-83 Quarterfinal win today in the NJCAA Division III Men's Basketball Championships. The RCTC guard hit on 9-14 shots from the floor and added 8-11 from the line for a team leading 26 points in the win.
RCTC, who was playing their first game of the tournament, after having earned a bye as the #4 seed, came out of the gates a bit slow, as Richland took a 13-4 lead early. The Thunderducks who had played on Wednesday looked comfortable on the Jackets home floor. The Jackets found there game after the first five minutes and cut the Richland lead to 3 on a jumpshot by Ben Jackson. For the next six minutes the game once again swung in Richlands favor as they built a 29-18 lead with only 8:58 remaining in the first half. With only 44 seconds remaining in the period RCTC still trailed by ten, but a Jerome Cunningham lay-up followed by two Jackson free throws left the Jackets trailing by only 6 at the break.
The game stayed tight throught the early stages of period #2 with the Jackets knotting the game at 52-52 with 14:21 remaining on a lay-up by Cunningham. RCTC took its first lead a minute later as Elijah Flenorl knocked down two free throws to give the Jackets a 56-54 lead. The two teams continued to go back and forth as the Yellowjackets slowly extended to a 6 point lead with just over two minutes remianing. RCTC hit on 5 of 6 free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
In addition to the 26 points by Adams, Jerome Cunningham added 22, and Kong Kong had 14. Kong, the sophomore from Mankato, added 13 rebounds to pace RCTC on the glass. For the game RCTC shot 44% from the floor. The Jackets also hit on 39-55 free throw attempts. RCTC held the Thunderducks to 36% shooting, forced nine turnovers and had six blocks (5 of which were by Kong).
The win secures RCTC's spot in the National Semifinal tomorrow. The NJCAA has altered the National Tournament schedule due to concerns about the Coronavirus. All consolation games have been eliminated, and both the semifinals and Championship will be played on Friday. The game schedule is:
Friday, March 13th
Semifinal #1 - RCTC vs Sandhills 11:00am
Semifinal #2 - Mohawk Valley vs TBD 1:00pm
Championship Game - 6:00pm