Nighthawks Split Holiday Classic
The National Park College (NPC) Nighthawks men’s basketball team (10-4) split the inaugural Nighthawk Holiday Classic in the Kettle, falling to No. 14 Mineral Area College, 87-80, on Friday and defeating Lang Prep Academy, 106-82, on Saturday.
In a competitive first half Friday, NPC survived an onslaught of three-pointers from the Cardinals to keep things close over the first 20 minutes. Led by 10 first-half points from freshman JoQuarius Valrie (Houston, TX) and tight defense in the paint, the Nighthawks trailed by just four points, 38-34, at halftime.
In the second half, the Cardinals broke through the Nighthawks defense, maintaining a double-digit lead for most of the final period. After two Cardinals were ejected with 6:40 remaining, sophomore Sayvon Traylor (Atlanta, GA) sank 10-consecutive technical foul free throws, sparking an NPC rally which turned a 74-54 deficit into a one-point deficit, 81-80, with 1:19 remaining. Despite 26 second-half points from Traylor, however, the Nighthawks couldn’t complete the comeback, as the Cardinals scored six unanswered points to survive the scare.
Traylor led the Nighthawks in scoring with 28 points. Freshman JoQuarius Valrie (Houston, TX) and sophomore Rodrique Massenat (Trenton, NJ) added 14 and 13 points, respectively, while sophomore Kam Vick (Little Rock) scored 10 points in the loss.
On Saturday, the Nighthawks bounced back, utilizing their speed to attack the basket and their defensive prowess to control possessions. Behind 13- and 12-point efforts from Massenat and Valrie, respectively, NPC took a 51-44 halftime lead over the Cardinals.
Guided by 13-point performances from Valrie and sophomore Jaylen O’Conner (Oklahoma City, OK) in the second half, NPC padded its lead from beyond the arc, draining eight treys to to close the Nighthawk Holiday Classic with a 24-point win.
Valrie led the Nighthawks in scoring with 25 points. O’Conner and Massenat added 18 and 16 points, respectively, while freshman Kylil Anderson (Fort Worth, TX) scored 15 points in the win.
The Nighthawks play host to Arkansas Tech University’s junior varsity team on Thursday, Jan. 6 at 7 p.m. The game will be streamed live on the Nighthawk Network.
For more information on schedules, rosters and more, visit Nighthawk men’s basketball online. Fans can also follow the Nighthawks all season on social media.