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PrattTribune - Pratt, KS
  • Beavers drop Dragons, earn trip to NJCAA

  • The third time was the charm for the Pratt Community College men’s basketball team against Hutchinson Saturday night. After suffering two agonizing defeats to the Blue Dragons earlier in the season, it was about PCC’s turn to have things bounce their way-and they did!The Beavers came up big when it counted...
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  • The third time was the charm for the Pratt Community College men’s basketball team against Hutchinson Saturday night. After suffering two agonizing defeats to the Blue Dragons earlier in the season, it was about PCC’s turn to have things bounce their way-and they did!
    The Beavers came up big when it counted the most, turning Hutch aside 77-69 in the Region VI finals in Wichita to advance to the NJCAA Nationals beginning March 17 in Hutchinson.
    Pratt led for most of the game, but never was able to put the game completely out of reach. PCC was ahead in a handful of their defeats this year until the opposition put together a final spurt to overtake them down the stretch. Given that history, PCC head coach Jesse Shaw knew that the Dragons would take a run at the Beavers before it was all said and done. This time, the Beavers didn’t fold. “Hutch had some stretches where they made some nice plays, but we made some, too— and that was huge,” Coach Shaw mentioned. “The good thing is, we had enough of a cushion.”
    “That’s what our guys do,” Shaw continued. “They fly around and make plays.”
    Different guys stepped up in different ways at different times, adding up to a nice team win for the Beavers. Early on, Rob Davis lifted Pratt with long-range shooting. He had 4 treys and two baskets to stake the Beavers to a 29-20 lead at 7:01 of the first half.
    Kaion Seales and Thomas Tshikaya each had 5 points in the waning moments of the first half and PHS took a 43-35 halftime lead to the break.
    Following intermission, Kevin Allen went wild on the offensive glass, scoring 3 put-backs and another hoop as Pratt maintained their lead 54-47 with 13:35 to play. At the media time-out, PCC was up by 10, 61-51.
    As Hutch tried to rally, they went to Hackburg. The final 10 points recorded by PCC were from the charity stripe as Davis, Javis Flynn and Tshikaya each nailed freebies to help Pratt stay ahead. A Dragon 3-ball got them within 4 with less than a minute left, but PCC hung tough and closed them out 77-69.
    Point guard Javis Flynn had 11 assists along with 7 points. Thomas Tshikaya had a double-double: 10 boards to go with his 14 points. Kevin Allen was in double figures with 13 and grabbed 9 boards. Kaion Seales had 11 points, many of them momentum-changers.
    Robert Davis ended the night with a game-high 22 points. Although cooling off in the second half, his efforts had given Pratt the early lead and forced Hutch to play catch-up all evening.
    For their efforts, Davis, Allen and Flynn were tabbed for the All-Tournament team, joining Kaion Seales who was named Tournament MVP. Coach Shaw had appreciation for Thomas Tshikaya’s contributions on the weekend as well. “Thomas stepped up HUGE for us,” Shaw said. In addition to Tschikaya’s double-double, he and Merrill Holden combined defensively to hold Hutch standout Kadeem Allen to just 7/19 shooting.
    Page 2 of 2 - “Our defense held tough in the second half, even through some furious Blue Dragon runs that got the game all the way back to one possession,” Shaw summarized. “Free throws and defense cut down the nets for us.”
    With the victory, the Pratt Community College Beavers move to 22-12 on the year and will represent Region VI in the NJCAA Nationals at Hutchinson beginning March 17. It will be the Beavers’ first trip to the big dance since 2005—and for only the fourth time in school history. The Tribune will publish information helpful to those wishing to attend the NJCAA next week as tournament time gets closer.
    PCC men 43 34 77
    Hutch 35 34 69
    Flynn 1-0-5-7; Kevin Allen 6-0-1-13; Holden 2-0-0-4; Robert Davis 2-4-6-22; Kaion Seales 0-3-2-11; Schieber 4, Harms 2; Thomas Tshikaya 3-2-2-14
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