Wins Propel Basketball Teams into Post-Season

Collin College Lady Cougars 2019-2020 after winning the NTJCAC Championship, Feb. 19.
Collin College Lady Cougars 2019-2020 after winning the NTJCAC Championship, Feb. 19. Photo by KIRK DICKEY

Collin College's women's basketball captured its fifth North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference championship in six years with a 74-52 win over Weatherford Junior College, Feb. 19. The Collin men secured a second-place finish in the conference and a ticket to regionals the same night with a handy 83-67 win. 

The Lady Cougars were just one win ahead of the Lady Coyotes going into the game, meaning a win by Weatherford could have split the championship as it had two years ago. Collin College wasn't about to let that happen, however, and the Lady Cougars jumped out to an eight point lead in the first quarter and expanded it in the second and third quarters. The Lady Cougars carried a 27-point lead into the fourth. 

Collin shot 42.9 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from behind the arc in the game. Destiny Thurman led all scorers with 19 points, notching three steals as well. Shala Robinson and Lucy Ibeh followed Thurman with 15 and 10 points respectively. Ibeh had six of the Lady Cougars' 17 steals and 11 total rebounds for the day. 

Collin had fallen earlier in the week to Grayson College, opening a crack in its armor that Weatherford tried to capitalize on. In that game, it was Grayson College which came out with the hot hand. Despite a stellar third quarter comeback, Collin could not fight its way out of the nine-point hole that started the game. Ibeh led the team in scoring with 21 points, followed by Thurman with 17 and Awatea Leach with 14. 

The Collin men's team bested both Grayson College and Weatherford College, cruising to big wins on its way to a second place NTJCAC finish behind nationally ranked Ranger College. While the post-season was assured, the wins did bring them within two games of top spot. 

The Cougars' big men led scoring in Collin College's 98-82 win over Ranger, with Nighael Ceaser and Mason Hix putting up 26 points each in the game. Hix had two blocks in the game, while Ceaser pulled down the most boards with 13. They were followed in scoring by Orion Virden with 16 points. The teams shot 29-60 from the floor that night for a field goals made percentage of 48.3.

While not as accurate in its game against Weatherford, the scoring was a bit more spread out. Nine of the 10 players who dressed out for the game scored. Addison Wallace led the team with 18 points and eight rebounds, followed by Tino Sebalj with 16 points and Ceaser with 13 points. Sebalj, who always draws shouts of encouragement from the bench, shot 4-9 from behind the arc and blew away his previous high water mark of 11 points from the beginning of the year.