From March 8-10, SLCC will play host to some of the best junior college basketball action in the country, including both the defending men’s and women’s National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) national champions. All games will be played at Bruin Arena inside the Lifetime Activities Center on SLCC’s Taylorsville Redwood Campus.
Region 18 Men’s Bracket
No. 6 College of Southern Idaho will try to defend its title as Region 18 and NJCAA national champion, but the Eagles will be tested by the likes of SLCC, North Idaho College and Snow College. It’s winner-takes-all, with the Region 18 champion earning the right to play in a district playoff for a shot at the NJCAA National Tournament in Hutchinson, Kansas. The bracket consists of just five teams this year, with the College of Eastern Utah men’s team out of the Region 18 Championships due to suspension.
#1 Seed – #6 College of Southern Idaho (CSI) (27-3, 13-2 SWAC) – 1st Round Bye
The College of Southern Idaho Eagles seek their sixth Region 18 Championship since 2004. Fourth-year head coach Steve Gosar led CSI through another spectacular regular season run in 2012, with only two losses in perhaps the nation’s toughest junior college basketball conference. Led by the outstanding play of sophomore guard Fabyon Harris, CSI is the odds-on favorite heading into Region 18 play. CSI’s record has earned them a first round bye in Region 18.
#2 Seed – Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) (22-8, 9-6 SWAC) – 2nd Rd. vs. NIC on 3/9 @ 2 p.m.
The Bruins seek their first Region 18 Championship since their national championship run of 2009. First-year head coach Todd Phillips has led the Bruins to an excellent regular season record with exceptional play from the guard line, featuring sophomores Gabe Kindred and Darian Cartharn. Freshman guard Skyler Halford leads the Bruins in scoring and the Bruins possess dangerous post weapons such as sophomore center Jayson Cheesman and sophomore forward Marquis Horne. With a regular season finale road win over Snow College, SLCC earned a first round bye in Region 18 and will take on #3 seed NIC on Friday, March 9 at 2 p.m.
#3 Seed – North Idaho College (NIC) (23-7, 9-6 SWAC) – 2nd Rd. vs. SLCC on 3/9 @ 2 p.m.
The Cardinals of North Idaho College hope to win their first Region 18 Championship under eighth-year head coach Jared Phay. The Cards showed that they can beat anyone with a 75-71 victory over CSI in January. Led by the fantastic play of Antoine Hosley and Keon Lewis, NIC will be a tough team to beat. The Cardinals earned the #3 seed with a solid Scenic West Athletic Conference season. With the absence of the College of Eastern Utah men’s team due to suspension, NIC will play #2-seeded SLCC on Friday, March 9 at 2 p.m.
#4 Seed – Snow College (Snow) (22-8, 9-6 SWAC) – 1st Rd. vs. CNCC on 3/8 @ 7:30 p.m.
Snow College has won five of its last six games heading into the Region 18 Championships. The Badgers are chasing their first Region 18 title under fifth-year head coach Michael Ostlund. With talented shooters on the perimeter such as sophomore shooting guard Travis Wilkins and freshman shooting guard Connor Van Brocklin, the Badgers are a viable threat. The Snow College offense runs through sophomore point guard Brandon Vega and the Badger post presence is handled by freshman forward Tiegbe Bamba. Snow draws a first round matchup with #5 seed CNCC on Thursday, March 8 at 7:30 p.m.
#5 Seed – Colorado Northwestern (CNCC) ( 6-22, 1-14 SWAC) – 1st Rd. vs. Snow on 3/8 @ 7:30 p.m.
The Spartans of Colorado Northwestern Community College have had struggles in the Scenic West Athletic Conference, but the team is no longer taken lightly by its competition. Under second-year head coach Adrian Hayes, CNCC is cranking out Academic All-Americans and playing hard out on the hardwood. The Spartans showed their ability to compete with the best in the league by upsetting North Idaho College 74-69 earlier this season. Colorado Northwestern is an up-tempo basketball team, led by the aggressive play of sophomore guard TJ Tapusoa and the scoring ability of fellow sophomore guard Michael Willie. CNCC draws a tough test in round one of the Region 18 Championships and will take on #4-seeded Snow College on Thursday, March 8th at 7:30 p.m.
* College of Eastern Utah Men’s team is not participating in the Region 18 Championships.
Region 18 Women’s Bracket
The No. 7 North Idaho College women will defend their Region 18 title, but will need to play at their best. Snow College, SLCC, Eastern Utah and the College of Southern Idaho all have their sights set on winning the tournament and heading to Salina, Kansas for the NJCAA Women’s National Championships.
#1 Seed –No. 7 North Idaho College (NIC) (23-5, 12-3 SWAC) – 1st round bye
Currently ranked No. 7 in the nation, the Lady Cardinals of North Idaho College Cardinals are the defending NJCAA women’s basketball national champions. This season, head coach Chris Carlson has led the Cardinals to an 11-game win streak and a 14-1 home record. NIC hopes to claim the school’s fourth consecutive Region 18 Championship behind strong play from sophomores Korina Baker and Katie Buskey, all the while enjoying great contributions from freshman Julia Salmio.
#2 Seed – Snow College (Snow) (17-12, 10-5 SWAC) – 1st round bye
Under talented first-year head coach Natalie Visger, the Snow College Badgers are winners of three straight games heading into the Region 18 Championships. Snow’s signature win of 2012 was a 78-75 home overtime victory over defending national champ North Idaho College. With standout play from sophomore point guard Erica Martinez and freshman guard Tori McGrath, the Badgers are a legitimate contender to take the Region 18 title home with them to Ephraim, Utah.
#3 Seed – College of Eastern Utah (USU-CEU) (16-14, 8-7 SWAC) – Rd. 1 vs. #6 CNCC on 3/8 @ 2 p.m.
Utah State University’s College of Eastern Utah has made a strong run toward the top of the Scenic West Athletic Conference in 2012. With amazing play from perhaps the nation’s most dynamic junior college women’s basketball player Priscila Santos, the sky is the limit for head coach Dave Paur’s Eagles. Santos is the leading scorer in all of NJCAA women’s hoops, pouring in over 29 points per game. She led her team to a 10-point victory over defending SWAC and national champ NIC in the regular season finale. As the #3 seed, CEU draws the #6-seeded Lady Spartans of CNCC in round one of Region 18 play.
#4 Seed – College of Southern Idaho (CSI) (15-15, 7-8 SWAC) – Rd. 1 vs. #5 SLCC on 3/8 @ 5:30 p.m.
Hailing from Twin Falls, the College of Southern Idaho Eagles will try to claim their first Region 18 Championship since 2008 under head coach Randy Rogers. From February 4th-18th, the Eagles won five straight games, all on their home floor, and defeated every team in the Scenic West Athletic Conference during that span. CSI has used talented guard play from sophomores Mechala Barnes, Chakala Carthen, Tayllor Gipson and Kylee Shierman to run an up-tempo style of offense and will have a tough first round matchup with #5 seed SLCC.
#5 Seed – Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) (16-12, 7-8 SWAC) – Rd. 1 vs. #4 CSI on 3/8 @ 5:30 p.m.
16th-year head coach Betsy Specketer’s Bruins of SLCC have had an up-and-down ride this season, but have shown the ability to compete with the top teams in the nation when all pistons are firing. SLCC hopes to win the school’s first Region 18 championship since 2007 behind the always solid play of sophomore scorer Sofia Hepworth and the skill of sophomore forwards Nicole Newbold, Marissa Robbins and freshman standout Fawn Brady. The Bruins are slated for a tense first round matchup with #4 seed and rival CSI on Thursday, March 8 at 5:30 p.m.
#6 Seed- Colorado Northwestern (CNCC) (10-19, 1-14 SWAC) – 1st Rd. vs. CEU on 3/8 @ 2 p.m.
Though the Spartans of Colorado Northwestern Community College have struggled at times in the tough Scenic West Athletic Conference, the team and program are making strides and improving each season. Head coach Antowin Edwards Sr. has the Spartans playing very well, as evidenced by the team’s 74-69 win over North Idaho College earlier in the year. Led by the energetic play of sophomore point guard Jaynelle Johnson, the Spartans will take on #3-seeded Eastern Utah in round one of Region 18 action.