Niagara Gazette — For the first time this season, the Niagara County Community College men’s and women’s basketball teams lost both ends of a doubleheader Saturday afternoon in a pair of Western New York Athletic Conference games at Monroe Community College in Rochester.
The women dropped their first game of the season in heartbreaking fashion when Monroe’s Ayanna Ratliff hit a 3-pointer at the closing buzzer of the first overtime to push the Tribunes to a 70-67 win. It was Ratliff’s second dagger of the game after hitting a 3 at the end of regulation to send the game to overtime.
Jaclyn Welch led NCCC (21-1, 2-1) with 22 points, while Kristine Ripson (Lewiston-Porter) finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Jesse DeWaters (Royalton-Hartland) filled up the stat sheet with 12 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, and Tanisha Moyer (Albion) chipped in 12 points and five boards.
The Thunderwolves entered the game ranked No. 18 in National Junior College Athletic Association Division II, while Monroe was ranked No. 24 in NJCAA Division I. Because the teams play in the same conference but separate divisions, the game doesn’t count toward NJCAA Region III, which NCCC is part of.
No NCCC women’s team has ever beaten MCC.
The men took their second loss of the season, though with much less drama. NCCC struggled from the field and from the free throw line as it fell 87-76.
“We were just off today,” men’s coach Bill Beilein said. “Monroe has a lot of tradition behind them, and we lost composure and didn’t execute.”
Sheldon Zablotny led NCCC (19-2, 3-1) with 20 points, four assists and four rebounds. Eli Jones had 16 points and eight boards, while Jordan Street (Niagara Falls) added 16 points and three rebounds.
NCCC shot just 42 percent from the field and 12 percent (2 for 16) on 3-pointers. The Thunderwolves also shot just 58 percent from the stripe, missing 17 free throws, and had only 10 assists after averaging over 20 all season.
“We didn’t execute and it led us into bad shots,” Beilein said.
NCCC was ranked ninth in the NJCAA Division II poll, while MCC (16-5, 4-0) was an honorable mention.
Both NCCC teams get a shot at redemption Tuesday when they travel to take on Jamestown Community College. The women tip off at 5:30 p.m. with the men following around 7:30 p.m.