By Jim Riggs
The Jamestown Community College Jayhawks are not entering the NJCAA Region 3 Division II Women's Basketball Tournament on a positive note.
Jamestown Community College women’s basketball coach George Sissonwas happy to see freshman Lacey Clark score a season-high 18 points, including four 3-pointers, in the Jayhawks’ final regular-season game on Saturday.
P-J photo by Jim Riggs
"We've been in a little bit of a funk," JCC coach George Sisson said.
That's an understatement because the third-seeded Jayhawks (18-7) come into a semifinal game against second-seeded Erie CC (13-12) on Saturday at 3 p.m. at Niagara County CC with three losses in their last four games. And the three losses were to the other three teams in the tournament.
In addition to falling to Erie, JCC lost to top-seeded NCCC (25-4) and fourth-seeded Mercyhurst North East (16-10), who play at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
Saturday's winners play in the championship game on Sunday at 1 p.m., for a berth in the NJCAA Division II National Tournament at Johnson County CC in Overland Park, Kans.
Sisson pointed to the main reason for his team's poor play at the end of the regular season.
"We've only played five games in the entire month of February," he said. "We played one game a week."
The reason for that is the loss of Alfred State College, which became a four-year college this season, and the JCC-Cattaraugus County Campus doesn't have a women's team, but did have a men's team before its season was suspended early this month.
"If you were to put four (more) games in February, we could have had some rhythm and offense is rhythm," Sisson said. "All of sudden you have seven days off and you have another seven days off and then you have six days off. We lost our rhythm and our continuity and I think that's what showed up."
The most disappointing loss in the three-out-of four was in overtime on Feb. 20 at Niagara County when the No. 1 seed and the right to host the regionals was on the line.
Then came a loss at home on Saturday to Mercyhurst North East that was similar to the defeat at NCCC.
"Everybody wanted to make a play, but I'm not necessarily sure it was made within the system," Sisson said. "I think it's playing with trust. We have to trust one another, we need to have confidence in each other and we need to be willing to make a play within the system."
The Jayhawks are not paying attention to Erie's 13-12 record because two of the wins were over JCC. The Jayhawks were pounded 82-49 on the road and lost 69-51 at home.
See JCC, Page B4
"They're going to extend the pressure, they're going to try to trap us all over and play us in the halfcourt and we're going to have be willing to find the open person," Sisson said. "That is what we did not do up at Erie."
And that's why JCC committed 35 turnovers.
"They're going to try to keep the ball out of Taylor's hands, try not to let her run the club," Sisson said referring to point guard Taylor Storer.
Sisson would like to see his team's scoring more spread out this weekend.
"We need to have more balance," he said. "The last few games we've had (Elle) Reed with like 30 and the next (high scorer) with like nine."
That is why he was happy to see freshman Lacey Clark score a season-high 18 points, including four 3-pointers, in Saturday's loss.
"I felt like she shot it in rhythm," Sisson said. "She didn't catch it and look around. She hit one or two and then she was hunting it a little bit. It was good for her because that was the last game and people are going to look (at the boxscore) and say, 'Clark had four 3s. We better run at her."'
He added, "That takes some pressure off of Reed, thinking she's got to hit them all."
Sisson continues to emphasize the same thing he stressed back in October when previewing the season. Records and stats are nice, but the most important thing is winning the first two games in March.
The Region 3 Division II team that does that will find itself heading to the national tournament.