Niagara Gazette — williamsville — The Niagara County Community College men’s and women’s basketball teams looked to have the upper hand on rival Eric Community College for 2013-14 following a home sweep on Feb. 4.
The Kats returned the favor in a big way Tuesday night, taking advantage of sloppy nights from both NCCC teams and evening the season series in each program’s second-to-last games of the regular season.
The NCCC women opened the night with a 59-54 loss that severely hurt their chances of hosting the NJCAA Region III tournament.
The teams played close the entire game. NCCC trailed 29-27 at half and the final score represented the largest lead either team had in the second half.
NCCC (24-4) led 52-50 with 2:11 left after Jaclyn Welch finished a put-back of her own rebound, but ECC (13-12) tied the game on the next possession on a pair of free throws.
The Thunderwolves had an opportunity to stay in control, but Kristine Ripson (Lewiston-Porter) missed a pair of free throws giving ECC possession. ECC’s Crystal Marion hit a mid-range jumper to take a 54-52 lead.
The Kats looked like they’d have a chance to pull ahead following a Welch miss, but a travel gave the ball back to NCCC. A well-executed inbounds play gave Ripson a clean look inside that she finished to tie it up with 57.4 seconds left.
The Kats’ Aaliyah Dunbar drove right on the next possession, drew a foul and knocked down both free throws to take a 56-54 lead.
NCCC took over with 35 seconds left, and point guard Jesse DeWaters (Royalton-Hartland) called a play out of a timeout. Ripson ran up from the post and took the ball, then looked for forward Alba Perez (Medina), who was cutting to the rim.
Ripson’s pass was tipped and ECC’s Jazzae Verse came up with it. She was fouled with 11.2 seconds left and knocked down her first free throw. She missed her second, giving NCCC a chance, but Dunbar came up with the rebound. She was fouled and knocked down both free throws to seal the win.