Kevin Murphy, Correspondent (@ on Twitter)
TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – The Tallahassee Community College men’s basketball team are on their way to the state tournament in Ocala for the second year in a row, both years being the first two of Coach Mark White’s tenure at Tallahassee Community College.
The Eagles head to Ocala with a season record of 24-6 overall, 7-5 in Panhandle Conference play, and looking to end a two game losing streak.
They also look to eventually reach the NJCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship in Hutchinson, Kansas after falling just one game short last year after losing in the state tournament’s championship game to Northwest Florida State College.
A possible rematch in the final game of the tournament with Northwest Florida looms, a fact that is not lost on the players and Coach White.
“Definitely, going to that game is definitely extra motivation,” said TCC Eagles freshman guard Jeremy Hayes said when asked about the possible matchup in the tournament. ” I feel that we really got a chip on our shoulder and we are ready for this tournament.”
Northwest Florida has been a thorn in the Eagles’ side this season, accounting for half of the teams’ losses.
“At this point I’m not going to let us lose to them four times,” TCC sophomore guard Kiair Crouch said. “I feel like it’s really something big on the line this time. We’re playing for a championship and a chance to go to Hutch. If the game is packed and the lights are on I know me and Jeremy are going to perform.”
Much of the Eagles’ success this season can be attributed to the play of Kiair Crouch, who was recently named the Panhandle Conference’s Newcomer of the Year. He leads the team with 15.4 points per game. The Eagles will look to Crouch to lead them against their first opponent in the tournament, St. Petersburg College.
“We are going to have to guard them the way we guarded them in our two games for us to be successful,” TCC head coach white said when by Franchise Sports reports on what TCC needed to do to beat St. Petersburg. “Defense and rebounding I really believe will be the determining factor.”
The team will start off the tournament against St. Petersburg College at 3p.m. on Thursday. This will be their third matchup of the year. The two previous meetings have gone in favor of TCC.