By Jim Riggs
It has been quite a four-day stretch for Tyreek Jewell of the Jamestown Community College men's basketball team.
Jamestown Community College’s Tyreek Jewell throws down a dunk over Lakeland’s Maurion Johnson during Tuesday’s NJCAA Division II basketball game at the Physical Education Complex. See Additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J photos by Lisa Monacelli
On Saturday night he scored 31 points to spark a lifeless JCC team to a win in the semifinals of The Post-Journal Classic. In the championship game on Sunday, he scored 22 points and pulled down 10 rebounds for most valuable player honors to help the Jayhawks win the title.
Jewell picked up where he left off on Tuesday night in an NJCAA Division II game against the Lakeland CC Lakers. He had 23 points and 10 rebounds, but it was his last three points that were the most important.
With Lakeland leading 73-71 with 8.1 seconds left in overtime, the ball was inbounded from under the JCC basket to Jewell, who dribbled across halfcourt. Then from 25 feet he hit a 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded to give the Jayhawks a 74-73 win.
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JCC coach Mike Cordovano said that was the play he drew up during a timeout - for Jewell to take the final shot. But he pointed out, ''I didn't tell him to stand there for five seconds with a dribble. A shot like that, you've got to make it on the move. He stood there dribbling it and I couldn't believe that he got away with it.''
He added, ''But thing is he elevates so high. He's such an athlete that when he took that shot he just elevated over the defender. When we went out there I see 6-6, 6-5, 6-5, 6-5 and he was still able to shoot over the guy that was guarding him.''
Jewell said, ''It was like a moment you always dream of as a little kid. I've never had the opportunity to hit a buzzer-beater like this except in video games.''
And he felt it was finally going to happen.
''I just felt it in my gut,'' Jewell said. ''I just believed in myself.''
He admitted he wasn't sure the shot was going in when it left his hand.
''It looked a little off, but it gave me a little lucky bounce,'' the 6-foot-2 Bronx resident said.
The win was JCC's fourth straight and it finishes the first semester at 6-8. Lakeland, which is listed under honorable mention in the NJCAA Division II rankings, falls to 6-5.
''I've got to hand it to those kids,'' Cordovano said about the Lakers. ''They won that game and they lost that game in five seconds and everyone of those kids shook my hand and that was a lot of class from that team. That was a tough thing to do to shake our hands and they've got a lot of class.''
Right behind Jewell's heroics was the play of 6-8 Ohndo Smith, who finished with 21 points and 18 rebounds. Jabar Williams had 16 points and Kasean Jackson had nine points, seven assists and two steals.
Midway through the first half, Lakeland had a six-point lead before JCC responded with eight straight points, the last four on a dunk and putback by Jewell, to take a two-point lead. But by halftime to was the Lakers in front by a pair, 32-30.
The Jayhawks took and maintained their slim lead through the first six minutes of the second half. Then Lakeland exploded for 14 straight points, all inside with eight by 6-4 Kenneth Evans and six by 6-5 Maurion Johnson, to take a 10-point lead.
''We don't defend the dribble drive,'' Cordovano said. ''That's why they kept beating us under the basket well.''
Up to that point, Jewell had scored only six second-half points. But then it was like he said, ''I think you need me now'' as he scored 10 points, capped with two 3-pointers, in about four minutes to lead JCC three-point lead with 1:30 left to play.
''We need him because we don't have a lot of scoring,'' Cordovano said. ''It's pretty much two-man scoring and that's why we were down 10 because nobody else was scoring in that second half.''
Lakeland tied the game at 64-64 on a bucket by Johnson with 16 seconds left.
Rasheed Howard of the Lakers fired up a possible winning shot at the buzzer, but it was off the mark and the game moved into overtime.
In the extra five minutes, neither team held more than a two-point lead and the Jayhawks had the last lead on Jewell's 3-pointer at the buzzer.
JCC entered last week with a 2-8 record and talked about finishing the semester with four straight wins and it happened.
''We shot ourselves in the foot in the fall,'' Cordovano said. ''We had to learn some lessons. They didn't fold and they bonded together. It's not just about basketball this four straight, it's about the quality of kids coming together this last two weeks.''
With the team on a roll, when asked if he felt like playing again in a few days, Cordovano said, ''It's time for them to go home.''
The Jayhawks return to action on Jan. 7 at 7 p.m. with a game at Lorain County CC in Elyria, Ohio.
McNair 1 2-3 4, Billingsley 0 0-0 0, AWilliams 1 0-0 2, Fleming 1 2-2 4, Johnson 8 1-2 17, Little 1 0-0 2, Cheers 1 0-0 2, Solivan 1 0-0 2, Alli 0 0-0 0, Evans 10 1-4 21, Davidson 0 0-0 0, Howard 7 5-11 19, Totals 31 11-22 73.
KJackson 4 1-2 9, JJackson 1 2-4 5, Reyes 0 0-0 0, Peck 0 0-0 0, Jewell 8 4-7 23, JWilliams 7 2-3 16, Liddell 0 0-0 0, Smith 8 5-9 21, Totals 28 14-28 74.
Halftime-Lakeland 32, JCC 30. Regulation-Lakeland 64, JCC 64. 3-point goals-JJackson, Jewell 3. Totals fouls-Lakeland 23, JCC 21. Fouled out-Fleming. Technical-Smith, Fleming.