Northwest Florida State College faced a tenacious East-Central team that kept their contest interesting until the final ten minutes or so of the contest.
The Raiders won the matchup 81-67 on a dominant performance from Sophomore Forward Jadyn Shider.
Albany, Georgia native Shider had 18 rebounds and 20 points on the night – making quick work of the East-Central Warriors on the boards.
“Thank God we had Jadyn and Jamal [Sumlin] tonight,” said head coach Steve DeMeo after the game, “our frontcourt carried us tonight.” Coach DeMeo added that the guard play was subpar from what they expected, noting that the guards need to improve their patience on the offensive side of the court. “If we want to have an elite-level team, we are going to have to find that killer instinct,” DeMeo added, “I’ve just got to figure out what buttons to push with some of these guys.”
Tyrese Elliot, another Georgia Native, put in yeoman’s work on the glass for the Raiders and earned some points for the Raiders as well.
In addition to a win on the court – the Raiders got some good news off the hardwood as well. They’ve found an opponent for November 4th game – which was left empty after another team pulled out of the contest at the last minute.
While the Raiders achieved separation from the Warriors as the evening wore on – East Central started the night with a hot hand. For the majority of the game, their three-point percentage outstripped their overall field-goal percentage. They also made quick work of Raider mistakes and channeled defensive rebounds into quick counterattacks for points.
Once the Raiders picked apart their counterattacks by beefing up their back two and letting their power forwards attack the rims with less support, the Warriors had to rely on a cooling three-point game to keep the contest close.
By halftime, the Raiders held a respectable 42-36 lead over the Warriors.
After the second half, the Raiders were able to meticulously increase their lead through solid play in the paint and thoughtful perimeter passing. A bolstered defensive performance saw more steals and turnovers that allowed the Raiders to set up their offense and evaporate East Central’s resistance.
With five minutes left on the clock, Tavion Banks – who recently rejoined the team in practice while recovering from an ankle injury – smashed down an authoritative dunk to announce the effective end of the contest.
As the game was winding down, Jamal Sumlin went down with a lower-body injury during a rebounding sequence. Sumlin had to be carried off the court, but Coach Steve DeMeo confirmed he has a light ankle sprain.
The matchup for Northwest Florida State tomorrow was in jeopardy after East Mississippi Community College withdrew due to a mass suspension issue.
Happily, the Raiders will have an opponent on Saturday, November 4th. Head Coach Steve DeMeo confirmed the squad will host North Florida Prep out of Jacksonville at 4:00 PM.