Following the Bruin’s conference championship victory, they hit the road to part take in the district I championship against the number tenth ranked Central Arizona.
SLCC has proven to be one of the toughest teams in the conference and most impressive when coming back from deficits under which most other teams would.
Small forward JuWan Buccanan tried his best to put his team on his back scoring an outstanding 24 points and with two assists. Skyler Halford chipped in with a quiet 14 points and one steal while Sai Tummala paced a confident 13 points.
On the defensive end of the court Gary Payton II did what he does best, and played with high intensity, snatching away five steals and ruthlessly swatting four blocks.
This time they couldn’t find the right components to secure the win, and ended up taking a loss to Central Arizona
“It was a good game and it was close, they just made more plays than us down the stretch,” said head coach Todd Phillips.
Between the coaches and the players, the Bruins knew the core problem for the unwanted L on the record sheet.
“Well, we simply weren’t making shots and the plays we are accustomed to making late in games,” said point guard Morgan Hesleph.
“They played more hungry than us. We now need to focus on playing every game like it’s our last, “says Phillips.
Although the loss happened at the end of a great season, it is not the defining moment. SLCC got a Bid and now is entering the National Tournament to reclaim their presence.
The Bruins have an 28 and 4 record, and now have a chance to prove something big in the National Junior College Tournament which hosts the best Junior college team from around the country.
The Bruins have not attended this highly acclaimed tournament since 2009 when they won it all
Now reaching this point again, the Bruins are looking very proud and feeling very optimistic.
“I am really exited; we haven’t been there since 09’ and we are confident going into this tournament,” says Phillips.
SLCC does not have any doubts when considering there team and the depth they have. The Bruins do not fall short after the starting five, but have a strong supporting cast.
“I look to multiple players to step up and take a strong role, there is no one in particular that consistently controls that role, any given game there are many different players that can take over,” says Phillips.
On March 18, the Bruins will make their way to Hutchinson Kansas to compete against the top teams in the country. They will once again match up with Central Arizona if they win their first game against Eastern Oklahoma.
In order to win the entire tournament SLCC will have to beat five very tough teams in grueling battles.