Final Score: Riverhawks 80, CCBC Catonsville Cardinals 65
Updated Records: AACC 4-3 overall, 2-0 conference. Cardinals 2-9 overall, 1-2 conference
Location: Anne Arundel Community College – Arnold, MD
Box Score: Found here
The Riverhawks picked up another crucial Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference (MD JUCO) win this past Wednesday evening (11/28), defeating the NJCAA DII Region XX Cardinals of CCBC Catonsville, 80-65. A slow start with the two teams tied at halftime, would finish with the Riverhawks making a strong push in the second half to claim the victory at home.
Leading off with a deep three from beyond the arc, Clinton Smith (Glen Burnie, MD/Old Mill) would open up the game with the early 3-0 lead, from some great ball movement of Dayvon Cuffey (Glen Burnie, MD/Glen Burnie). The Cardinals would quickly show their own range on the court, burying a three-pointer to respond. Fairly matched-up the teams would continue to trade the lead, battling for the advantage. The Riverhawks seemed to set themselves in great position to pull away from the Cardinals as quick ball movement up the court would have Cuffey setting up Deondre McNeill (Pasadena, MD/Chesapeake) to hammer down the alley-oop.
Keeping the fans on their feet, Walter Tolliver (Parole, MD/Annapolis) would drain a quick pull-up three-pointer to give the Riverhawks the lead with the fast-paced 5-point swing. The Cardinals would continue to push and hinder the Riverhawk momentum from taking over, as they aggressively fought to claim the advantage themselves. With the strong contention at either end, it was no surprise the two teams headed into halftime intermission tied, 34-34.
A special shout-out to Anne Arundel Community College's very own student, Laney Puhalla – a recent gold medal winner for the 2018 World Baton Twirling Championship for providing an amazing halftime performance of her talents for the Riverhawk fans. Competing in the Junior Women's Event, Laney is the first American to win gold in the junior division in 24 years. You can check out her next performance for the Riverhawks when she returns December 15th for another halftime feature.
Out of the locker room, the two teams would maintain the even scoring pattern with the slight, 57-56 Riverhawk advantage with 6:41 left to play. Needing to make a statement, AACC would strike hard in credit to the consistency of Tolliver's quick pull-up buckets. Stringing together shots from beyond the arc as well as finishing inside the paint – Tolliver and the Riverhawks stretched their lead to a very comfortable, 76-64, with just 1:24 left in the game. Holding strong, and finishing at the line – the Riverhawks would earn the conference victory, 80-65, over the Cardinals.
Walter Tolliver would thankfully record his career high for the Riverhawk late-push win, finishing with 22 points on the night. With majority coming late in the second half, Tolliver shot 7-10 from the floor, 3-4 from beyond the arc, and 5-7 at the free-throw line. Rojas would post 16 points with 7 assists, Smith and McNeill would each post 10 points, and Cuffey with 9 points and 13 rebounds.
The Riverhawks will compete in the Pepsi Christmas Classic this weekend, facing the NJCAA DI Region XX host Trojans of Allegany College of Maryland on Friday at 7:00 p.m., with the NJCAA DIII Region XX Black Bears of Pennsylvania Highlands Community College on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. With the Trojans hosting the classic, all games will be played at the Allegany College of Maryland in Cumberland, Maryland.
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