Chowan finishes third

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 21, 2006

OAKLAND CITY, IN – A tough loss in the semifinals sent Chowan College to the third-place contest.

The Braves, who lost to host Oakland City University 77-74, turned around to rout Roberts Wesleyan 85-59 in the third place game.

Fourth-year Braves’ boss Jim Tribbett said the adjustment of being the number one seed in the National Christian College Athletic Association tournament was a tough one.

&uot;We’ve gone from just trying to have some success four years ago to having a bullseye on the back of our jersey in this tournament,&uot; Tribbett said. &uot;We were the hunted in a national tournament and that’s a whole new animal. That was definitely a learning process for us.&uot;

While they were learning this season, the coach said he believes his club will be even more focused next season as they have a chance to return.

&uot;I think if we’re fortunate enough to return, we’ll approach some things differently, but there won’t be any surprises,&uot; Tribbett insisted.

The Braves knocked off Central Baptist in the first round and fought in the second round before falling to Oakland City.

Chowan trailed 35-31 and had possession of the basketball down three but missed a shot to send the game to overtime.

&uot;We were going for the tie and the win,&uot; Tribbett said. &uot;We were only four points short of winning the whole thing. We had our chances, but there were some circumstances against us.&uot;

Against Oakland City, Montino Williams led the Braves with 19 points while Marcus Artis and Aaron Scott had 18 points each. Trayvon Lathan, still nursing an injury, contributed nine.

Having suffered the loss, the Braves could have packed up, but that didn’t happen.

&uot;We challenged our kids after the game and before the next one,&uot; Tribbett said. &uot;We wanted to make sure that we played like champions. We thought we had the intangibles to be a champion, but we came up short. Despite that, we wanted to still approach it that way in the third place game.&uot;

The Braves did just that, getting 20 points each from Lathan and Artis as they took a 36-26 lead at halftime and went on to secure an 85-59 win.

&uot;We were outstanding Saturday afternoon,&uot; Tribbett said. &uot;It was our best effort of the tournament and as good a second half as we played all season.&uot;

In addition to Lathan and Artis, the Braves got 12 from Scott, nine from Williams and eight from John Dyer.

After the tournament, Lathan was named to the NCCAA All-American team while Artis was named All-Tournament.

Tribbett was also honored as National Coach of the Year.

&uot;Obviously, receiving that honor goes back to having a very competent assistant in C.J. Donnelly and having good basketball players that represent you,&uot; Tribbett said. &uot;It’s about what we’ve done in the last couple of months and the type of presentation our kids give of themselves.

&uot;This is an award for the program, the school and the community,&uot; he added.

The Braves finished 19-11 on the season and were 16-3 in 2006.