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CFCC wins Region X, Chants advance to title game

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SUPPLY, NC (CFCC RELEASE) - For the third time in six years, the Cape Fear Community College men’s basketball team advanced to National Junior College Athletic Association Championships by clinching the Region X Tournament. The Sea Devils defeated Brunswick Community College 99-89 in the conference finals at BCC on Saturday afternoon to move onto the national tournament for the third time in program history.
"I think today's win speaks volumes for where our program is right now," said CFCC Coach Ryan Mantlo. "We have such great support from the school, from the president on down to our athletic department, we are committed to doing the right thing on and off the court and it shows."

For the second time in as many days, Cape Fear bounced back from a sluggish start and trailed the Dolphins by as many as 11 early in the first half after Brunswick went on a 15-2 run over the opening 10 minutes."I think a I burned two timeouts early and told the guys that we shouldn't panic," said Mantlo. "And they responded. They've shown such great resiliency all year and it's really been a great experience to coach these guys."The Sea Devils closed the gap to 42-38 at the break and went on a 13-4 push to start the second half. Cape Fear took a 64-61 lead with 10:30 to go in the game and never looked back. "We did a great job of making adjustments at the half," said Mantlo. "We handled ball screens, played at a faster pace and it benefited us early in that second half."

CFCC will have a week layoff before traveling to Hutchinson, Kansas for the National Tournament March 17-22. "Honestly, I'm going to let this soak in a little bit and we'll figure out the schedule tomorrow," said Mantlo. "We'll likely take a day Monday to catch our breathe, but its really been awesome to see our guys buy in to what we like to do. They have grown so much throughout the year, and it's definitely been a pleasure to watch these guys grow from freshman to veteran like players down the stretch.

On the women’s side, Cape Fear dropped its opening round game to Catawba Valley 75-65 on Friday night. The Lady Sea Devils finished the season at 19-8 overall as freshmen Kristina Rumplasch and Eboni Gilliam were named to the all-region team along with teammate, sophomore Porsha Buchanan.

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Note: Elijah Wilson, mentioned below, is a Laney High grad.

CONWAY, SC (CCU) - No. 1 South seed and tournament host Coastal Carolina will return to the title game of the VisitMyrtleBeach.com Big South Men’s Basketball Championship for the first time since 2011 thanks to a staunch defensive effort during its 66-62 victory over No. 2 North seed VMI, Saturday afternoon at The HTC Center.

The Chanticleers (20-12) held VMI 26 points below its season scoring average while blocking 10 shots and holding the Keydets to 28.3 percent (17-of-60) from the field.

Coastal Carolina, which limited VMI (19-12) to one made field goal in the final 7:02 during a game-ending 11-5 surge, will meet No. 4 South seed Winthrop (20-12) in the championship game, Sunday at noon on ESPN2. Winthrop won both regular-season meetings with the Chanticleers, notching a 73-72 overtime victory at The HTC Center on Jan. 18 and winning by a 75-65 count in Rock Hill on Feb. 19.

In a nip-and-tuck contest with VMI which featured 14 ties and 14 lead changes, the Chanticleers went ahead for good with a late 6-0 burst. Freshman Elijah Wilson’s coast-to-coast layup at 2:19 made it 61-59, and Coastal Carolina never trailed again.

VMI pulled to within 63-62 on three Rodney Glasgow free throws with 1:29 to play, but misfired on its last two field goal attempts. The Chanticleers closed out the scoring with a Warren Gillis jumper and a Josh Cameron free throw.

Cameron led four double-digit scorers for the Chanticleers, tallying 17 points. Gillis added 12 tallies, while Wilson scored all 11 of his points after halftime.

Coastal Carolina controlled the interior, owning decisive advantages in rebounding (48-35) and points in the paint (36-14). Badou Diagne (11 points, 11 rebounds, 4 blocked shots) and Tristian Curtis (career-high 13 rebounds and three blocked shots) were a big reason why.

D.J. Covington scored 14 of his game-high 18 points after halftime for VMI and pulled down 12 rebounds for the game. Teammates Rodney Glasgow and QJ Peterson added 14 points apiece, with Peterson tallying five steals.

Back-to-back hoops by Wilson capped off an 8-2 burst for the home team, giving Coastal Carolina a 53-47 advantage with 11:26 on the second-half clock.

Covington then scored the first seven points of VMI’s ensuing 10-2 run. Peterson’s three-pointer from the right wing swished through the net with 7:03 left, putting the Keydets back on top, 57-55. But VMI made just one more field goal the rest of the way.

VMI hit only one of its first 10 field goal attempts on the afternoon, as Coastal Carolina grabbed an early 10-4 lead.

The Keydets countered with a 9-0 run, going in front by a 13-10 count on Tim Marshall’s triple from right in front of the VMI bench, 12:03 before halftime.

The lead changed hands five more times during a defensive-minded first half, before Cameron scored Coastal Carolina’s final eight points of the period, helping his team take a 34-33 edge into the locker room at halftime.

The opening 20 minutes saw eight blocked shots and a combined 31.3 (20-of-64) field goal percentage for the Chanticleers and Keydets.

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