Wallace State’s season ends with 63-58 loss to Indian Hills in round 2 of NJCAA Tournament

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HANCEVILLE, Ala. — Wallace State Community College’s men’s basketball team’s season came to an end in a hard-fought battle against Indian Hills Community College on Tuesday at the National Junior College Athletic Association Division I Men’s Basketball Championship in Hutchinson, Kan. The Lions lost to the Warrior 58-63 to bring their final season record to 26-9.

In their first trip to the NJCAA tournament in 10 years, the No- 21-seeded Lions advanced to the second round after defeating No. 12 seed Lee College of Baytown, Texas, Sunday on the first day of the tournament. That set them up to take on No. 5 seed Indians Hills out of Ottumwa, Iowa.

The Lions came out strong and led at the half by eight points. But fouls, injury and missed opportunities in the second half proved to be their downfall. The Warriors improved in the second half to outscore the Lions 32-45. The Lions and Warriors both lost players to technical fouls and sophomore center PJ Eason was sidelined briefly due to an injury.

“We had a great season in terms of wins and loses but we had a special season when it comes to this team’s togetherness and buy-in,” said head coach Allen Sharpe. “I couldn’t be more proud of a group of guys. They represented our team, our college, and our conference in a first-class manner.” 

Freshman guard Jalen Curruth of Atlanta, Ga., was the high scorer for the Lions on Tuesday, netting 15 points along with four rebounds and a steal. Freshman guard Jimmie Williams of Cleveland, Ohio, scored 12 points, pulled down nine rebounds, and had six assists and two steals. Kendarius Anderson, a freshman guard from Tuscumbia, scored 10 points and pulled down five rebounds. Freshman guard Arthur Johnson of Carrolton, Ga., scored four points and had three assists and one steal. Coming off the bench, sophomore guard Jalin Anglin of Jackson, Tenn., scored nine points and had two rebounds.

The trip to Kansas capped a great year for the Lions, who defeated Bishop State 81-85 in overtime at the Alabama Community College Conference championship, where Williams was named the tournament MVP and All-Tournament awards were presented to Eason, Johnson and Turner.

Coach Sharpe received the South District Coach of the Year award from the NJCAA in advance of the start of the tournament at The Hutch, where assistant coach Cory Cooperwood returned this time as a coach rather than as a player. In 2007 Cooperwood helped the Lions to the NJCAA tournament and was named an NJCAA first team All-American, the first of any Wallace State-Hanceville basketball player to receive the honor.