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Force Get Win at Home

AHOSKIE – Coming off of a disappointing loss to Thomas Nelson two nights earlier, the Blue Force of Roanoke-Chowan Community College were looking to make amends to their coach for losing on his birthday.

Despite a sluggish start, the home team managed to hold off the pesky Panthers of Southside Community College for a close 51-47 win.

Seventh year skipper Johnnie Rascoe was not pleased with his team’s defensive effort in a loss to Thomas Nelson two nights earlier, in fact not pleased might be an understatement.

&uot;I’m actually very angry,&uot; the coach said of the loss. &uot;We need to learn how to be a team and not make mistakes trying to win the game as individuals.&uot;

Although RCCC did get the win they wanted, free throw shooting almost became their Achilles heel for the second straight contest.

Getting early baskets and blocks from Leonard Burnell, RCCC found themselves in a close contest for much of the first half, leading at times by as much as three points and trailing by that margin at times as well.

A couple of three pointers by Ocie Askew and Jamarl Boyce managed to keep the score close and the Blue Force trailed at halftime by a score of 35-32.

Speaking during the intermission, Rascoe said, &uot;We can win if my guards make smarter decisions. We need to limit our turnovers, many of them are so unnecessary.&uot;

His team obviously got the message, and came out of the locker room to go on a 7-2 run to take a six-point lead on a lay up by Adrian Sawyer with just over 12 minutes remaining.

A couple of baskets by Southside’s J. Haskins, who led the Panthers with 20 points, got the visiting team back in it.

Burnell, a former starter for Hertford County High School, scored eight of his team high 14 in the second half.

For the second consecutive game guard Ocie Askew had an opportunity to ice the game at the free throw line. Unfortunately for Askew, his stroke from the line remained unreliable.

After baskets by Wordell Gatling and Burnell, gave the Force a three point lead with a little less than two minutes left in the game, Askew bricked a free throw with 1:07 on the clock that allowed Southside to get within one point.

After causing an ensuing shot clock violation on RCCC’s next possession, Askew, looking to make amends, pressured the opposition enough on their attempt to inbound the ball to cause a turnover.

Askew was fouled with less than 10 seconds left in the game and made one of two free throws to give RCCC a two-point lead.

As Southside tried to inbound the ball, Askew made a leaping jump to intercept a pass and raced in for a lay up as time expired to give the Blue Force a 51-47 victory and put their record at 2-1.

RCCC (51): Leonard Burnell – 14, O. Askew – 9, A. Sawyer – 7, J. Boyce – 6, W. Gatling – 6, J. Worrell – 4, R. Davis – 2, C. Cook – 2, J. Smith – 1

Southside CC (47): J. Haskins – 20, K. King – 9, S. Thorne – 6, R. Jones – 4, N. Payne – 3,