Seward County enters the NJCAA National Tournament winning 16 of its last 17 games overall. The Saints won their fourth Region VI Tournament championship last Tuesday against No. 9 nationally-ranked Cowley College, 71-61. With less than a minute remaining and the score tied at 61, freshman Bruno Mendes drove the lane and made a lay-up that was the eventual game-winning basket. SCCC secured the Region VI title by making 8-of-8 from the free throw line down the stretch. Sophomore Darko Cohadarevic was named Tournament Most Valuable Player after leading all players in the championship with 25 points and 10 rebounds. SCCC freshman Reggie Chamberlain, and sophomores Ervin Williams and Nick Burns were also named to the All-Tournament Team. Bryan Zollinger becomes the first coach in SCCC history to lead his team to a conference and Region VI championship during his first year as head coach.

Seward County is making its fourth appearance at the NJCAA National Tournament, with its last appearance coming 10 years ago in 1998. The Saints have a 4-4 record in national tournament action, with its best finish, third-place, coming in 1998. Two former Saints have received national tournament recognition, as Kevin Houston (1998) was named to the All-Tournament Team, and Carlo Walton (1995) received the NJCAA National Tournament Obee Small Player Award.

Chipola College began the year as the No. 1 ranked team in the NJCAA Top 25 poll, and the Indians remained in the top spot for nine straight weeks. Chipola’s only loss this season came on the road at No. 6 Okaloosa-Walton College (59-68) on Feb. 2. Chipola is led this season by sophomore Mario Little, who is headed to Lawrence next year to play for the University of Kansas. Little scored a game-high 24 points with seven rebounds in the Indians Region VIII championship victory over Okaloosa-Walton College. Chipola currently has five active players on their roster who have committed to NCAA Division I programs for next season. The Indians are making their 13th appearance at the NJCAA Tournament, their third under fourth-year head coach Greg Heiar.