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Men’s Basketball season round-up

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Men’s Basketball season round-up

Deondre McNeill, a second-year center and undecided student, shoots on Joe Chase, a first-year guard and physical therapist student.

Deondre McNeill, a second-year center and undecided student, shoots on Joe Chase, a first-year guard and physical therapist student.

Deondre McNeill, a second-year center and undecided student, shoots on Joe Chase, a first-year guard and physical therapist student.

Deondre McNeill, a second-year center and undecided student, shoots on Joe Chase, a first-year guard and physical therapist student.

Arianna Beers, Sports Editor

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AACC’s Men’s Basketball lost the Division III District Championships this season, but they are keeping high spirits in anticipation for next season.

The Riverhawks, who ended the season with an 11-16 record, finished off their playoff run with a 88-76 loss against Sandhills Community College from Pinehurst, North Carolina, for the NJCAA District VII Championships.

Deondre McNeill, a second-year undecided student and center, said the team came out with a slow start against Sandhills Community College in the District Championship game and couldn’t recover.

“[When] we played Sandhills we kind of went out to a rough start and didn’t really play together,” McNeill said. “And then we came back and started playing together but at that point it was too late.”

McNeill said while the team needs to improve on offense and moving without the ball, its defense was the strongest aspect during the season. He added the team performed particularly well in their first playoff game in the Division III Region Tournament against Butler County Community College.

In the Riverhawks’ second playoff game in the Division III Region Tournament, the Riverhawks lost to Prince George’s Community College with a final score of 68-73.

“In our second game we came up short and lost by five,” McNeill said. “It just game down to simple possessions, and holding the ball too long.”

Walter Tolliver, a second-year health and exercise student and point guard, said the Region Championship game against Prince George’s Community College was his favorite game of the season.

“[In the] game against Prince George’s [Community College] … we stayed together and played hard the whole game,” Tolliver said. “[We] had confidence that we could win even though we didn’t.”

Dayvon Cuffey, a second-year criminal justice student and shooting guard, said despite him and his teammates meeting for the first time in summer leagues he felt they all had a close bond like they had known each other longer.

“We came together … over the course of a summer,” Cuffey said. “So to be able to come together like that and build chemistry so quick, I think that was pretty cool.”

McNeill and Tolliver agreed their teammates are all “brothers” which made the team more successful throughout the season. Toliver also said he admires his teammates for staying positive during the season.

“[We need to work on] actually playing together,” Tolliver said, “like it’s one thing to have each other’s back, but actually playing together and working well together [is important].”

While Cuffey said he will not be returning next season because he is transferring to a four-year university, he feels the team could work on their drive for wins next season.

“I’ll be gone next season, but I think we could’ve been more hungry this season,” Cuffey said. “And not just being settled with how far we made it. Like to want to keep improving and to have a better record next season then this season.”

Tolliver also said him and his teammates need to work on coming out pumped up and ready to play for every game. He said the team struggled in games after going down by a couple points in the beginning and because they picked up their momentum too late.

“[We need to] start the games off fresh, don’t come out flat,” Tolliver said. “We’re scoring and then not scoring for five minutes. Going through scoring droughts hurt us a lot in playoffs, because we got down big and couldn’t come back in time.”

Cuffey said his favorite game of the season was the regular season game against Baltimore County Community College because he dunked on an opponent during the game.

“Other teams might be frightful when it comes to [Baltimore County Community College] but I had a pretty good game against them,” Cuffey said. “I felt like I could show and prove what I could do against higher level competition.”

On the other hand, McNeill said his favorite game of the season was the Sophomore Saturday day game against Northern Virginia Community College on Feb. 9. This game was the Riverhawks last home game of the season and it recognized the five second-year Men’s Basketball players.

While the Riverhawks fell four points short to the Northern Virginia Community College Nighthawks on Sophomore Saturday, McNeill said it was his best game of the season.

“[My favorite game was] definitely Sophomore [Saturday] day,” McNeill said, “I had 20 points in that game. It was definitely my best game of the season.”

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Men’s Basketball season round-up