NJCAA Tournament Returns to Campus After 19-Year Hiatus

By Kyle BarrHPIM0696

Every person on every bleacher stands up to the sound of the buzzer, their arms raised and their mouths open as a chorus of shouts erupts from all sides of the court. The ball goes up and the clock hits zero. It bounces off the rim, spirits drop and then quickly raise again, the balls lands through the basket.

There are shouts of joy and of awe, and then to only be replaced by confusion. The ball had bounced off the rim and struck the pipes holding the basket, the shot did not count. As the dust settled, several players of the Suffolk team, angry at what they saw as a hard played game with some technical details not going in their favor, left the court without shaking hands. Nassau Community College won against Suffolk 55 to 54.

The Brookhaven Gymnasium became home to both Men’s and Women’s teams from as close as Nassau County Community College to as far away as Sullivan County Community College all the way up in Loch Sheldrake, NY. All came to participate in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Basketball tournament that took place over the three-day period from Fri, Feb. 28 to Sun, Mar. 2.

Suffolk’s Sharks teams gave good performances, but were ultimately beaten out with the Men’s team falling to Nassau with an extremely close game in the semi-finals and the Women’s team loosing to Sullivan 62 to 46.

“(The Men’s Team) lost a tough tough game. It lead to a heavy heart,” Interim College Director of Athletics and Women’s Basketball coach Kevin Foley said about the loss that Men’s Sharks took on Saturday.

Head Men’s Basketball Coach Victor Correa was running up and down the stairs after the loss, dealing with both the players and people wishing to speak to him on the court. “I feel bad for the kids,” he said. “It’s a tough way to loose the semi-finals. We didn’t get the calls, but that happens. We still played hard.”

On the Women’s side, he believed that Suffolk’s teams did well, they were simply beaten by a more effective team, “The kids handled it with class,” he said. “Sullivan Community College had 17 to 5 in the region. Their depth and talent level took over.”

“When you go to an event like this, the victories become sweeter and the losses get magnified.” Coach Foley said. He tries to convey to the students how proud he was of them to get as far as they did.

It was the first time Suffolk has hosted the event since 1995. Since that point, the event had expanded in just about every way.

For all three days of back to back games, the Radio and Television department (RTV) was covering it all on six large cameras including four  used for replay.

Assistant Academic Chair and Professor of Radio and Television Production Al Bernstein related just how expansive the RTV’s coverage of the event was as compared to 1995, “Back then, we had set up a temporary control room in the gym, and had recorded the 5 games delayed on tape. They were aired on Cablevision 9.” In the latest tournament, all content was streamed on Sharks TV, accessible from the Suffolk homepage. Almost all crew who worked on the coverage of the game were students, taking it in shifts to work the massive cameras and recording equipment. The live broadcast opened each day with a welcoming message from President Shaun Mckkay and a background piece of the teams playing, and during time-outs and between games a highlights reel was shown. “We are treating it as the real thing.” Bernstein said.

“It brought the sports department into the 21st century,” Coach Foley said, relating not only to all the production that was done by the RTV department, but also all the advertising done by Director of Communications Drew Biondo, advertising on the most popular social network sites. “We produced a first rate tournament, and I feel proud,” he said.

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