Roger Boughton: Don’t miss some good hoops

Published 5:45 pm Friday, February 11, 2022

Have you recently been  to a men’s college basketball game to watch the No.  2 ranked team in the country play?

Wednesday night, I attended the game at Riverland Community College where they played Rochester Community College. Riverland is ranked number 2 with a record of 22-1.  This is in the NJCAA Division III Men’s Basketball ranking. The No. 1-ranked college is Dallas College North Lake Campus in Irving, Texas, with an enrollment of over 5,000 students.

The game got off to a slow start but by halftime Riverland was leading by 17 points. This second-ranked team has a couple players that scored double digit points but what is so amazing is that it is entirely a team effort.  What is so surprising is that all of the team contributed to the win, which ended up  Riverland winning by  a score of 80-39.  Rochester is no softy as it was a game between two nationally ranked Division III teams with Rochester Community College being ranked number seven.

The NJCAA has more than 450 junior colleges with basketball programs across the country, making it the largest junior college athletics association in the United States.  One hundred and five colleges participate at the Division III level, which finds Riverland participating. Coach Derek Hahn is in his seventh season as the Riverland’s coach. He has taken a group of 23 young men from across the country and melded them into a team that executes outstandingly well on the basketball court. This is not his first successful year as the coach.  In 2018-19 Coach Hahn was recognized as MCAC Southern Division Coach of the Year and during the 2019-20 year the college compiled a historic year finishing with a record of 24 wins and 5 losses.

The players come from as far away as Miami, Florida to the south to Vancouver, British Columbia to the west and San Juan, Puerto Rico in the Caribbean. They have become in  four short months a power house on the court and it would be my prediction that they will soon be ranked number one in the Country in the NJCAA Division III ranking. The National Championship is scheduled to be played March 9-12, at Rock Valley College in Rockford, Illinois.

However, you won’t want to miss Riverland’s next home game which takes place at 7:30 p.m. this coming Wednesday evening, Feb. 16.  They will be playing Western Technical College from La Crosse, Wisconsin. No cost to attend the game but wear a mask and bring your favorite candy bar and pop corn as the concession stand is closed due to COVID-19  and see history being made.