Stormers begin their hunt for a national championship – MATC Times

Men’s basketball team set to play NJCAA Division II first round

Photo by Libby Sutton/MATC Times

Stormers forward Karl Blanton Jr. appears to be floating in the air as he scores against the Black Hawk College Braves in the regional championship game.

The Milwaukee Area Technical College men’s basketball team will face Scottsdale Community College this afternoon in the first round of the NJCAA Division II Men’s National Basketball Tournament in Danville, Illinois.

Before the tournament, the team had to modify its preparation. According to Stormers head coach Randy Casey, the team had to take things a little more lightly than normal due to some injuries. However, he added that they would be ready to leave.

“Guys are ready to get on the floor and play!” Casey said last night. “Our game is the penultimate game of the first round, so they want to go there.”

Coach Randy Casey encourages his team to enter the tournament one game at a time. The Stormers begin their drive to a national championship today against Scottsdale Community College in Dansville, Illinois. (Photo by Libby Sutton/MATC Times)

The road to the tournament

The Scottsdale Fighting Artichokes defeated Glendale Community College 90-84 on March 4 to win the District’s Regional I Championship. They were led by tournament MVP Unisa Turay and guard Carson Kelly.

Win or go home has been the Stormers men’s basketball team’s battle cry for the tournament’s 2022 season. So they just kept winning.

The team earned their way into the tournament by defeating the Black Hawk College Braves and capturing the NJCAA Regional District (Midwest B) Championship on March 5. at Reiman Gymnasium at Alverno College.

Fast Pace was the ultimate winner as they beat the Braves 107-86 in a run and shoot game that saw plenty of quick breaks and quick possessions. A style that has been the philosophy of the Stormers throughout the year.

“It’s so important to start the game with a statement,” forward Mason Johnson said. “We set the tone from the start, you have teams hot on their heels taking all their momentum out of the game,” he added.

The team entered the game as favorites to win and qualify for the national tournament. However, multiple effective performances led to a win in which the Stormers led by over 20 points for most of the game.

The Stormers had five double-digit players. Jaylin Scott led the scoring with 23 points, Karl Blanton Jr. with 20 and Mason Johnson with 18. Chima Nwosu and Erik Victorson both scored 13 points in the game. Scott, Blanton and Johnson were also all named to the All-Tournament Team, with Johnson winning Region 4 District B Player of the Year.

“It means a lot. My teammates have been such a big part of my success,” Johnson said.

In addition to the award-winning players, head coach Randy Casey was also named Region 4 District B Coach of the Year. This is his third Coach of the Year in the last four years.

“It’s like I’ve always said, credit goes to the kids. They work hard every day to achieve our goals as a team and they’ve been great,” Casey said after the game. “They all signed on and did everything I could ask for.”

The team managed to keep a Braves team in line despite the efforts of Keshawn Pegues, who finished with a game-high 34 points and 18 rebounds. The rest of the team was held to 29.8% shooting from the field. Sticking to their game plan was key to keeping a hot Braves team at bay.

“We just had to play our game and continue to have active bodies on defense. Everyone bought into our program and showed a lot on defense and offense,” Casey said.

The coach added that the regional championship was a step but not what they want in the end.

“We want the big picture,” Casey said.

Tipping for the first round match is at 1:00 p.m.

The NJCAA Division II Men’s National Basketball Tournament games will be broadcast live on:

Streaming prices:
$10 – Day Pass
$30 – Tournament Pass
$100 All Access Pass (All 2021-22 NJCAA Championship Events)

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Chester T. Johnson