February 22, 2010
First playoff title for TC3
DRYDEN — It has become the best season ever for Tompkins Cortland Community College men’s basketball.
Using a pair of former Southern Tier Athletic Conference rivals, the top-seeded Panthers followed up their Mid-State Athletic Conference regular season title with the conference tournament championship Sunday on their home court.
Co-tournament MVP Chris Cartwright scored a game-high 26 points and his back-court mate Tynez Wilson added eight points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals to lead top-seed TC3 (20-5) to a dominating 95-76 victory over second-seed Broome Community College (17-10).
It is the first conference tournament championship in the Dryden school’s history.
“It’s a great feeling,” said Cartwright, a former Binghamton High standout in his sophomore year at TC3, after being named co-MVP. “It’s so amazing because I was named Conference Player of the Year and now I share the conference tournament MVP honors with Tynez.
“This is really a great team,” he added. “Our defense was the key to the win today. I really think we have the best guards and big men. People might under-estimate us little guys since Tynez and I are only 5-foot-7, but we have come together real well. You add C.C. (Charleston Collins, Jr.), Michael (Martin) and Josh (Delfino) and we have a real solid starting group, plus all the rest of the guys that come off the bench and you have a great team.”
“We all play together like a family,” said Wilson, the sophomore who graduated from Union-Endicott, a big STAC rival of Binghamton. “We all feed off of each other. We help each other out and all had the same goal in mind. This is an amazing feeling to win the both conference titles. I am really proud of everyone on this team. We came out strong at the being of the season and have kept it up.
“It’s nice to win to be tournament co-MVP,” he continued, “but I couldn’t have done it without my teammates.”
When Darius Garland sank one of two free throws, Broome CC had its only lead of the game 6-5 with 16:29.
The lead was short-lived as Wilson drive the lane 12 seconds later to put the Panthers back on top 7-6. Cartwright added two free throws and Martin buried the first of his four 3-pointers as TC3 raced to a 12-6 lead.
THE HORNETS from Binghamton hung tough. getting as close as one-point, but the Panthers kept little spurts of their own going to build advantage back up. Cortland High graduate Trevor Williamson scored on an offensive putback with 6:14 left in the first half to give TC3 a 29-21 lead.
Cartwright started an 13-1 run with 4:57 left in the half by hitting a 3-pointer. Greg Mudge came off the bench to hit a short pull-up jumper and a right-wing trey as the Panthers now led 39-26 with 3:03 left in the half. Cartwright then ended the run with another 3-pointer as TC3 was up 42-27 with 1:36 on the clock.
Matt Mullins brought Broome back in the closing 90 seconds by twice scoring on driving lay-ups while being fouled. He added the free throws as the Hornets got to within 42-33. Broome trailed 42-34 at the end of the half.
The second half saw Delfino beginning to take charge. The 6-8 Newfield grad began pulling down rebounds and scoring in the paint as the Panthers kept the lead around 10 points.
With 13:29 remaining, Cartwright started another TC3 run. He made two fouls shots to pt the Panthers up 62-50. On a driving lay-up, Cartwright scored again and was fouled. His free throw completed the 3-point play for a 65-50 advantage with 12:55 to go.
Mudge gave TC3 its biggest lead, 25 points, with two free throws with 3:30 remaining. Those tosses put the Panthers out front 89-64.
Williamson scored the final two Panther points with 49 seconds remaining for a 95-73 lead before Peter Knudsen from Denmark hit a final 3-pointer for Broome with 42 seconds left to make the final score 95-76.
Delfino finished with a double-double of 11 points and 15 rebounds, plus five blocked shots. He set new school records for rebounds in a conference game and the season for his efforts Saturday. Martin also hit double figures. The former Spencer-Van Etten Panther netted 16 points, Collins added 14 points and Mudge tallied 12 points.
Mullins finished with 16 points for Broome CC. Keenan Belle and Nate Rittenburg each netted 10 points.
“I CAN’T EXPRESS what it means to win this first conference tournament title,” TC3 coach Dave Stevenson said as he watched his players cut down the net from the rim in front of the team’s bench. “It is always about the kids, not me. This is a great group of kids. It was nice to win it at home. It was a special effort by a special group.
“We got four guys that stand 5-7 and they all go after every ball,” he added. “We always try to pressure the rim offensively. They can take guys off the dribble and our big guys inside are there to help out. We all do what we have to do to win games.”
The Panthers were hoping to play a few more games in their nice two-year old gymnasium this season, where the posted a 13-1 record. The lone loss was a 93-74 setback to Mohawk Valley CC back Nov. 4.
Since then, TC3 ran off 12 straight wins at home.
That loss to the Hawks proved costly, however, when the NJCAA Region III playoff bids were announced Sunday night. The Panthers received the third seed and begin play at 6 p.m. Friday in the quarterfinal round at Jefferson CC in Watertown.
Ironically, the Panthers will face sixth-seed Broome CC for a fourth time this season. TC3 is 3-0 against the Hornets to date. They are the only two MSAC teams in the 10-team field.
Herkimer County CC got the top seed and Mohawk Valley is the number two seed heading into play in Watertown. Following TC3 in the seedings are Hudson Valley CC and Schenectady County CC to complete the top five.
SUNY-Delhi is the seventh-seed with North Country CC, Adirondack CC and Fulton-Montgomery CC rounding out the 10 seeds. Those lower four seeds will be involved in sub-regional games Tuesday with the two winners advancing to the quarterfinals against the top two seeds.
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