In what has been an up-again, down-again 2014-15 season for the St. Louis Community College men’s basketball team, the Archers are now just one win away from capturing the Region XVI championship.
The Archers defeated Wentworth Military Academy 78-74 in the Region XVI semifinal on Thursday, thereby advancing to the regional title game against fourth-seeded Metropolitan Community College-Penn Valley. MCC-Penn Valley earned its berth in the championship by upending top-seeded North Central Missouri College 99-90.
The championship game will set up a rematch of Sunday’s regular-season finale for both teams. In that game, the Archers clawed back from a 14-point second-half deficit to make it a one-point game with just five minutes remaining, before eventually losing 85-71.
Head coach Randy Reed, who was disappointed with his team’s performance and momentum entering the Region XVI Tournament, held out hope that the disappointing end to the regular season would serve as motivation entering the postseason.
“Sometimes when you get a team backed into a corner and they get desperate, they’ll come out and fight harder,” Reed said after his team’s loss to Penn Valley Sunday.
It would appear that message took hold Thursday, as the Archers battled through a game that saw 10 different lead changes before they claimed the third win of the season over Wentworth.
Sophomore forward Sean Robinson led the charge offensively, scoring a game-high 26 points on 9-of-15 shooting. He connected on four of his six attempts from 3-point range. Sophomore forward Joe Henderson, who averages a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds per game, grabbed a season-high 17 rebounds in Thursday’s win.
Despite carrying an overall record of 14-15, the Archers entered the tournament as its second seed, by virtue of the team’s 4-2 record against regional opponents. A win Saturday would make Reed two for two in regional championships as the Archers’ head coach. Last year, in his first season coaching at the collegiate level, he guided the Archers to a seventh-place finish in the NJCAA Tournament.