CFCC women’s hoops clinch first-ever national tournament berth; men’s quest for three-peat falls short is your source for free news and information in the Wilmington area.

Women’s basketball

 No. 1 Cape Fear CC 70      No. 2 Louisburg College 68

 After both regular season contests were decided by single digits, the third matchup between No. 1 Cape Fear Community College and No. 2 Louisburg College did not disappoint as the Sea Devils used a big basket in the final seconds of regulation to force overtime as the top-seed in conference grabbed a 70-68 victory on Saturday afternoon.

In just its fourth year of existence, the Cape Fear women’s basketball program clinched its first-ever Region 10 Championship and berth to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II Tournament. The Sea Devils extended their win streak to 25 straight games, improving to 25-1 overall under first-year Coach Chris Harris.

Cape Fear clinched its first ever berth to the NJCAA Tournament.
Cape Fear clinched its first-ever berth to the NJCAA Tournament. Photo courtesy- CFCC Athletics

“I’m really happy for our kids,” said Harris. “I told them if they stayed together we would find a way to win. It’s a great opportunity for them to go to the national tournament. They deserve it.”

Trailing by a bucket with 7.2 seconds left in regulation, Chrystall Jerome scored on an easy lay-in just before the buzzer to send the conference title game into an extra period tied 62-all. Cape Fear outscored Louisburg 8-6 during the decisive frame to secure the victory as the Sea Devils trailed for most of the day before they drew even with 2.8 seconds left.

Four different players finished in double figures as Monica Alexander and De’najah Porter shared team high honors with 13 points apiece.

The Hurricanes carried a 61-57 advantage with 3:35 to play when Cape Fear pulled to within one in the final minutes of the fourth quarter. A free throw by Louisburg College made it a two-point contest as the Sea Devils advanced the ball to half court before calling a timeout to set up the game-tying basket by Jerome.

CFCC opens the NJCAA Tournament in two weeks.
CFCC opens the NJCAA Tournament in two weeks.

“We started to draw up a play at the end of regulation and I decided to just give it to Chrystall instead,” Harris added. “She got to the basket and made the play like she has done all year for us. Dee hit key free throws when we needed them.”

The freshman guard from South Central High School in Greenville scored 10 of 12 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, while Jasmine Brown chipped in with 10.

Turnovers plagued both teams early in the ball game as Louisburg held an 18-16 edge after the first quarter. They took a two-possession lead into the break and carried a 50-47 edge headed into the fourth as Cape Fear showed an incredible amount of perseverance over the final 10 minutes of regulation to send it into overtime.

Ranked No. 9 in the nation this week, Cape Fear now awaits their seed for the upcoming NJCAA DII Tournament in Overland Park, Kansas on March 15-19.

Men’s basketball

 No. 2 Spartanburg Methodist 75    No. 1 Cape Fear CC  72

 Cape Fear’s quest for a third straight Region 10 Championship came up short late Saturday afternoon as No. 2 Spartanburg Methodist handed the top-seeded Sea Devils a 75-72 season ending setback in Pinehurst.

Cape Fear saw its quest for a three-peat fall short on Saturday.
Cape Fear saw its quest for a three-peat fall short on Saturday.

With the win, the Pioneers advanced to the NJCAA Division I Tournament in Hutchinson, Kansas on March 14-19. Meanwhile, Cape Fear saw its reign as back-to-back league winners come to a close, finishing the year 24-8 overall.

Trailing by nine with six minutes left in regulation, Cape Fear used a 13-4 run to tie the game 71-all with 1:09 remaining. A key steal and coast-to-coast lay-in by Warren Vinson sealed the Sea Devils’ fate as Spartanburg Methodist grab a two-point lead it would not relinquish. A pair of free throws in the final seconds made it a three-point game and a final attempt by Cape Fear at the buzzer fell short to give the Pioneers a Region 10 Title.

 Spartanburg Methodist used five shots from long range early in the second half to gain a 59-54 cushion with 9:27 left.

The Pioneers jumped out to an early 7-0 lead before the Sea Devils tied the game 14-all midway through the opening period. A three-pointer at the buzzer capped a late 7-0 spurt by the Sea Devils as Cape Fear grabbed its first lead of the game, 34-32, at the half.