Tag: SAUTRockets

Rocket Cheer Squad

The Rockets Wind it Up with Wins

by Joel Gray

Camden, AR—In their final games of the 2018-19 basketball season, the SAU Tech women and men continued their nearly-inconceivable accomplishment—winning in their first seasons on the basketball court. On Thursday (2/28) the victories came over fellow Region 2 Conference member, National Park College from Hot Springs, AR, whom both Rockets squads had defeated in their earlier matchups back in January. This time the Lady Rockets prevailed over NPC, 79-63, and the Rocket men defeated the Nighthawks, 105-99.

This game was the final outing for the Tech teams in Shaddock Fieldhouse—they’ll be playing on campus next season—and Coach Andre Williams’ women took to the floor first, methodically managing the game against their Nighthawks counterparts, finishing the first quarter with a 16-11 lead. National Park kept it close, however, getting outscored in the second period by only a point, and at intermission, the Tech ladies only led 36-30. In the third, a 17-13 advantage inched the Rockets out a bit further to 53-43. And in the fourth ten-minute stanza, a six-point margin, 26-20, added up to the final tally and a Tech victory by sixteen points.

National Park’s women had four players with double-digits on the board, and three with multiple 3-pointers. Both categories were led by Hailee Crosby who totaled 27 points, hitting six shots from beyond-the-arc. The Lady Nighthawks were also concluding their inaugural season, doing so with a 4-14 overall record, 0-4 in Region 2 play.

Three Lady Rockets scored ten-or-more in this final game. Devena Smith’s team-leading 27 points were part of an outstanding personal performance that included a double-double comprised of 12 field goals and ten rebounds. Brandashia Hargraves was next with 20 points—12 of them coming on her four treys. Alex Parris added another 14.

Brandashia completes the regular-season as the Region 2 Conference’s top 3-Point Percentage shooter with a 50% output—that stat also landing her in the second-place position in the nation. Devena finishes as Region 2’s leader in Points-Per-Game (16.6), as well as in Field Goal Percentage (59.4%).
The Lady Rockets finish at 11-6 overall, and 2-2 in the R2C.

It was also Sophomore Night for SAU Tech, and after the women’s contest, there was a poignant pause to honor the athletes who were completing their careers as Rockets. The Ladies bid farewell to Alex Parris and Brandashia Hargraves, while the men said good-bye to Miles Weber, Jamie Hastings, and Mike Boatright.

Next, the men hit the hardwood, and the Nighthawks flew out to an early first-half lead, shocking the Shaddock Fieldhouse home crowd with a 12-0 run from the tip-off. Head Coach Marty Levinson called timeout and rallied his perhaps-rattled Rockets, and they fought back against the fierce determination of National Park, narrowing the margin, but remaining behind at the half, 49-46.

After the break, nearly seven more minutes would see NPC out front on the board, but at the 13:04 mark of the second half, the Rockets finally took the lead for the first time in the game, 67-66. It was the outstanding performances of Sheldon Steven and Manny Anderson—coming out of the locker room—that ignited the comeback, and the Tech men went on to outscore the Nighthawks 38-33 the rest of the way to secure the six-point come-from-behind victory.

National Park had four in double-digits, and three with multiple threes. K. J. Corder led the way with 27 points and three treys. The disappointing loss, in what was also their final game of the season, dropped the Nighthawks to 16-8 overall, but 0-6 in the Region 2 Conference.
The Rockets fixed five players in double-digits, and two with multiple three-pointers. Steven

Led, scoring 24 points—19 in the second half—and hit two from 3-point range. Anderson was next with 19—16 of those also in the second half. He also racked up 12 rebounds. Mike Boatright added 18 while sneaking five steals onto the stat-sheet. Will Bynum put up 13—6 of them coming on his two threes. And Malik Miller tallied 12 more to the score, also securing five steals for the defense.
At the end of the regular-season, Steven lands in first place in the Region 2 Conference standings in Points-Per-Game (19.9) and also in Total Points (517). Boatright is first in Steals (90), and Jaland Mitchell (who missed this final game, due to injury) finishes in first place in Blocks (46).

The Rockets complete the year at 19-10 overall, and 5-1 in the conference.
The season is over for Tech now, but only because the NJCAA requires new athletic participants to serve a one-year probationary period which makes them ineligible to win a conference title or to play in the post-season. How much farther might the Rockets have gone? That, of course, is speculative, but there would have been at least one more game per squad. The Lady Rockets finished 2nd in Region 2 and could have challenged NorthArk for the championship, and—amazingly—the men finished 1st in the regular-season standings and would have hosted a playoff game in the conference’s post-season.

Nevertheless, SAU Tech’s inauguration into junior college athletics can only be seen as a success. The future for the tiny East Camden, AR junior college has been foreshadowed. The Rockets have launched, and their impact upon NJCAA Division-II basketball is bound to be a thrill to behold.

men playing basketball

SAU Tech Rocket Conference Preview

By Joel Gray

Following a 71-63  win,  on  Thurs.,  1/10,  on  the  road,  against  the  Division-I  Arkansas  Baptist College Buffaloes, the SAU Tech Rockets finally got to play in their own division as Region 2 Conference play began on Saturday when the Rocket Men hosted the 10-3 ASU-MidSouth Greyhounds, who have, for consecutive weeks, received votes in the national Top 20 poll; they are currently the first team outside the rankings–essentially #21–so the Rockets faced an important challenge right away, and— despite having another huge lead dwindle down the stretch—prevailed, nevertheless, for their fourth consecutive victory since the Christmas break, defeating  the  highly-touted  Greyhounds,  87-83,  improving to 11-7 overall, and—more importantly—1-0 in Region 2, to lead the current standings in the conference.

The Greyhounds controlled the tip and the tempo for the first few minutes of the opening half, but Tech tamped down MidSouth’s early energy and took a 10-point lead into the locker room at intermission with the tally fixed at 53-43.

The second stanza saw the Rockets soar for the first six minutes, stretching their advantage to 18 points by the 14:06 mark of the half. MidSouth regrouped, however, and reigned-in the Rockets for the final eight-minutes until it was once again anybody’s game by the end. With under a minute to go, however, the Greyhounds were reduced to relying on the intentional foul, and the Rockets racked up enough free-throws to come away with the 4-point win.

ASU-MidSouth recorded five players in double-digit scoring, with Ike Moore on top of the list with

16. The Greyhounds fall to 10-4 overall, and 0-1 in Region 2 play.

The Rockets also racked up five in the double-digit category. Sheldon Steven continued to add to his Region 2 Points Leader stats, leading the way for Tech with 22. Will Bynum was next with 14, followed by Jaland Mitchell (12), and Malik Miller and Immanuel Anderson (11 apiece). Steven also lit it up from  long range, sinking six from beyond the arc.

SAU Tech improved to 11-7 overall, and—more importantly—1-0 in Region 2 Conference play. Next, they’ll travel to Hot Springs, AR, Thursday, 1/17, to take on the Natiional Park College Nighthawks in another important Region 2 matchup.

The Lady Rockets also notched another win, back on Thurs., Jan. 10, improving to 7-4, knocking off the Lady Buffaloes of Arkansas Baptist College, 54-27. The 0-10 MidSouth Women’s team, however, have canceled the remainder of their season, so the Lady Rockets will have to wait till Thurs., 1/17 to begin Region 2 play in Hot Springs vs. the National Park College Lady Nighthawks.

Region 2 of the NJCAA is comprised of all the junior colleges in Oklahoma and Arkansas, however, on the Division-II level there are no junior college basketball teams in Oklahoma; therefore, only these four Arkansas schools will play for the Div.-II Region 2 title:

North Arkansas Community College Pioneers (Harrison, AR)

Arkansas State University-MidSouth Greyhounds (West Memphis, AR) Southern Arkansas University-Tech Rockets (East Camden, AR)

National Park College Nighthawks (Hot Springs, AR)