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City Colleges of Chicago Men's Basketball Team Qualifies for National Tournament

3/10/2015 12:00 AM

There were 126 NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) Division II men’s basketball programs across the country vying for the national championship when postseason play began two weeks ago, but, after Saturday, only 16 teams remain.   

Included in this select group is Olive-Harvey College, which will join the other 15 teams at the double-elimination NJCAA National Tournament from March 17th-21st at Danville Area Community College in Danville, Ill. It will be the Panthers’ first appearance at the nationals since the 2002-03 season.    

Olive-Harvey earned the automatic berth after defeating South Suburban College 79-62 in the Region IV District B Tournament finals Saturday at Kankakee Community College. The Panthers, ranked 19th in the NJCAA’s Top-20 poll, are 25-8 overall and have won 18 of their last 19 games.    

In the first two rounds of the Region IV playoffs, Olive-Harvey posted a 100-71 victory over Waubonsee Community College on February 26th before beating top-seeded Moraine Valley Community College 82-70 in the semifinals March 1st.   

In the South Suburban win, the Panthers went ahead 8-6 less than five minutes into the game and retained the lead the remainder of the contest. In front 19-12 with 9:06 to play in the opening half, Olive-Harvey went on a 12-0 run in a span of 4:03 to build a 31-12 cushion. The 19-point surplus matched its largest of the night.    

The Panthers, who were on top 37-24 at the half, kept the margin between 10 and 19 points in the final 20 minutes. Overall, they led by double figures the final 28:11 of the game.     

A key to the victory was turnovers. Olive-Harvey forced the Bulldogs into 19 miscues and parlayed them into 27 points. South Suburban, meanwhile, scored just seven points off of the Panthers’ nine turnovers.    

Jayone Troutman (Hillcrest H.S.) produced a double-double, finishing with team highs of 16 points and 10 rebounds. The 6-foot, 6-inch forward also led all players with four steals and three blocks. Quantice Hunter (Larkin H.S.) added 13 points, while Quentin Ruff (Larkin H.S.) and Randell Taylor (W.T. White H.S.) both scored 12 points.    

For their performances in the Region IV playoffs, Ruff, Hunter and Troutman were voted to the all-tournament team.    

Ruff, selected as the tournament MVP, averaged 19.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.7 steals and shot 54.1 percent (20-for-37) from the field in the three games. Hunter contributed 14.7 points, 3.7 assists, 2.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game while connecting on 51.4 percent (19-of-37) of his shots. Troutman’s tournament clips included 15.0 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.7 steals, 1.7 blocks and 1.7 assists. He converted 52.9 percent (18-of-34) of his field goals.    

In addition to the players, Olive-Harvey head coach Duval Richardson was also recognized as he was named the Region IV District B Coach of the Year.   

Olive-Harvey will play John Wood Community College (Quincy, Ill.) in the opening round of the NJCAA National Tournament on Tuesday, March 17th at 8:30 p.m. in Danville, Ill. The NJCAA will video stream all games of the tournament at www.njcaatv.com​.  

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