The Sandhills Flyers vs. The Cedar Valley Suns
March 17, 2012
Ladies and gentlemen, your 2012 NJCAA D-III National Tournament Champion The Sandhills Community College Flyers!
Congratulations to the victors on their accomplishment, and to all of the student athletes and coaches whose efforts brought them to the final of this year's tournament. Let's take a look at how these two teams got here.
Tournament Director, Christopher DePew, referred to 2012 as "the year of the upset." He was, of course, referring to the fact that the first, second, third, seventh, and eighth nationally ranked teams heading into Regional Tournament play were eliminated from National Tournament contention. So, it is no surprise that following suit, two teams who were unranked prior to the season ending March 6 poll would play for the National Title!
The final match-up of the 2012 Tournament pitted The District 7 Sandhills Community College Flyers (NC) against the District 3 Cedar Valley Suns (TX). By the time the season's final poll came out, the Flyers were ranked at #6 (25-6) and the Suns at #7 (21-8). The Suns were the second Texas team to make the final in two years, as the Mountain View College Lions won last year's title.
The Flyers made it into District 7 playoffs by oustering 29-3 Davidson County Community College, who played deep into last year's tournament. In the District 7 Tournament, the Flyers defeated the Prince George's Owls (MD) and punch their ticket to Sullivan County.
Standouts for the Flyers during their great 2011/2012 season were Markell Lotharp and Daquain Towns provided season-long leadership on a team packed with talent. Both players contributed mightily to their teams efforts during this tournament, including Towns's buzzer beating layup on opening night.
The Cedar Valley Suns route to the national stage traveled most recently through the Region 5 Tournament, where they defeated Brookhaven Community College – a team that had resided in the top 10 for a good portion of the regular season. The Suns season leaders were the same players who contributed big numbers in their tournament run: Bakari Turner, Justin Jones, Roman Walker, and Jade Allen.
Check in here at the Official National Tournament website next week to find out which Flyers and Suns players were named to the All-Tournament Team, and for more follow-up news to what was an exciting 2012 National Tournament.