Lock Sheldrack, NY - All-NJCAA Tournament honoree Kahlil Bennett (Old Bridge) scored 16 points, and Kevin Ohen (Long Branch) and Nate Pacius (Asbury Park) chipped in with 12 point a piece, but it was not enough as the Brookdale men's basketball team succumbed to Cedar Lakes Community College (MN) 85-75 in the fourth-place game at the NJCAA Division III National Championships.
After a nine-point halftime advantage for the Blues, Cedar Valley would take charge in the second half, opening on a 18-5 run to regain the lead at 52-48. Brookdale would only come close at 64-62 before Cedar Valley would take the lead for good.
The Jersey Blues, who claimed the Region XIX title for the first time since 2003, concluded their season with an overall record of 28-4.
Day one and two recaps:
With a 86-76 win over Roxbury (MA) (22-4), the Brookdale Community College (28-3) men's basketball squad propels itself into the fourth-place game of the NJCAA Division III National Championship.
Kahlil Bennett (Old Bridge) looked every bit of a Region XIX MVP, pouring in 24 points in the win. Kevin Ohen (Long Branch) and Nate Pacius (Asbury Park) both scored in the double-digits with 13 each.
In the first half, the Jersey Blues were up 25-14, when Roxbury orchestrated a 13-point run to take its first lead of the game, 28-25 with 5:38 remaining. Tunell Polk (Long Branch) would then cut the lead to one point and a steal by Bennett resulting in a shooting foul would allow the Jersey Blues to tie up the game at 28. Polk would then convert a hoop and a harm to regain the lead at 31-28. The Jersey Blues would eventually enter the locker room ahead 41-31.
A pesky Roxbury team would not go away in the second half- stringing together yet another powerful run to pull within one point with 11 minutes remaining. Lucas Glass (Rumson) hit a crucial three point shot to distance Brookdale.
In the opening round, Sand Hills Community College (NC) served up a heartbreaking 93-92 loss to the Brookdale Community College (27-3).In the final minute alone, there were four lead changes, with Bennett hitting a jumper just within the three-point arc to give the Jersey Blues a 92-91 edge with 3.8 seconds to go. What seemingly was the game-winning shot wasn't enough as Sand Hills would drive the length of the court to advance into the winner's bracket as the buzzer was sounding.
Brookdale will now go on to face Cedar Lakes College (27-3) in the fourth-place game on Saturday, March 17th at 2:00 p.m. A win in that game will give the 2012 squad a program-record 29 wins.