IRSC Pioneers Fall to Triton College Trojans in Opening Round of NJCAA Tournament
Fort Pierce- March 17: The IRSC Pioneers fell to the Triton College Trojans by a scored of 97 to 84 in the opening round of the NJCAA National Basketball Tournament last night (Wednesday).
The Pioneers were seeded #6. They faced off against the #11 seeded Trojans in a game held in Hutchinson Kansas. The contest pitted the Fort Pierce based Indian River State college team against a team from Triton College in River Grove Illinois.
At the half the IRSC Pioneers held a one point advantage with a score of 40-39, following see-saw back and forth battle for the first 20 minutes of play. But the Trojans made some adjustments and came back after the half, took a quick lead and eventually pulled away for the win downing the Pioneers by 13 at the buzzer. The Trojans are making their first-ever trip to the NJCAA National Tournament.
Overall the Pioneers had a balanced attack with five players in double figures. Johnathan Cisse came off the bench to score 18, Tyree Bryan and Bendji Pierre both netted 17, AJ Cajuste had 15 and Jacob Tracey added 10. However their scoring was weak in two areas normally strong for them. The Pioneers made only 28% of their 3-point shots and just 58% of their free throws.
This was the second consecutive year that the IRSC Pioneers were invited to take part in the tournament. They made it into the NJCAA 'Sweet Sixteen' this year following back-to-back years of appearing in the FCSAA State Championship game and a 3-year run as the Southern Conference Champions. The Pioneers' AJ Cajuste was named FCSAA/REGION VIII and Southern Conference Player of the Year, and the Pioneers' Charlie Wilson was named Southern Conference Coach of the Year. The team ends the season with a 28-5 record, a fifth consecutive year with 20 wins.