Braves win region

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 14, 2006

CENTRAL, SC – Chowan College won it all.

Well, almost.

The Braves, seeded number one in the National Christian College Athletic Association South Region, took the regional this past weekend.

The two-game triumph gave Chowan College their first regional title since joining the NCCAA, but could be just a stepping stone.

The Braves’ success isn’t all they are looking for, however, according to fourth-year skipper Jim Tribbett.

&uot;I’m really excited for the guys,&uot; Tribbett said. &uot;Our kids were proud of themselves and I was proud of them as well. Certainly we have a sense of accomplishment.

&uot;Still, we’re focused and determined on winning three more basketball games,&uot; he added.

The Braves are already on their way to Oakland City, Indiana where they will be the top seed in the NCCAA national tournament, a place where Tribbett and company intend to do some damage.

&uot;When you are the number one seed, you can see yourself playing in the championship game if you continue to do the things you have over the past couple of months,&uot; Tribbett said.

Earning their way to the championship took a pair of victories and overcoming some adversity.

The Braves disposed of Palm Beach Atlantic 73-47 on Friday afternoon before battling Emmanuel College and coming out with a 74-70 victory.

&uot;It was a heck of a team effort,&uot; Tribbett said.

In the championship game against Emmanuel, the Braves lost their leading scorer, Trayvon Lathan, to a hand injury in the first half. At the time, the Braves held a nine-point advantage.

Despite the solid play of Aaron Scott, Chowan fell behind and trailed by two when Lathan reentered the contest.

&uot;Trayvon played, but was somewhat ineffective as a scorer,&uot; the coach said. &uot;His presence was important, however. He had several assists and a key tip-in down the stretch.&uot;

Chowan trailed by seven down the stretch. Emmanuel hit a three to push it to seven and Tribbett was forced to call a timeout.

&uot;We were very resilient,&uot; he said. &uot;People just made plays. We forced turnovers and came back to take a four-point lead.&uot;

The lead was down to one with five seconds left, but Scott hit a pair of free throws and Chris Kenon stole the ensuing inbounds pass to secure the victory.

Tribbett credited an entire cast of players for their hard work, including Scott, Lathan, Marcus Artis, Isaac McCall, Jon Dyer, Kenon and Montino Williams.

Scott poured in 27 points in the victory to go along with a rebound and an assist while Artis gave the Braves a double-double. He scored 10 points and grabbed 13 boards to help the Braves secure victory.

McCall also checked in with double figures as he scored 12 on the night to go along with six rebounds. Dyer blocked six shots and scored nine points.

The Braves improved to 14-2 in 2006 with the pair of regional victories.

&uot;We’re playing with a lot of confidence,&uot; Tribbett said.

The coach said he believes two factors have helped the Braves go from their 3-7 start to one of the most dominant teams in the association.

&uot;Two things stand out,&uot; he said. &uot;One is the addition of Aaron Scott, who seemed to be the missing piece for this particular team. He provides ball-handling and passing, but he’s a scorer.

&uot;The other is the emergence of Marcus Artis,&uot; Tribbett added. &uot;He’s been a backup and part-time starter for us in his first two years, but since we put him in there, he’s just been terrific.&uot;

The Braves are scheduled to square off with eighth-seeded Central Baptist at 5 p.m. Thursday.

&uot;They have the leading scorer in the country,&uot; Tribbett said. &uot;We’re going to see how we match up.&uot;