The Hutchinson Community College men’s basketball season came to an end Wednesday at the Sports Arena, falling 82-65 to Chipola, Fla., in the second round of the NJCAA Division 1 Champion.
However, it was a much more competitive game than the final score entails. Trailing consistently by six to 15 points throughout, the Blue Dragons kept it close for most of the way, with solid bursts of good defense, led by an impressive defensive outing for Josiah Harris, who had three steals, three blocks and plenty of solid vertical contest at the rim.
Kobe Campbell’s scoring punch off of the bench provided 15 points on 5 of 10 shooting from the field, and 5 of 7 from the free-throw line.
Chipola’s size and rebounding were the real story of the game as the Indians dominated the glass, nearly doubling HutchCC’s rebounding numbers 57-31, including three double-double performances by Chipola starters Faizon Fields, Nae’qwan Tomlin and Achor Achor.
Chipola’s unique blend of a quick and pestful backcourt, paired with their long and athletic frontcourt, forced the Blue Dragons to their second-worst field goal percentage of the year with a 31.9% performance.
Although this might sound like almost all negatives, this was by no means a terrible game from HutchCC. Chipola’s size was not exactly a great matchup, and playing a top-10 team in the nation with an experienced head coach in Donnie Tryndall, made for a tough matchup.
HutchCC had started from scrap before the season started, hiring coach Tommy DeSalme, bringing in almost entirely all new players and then putting all those new pieces into one of the most unique and rare play styles in the nation.
“We’re like the land of misfit toys that don’t fit, but we’ll find a way,” DeSalme said.
A saying that I’ve heard DeSalme say multiple times this year and is a perfect description for this team. They absolutely surprised everybody with their season and accomplished much more than what they should have with the cards they were dealt and is a great indicator for the bright future for HutchCC basketball.
Colton Fast is a Nickerson freshman studying journalism.